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Islington Council plans to end 'buy to leave' trend

Islington Council has announced it is planning to end the practice of 'buy to leave' which has been restricting housing supply in the borough.Buy to leave homes are purchased as investments, often marketed overseas and left to stand empty. Such properties have become a particular problem in the area, especially in the EC1 postcode, where council data shows as many as half of recent developments have no-one on the electoral roll.According to the council, these homes constitute 'wasted supply' and make no contribution toward satisfying the needs of local people for places to live.The council has launched a consultation on a new discussion paper, Preventing Wasted Housing Supply, which considers measures to deal with the issue.For example, the council may require a financial contribution to be made where residences are left unoccupied, in order to help fund affordable housing elsewhere.If the council suspects homes are not regularly occupied, owners of new homes may be required to prove the contrary.Furthermore, it proposes exploring the effects of overseas marketing campaigns and whether further action on the matter, such as marketing homes locally, is required.Councillor James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development, said: "In Islington, as across London, it's harder and harder for people to find somewhere they can afford to live. At the same time, expensive new housing is being built, often sold off-plan overseas, and then left to stand empty."He added that it is "galling" for Londoners to see homes marketed overseas before construction work on them begins.Other parts of central London have also been affected by the problem, and earlier this month London mayor Boris Johnson issued a concordat for developers to sign committing them to sell homes to Londoners before, or at the same time as, they are made available to overseas buyers.Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said he does not have the policy tools at his disposal to counteract soaring prices in the capital as many of those purchasing homes in London are cash buyers. 

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