We're going to run out of houses in London

Falling well short of projections.

New household growth projections released by DCLG this week show that over 525,000 new households that will be created in London between 2011 and 2021.

The supply pipeline suggests that delivery of new units will fall well short of this, with an estimated 277,000 new units expected to be delivered over the next decade.

According to Knight Frank’s head of UK residential research, Gráinne Gilmore: “The overall trend for development in London shows that demand for housing in the capital will continue to outstrip supply by quite some margin. There is widespread recognition of the housing shortage in the capital, with the Mayor pushing hard to encourage higher levels of development."

This news could further boost prices in the capital which are already at record highs. Since the end of 2007, which is considered to be the peak of the market in most developed countries, London property prices have risen by 7 per cent (Source: Land Registry).

London prime prices have risen by even more - they are up over 20 per cent since end of 2007 (Source: Knight Frank, £1m+ homes only). London prime property has performed particularly well recently with growth of 12.2 per cent in 2011 and 8.7 per cent in 2012. In the first 5 months of 2013, prime prices rose by another 3.2 per cent according the Knight Frank figures.

This has been fuelled mainly by foreigners buying in. According to Knight Frank, local buyers made up only half of London sales in 2012. Russian buyers made up a high 6.6 per cent, USA buyers 4.8 per cent, Indian buyers 4.4 per cent, French buyers 3.3 per cent, Italian buyers 2.6 per cent and South African buyers made up 2.2 per cent. Super-prime statistics published by Knight Frank are even more extreme with local buyers making up less than a third of London buyers in 2012. Super-prime refers to properties valued at more than £10m each.

Despite this strong growth, it should be noted that London prime prices are still at a similar level to the end of 2007 if measured in US dollar terms.

This is of course still significantly healthier than general UK house prices which are down over 34 per cent since the end of 2007 (if measured in US dollar terms).

Photograph: Getty Images

Andrew Amoils is a writer for WealthInsight

Photo: André Spicer
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“It’s scary to do it again”: the five-year-old fined £150 for running a lemonade stand

Enforcement officers penalised a child selling home-made lemonade in the street. Her father tells the full story. 

It was a lively Saturday afternoon in east London’s Mile End. Groups of people streamed through residential streets on their way to a music festival in the local park; booming bass could be heard from the surrounding houses.

One five-year-old girl who lived in the area had an idea. She had been to her school’s summer fête recently and looked longingly at the stalls. She loved the idea of setting up her own stall, and today was a good day for it.

“She eventually came round to the idea of selling lemonade,” her father André Spicer tells me. So he and his daughter went to their local shop to buy some lemons. They mixed a few jugs of lemonade, the girl made a fetching A4 sign with some lemons drawn on it – 50p for a small cup, £1 for a large – and they carried a table from home to the end of their road. 

“People suddenly started coming up and buying stuff, pretty quickly, and they were very happy,” Spicer recalls. “People looked overjoyed at this cute little girl on the side of the road – community feel and all that sort of stuff.”

But the heart-warming scene was soon interrupted. After about half an hour of what Spicer describes as “brisk” trade – his daughter’s recipe secret was some mint and a little bit of cucumber, for a “bit of a British touch” – four enforcement officers came striding up to the stand.

Three were in uniform, and one was in plain clothes. One uniformed officer turned the camera on his vest on, and began reciting a legal script at the weeping five-year-old.

“You’re trading without a licence, pursuant to x, y, z act and blah dah dah dah, really going through a script,” Spicer tells me, saying they showed no compassion for his daughter. “This is my job, I’m doing it and that’s it, basically.”

The girl burst into tears the moment they arrived.

“Officials have some degree of intimidation. I’m a grown adult, so I wasn’t super intimidated, but I was a bit shocked,” says Spicer. “But my daughter was intimidated. She started crying straight away.”

As they continued to recite their legalese, her father picked her up to try to comfort her – but that didn’t stop the officers giving her stall a £150 fine and handing them a penalty notice. “TRADING WITHOUT LICENCE,” it screamed.


Picture: André Spicer

“She was crying and repeating, ‘I’ve done a bad thing’,” says Spicer. “As we walked home, I had to try and convince her that it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t her who had done something bad.”

She cried all the way home, and it wasn’t until she watched her favourite film, Brave, that she calmed down. It was then that Spicer suggested next time they would “do it all correctly”, get a permit, and set up another stand.

“No, I don’t want to, it’s a bit scary to do it again,” she replied. Her father hopes that “she’ll be able to get over it”, and that her enterprising spirit will return.

The Council has since apologised and cancelled the fine, and called on its officials to “show common sense and to use their powers sensibly”.

But Spicer felt “there’s a bigger principle here”, and wrote a piece for the Telegraph arguing that children in modern Britain are too restricted.

He would “absolutely” encourage his daughter to set up another stall, and “I’d encourage other people to go and do it as well. It’s a great way to spend a bit of time with the kids in the holidays, and they might learn something.”

A fitting reminder of the great life lesson: when life gives you a fixed penalty notice, make lemonade.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.