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Harrow Square development sees vast majority of new homes sold to foreign investors so far

Just ONE flat in the upcoming flat development next to Harrow-on-the-Hill Station has been sold to a resident of the borough so far

Foreign investors are snapping up new build properties in Harrow before local housebuyers get a look in.

The building of brand new apartment developments is currently under way within the town's centre, including a block next to Harrow-on-the-Hill tube station.

Land registry data revealed that the vast majority of homes sold so far on the site, dubbed "Harrow Square", have been bought up by foreign investors from Shanghai, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

Just one of 18 flats sold to date was purchased by a Harrow resident, which amounts to less than 6%.

CGI image shows what Harrow Square will look like upon completion(Image: Edelman PR)

 

When planning permission was granted for Harrow Square, Harrow Council secured agreement that at least 51 of the 318 homes had to be "affordable", including at least five that would be wheelchair accessible.

Harrow Square's developers promised to build a new 1,450 sq m library, and "will not only provide much needed new homes, but will also be a focal point for the rejuvenated town centre".

Representatives from Barratt London, Harrow Council and Hyde Group, attending the Harrow Square groundbreaking(Image: Edelman PR)

But with more than 90% of the flats so far sold to overseas investors, or through a company, Labour Harrow West candidate Gareth Thomas suggests they were bought as buy-to-let properties.

The incumbent Labour MP said: "We don't need expensive flats that will be left empty by foreign investors, we need properly affordable homes for Harrow residents.

"I've already pushed in Parliament for local residents to get first priority for new homes, and will continue to fight for the homes we need."

Leader of Harrow Council, Cllr Sachin Shah (right) attended the Harrow Square ceremony(Image: Edelman PR)

Prices of properties in Harrow Square range from £304,500 for a studio apartment to £644,000 for a two bedroom flat.

The developer is marketing the flats to potential landlords, with savings offered on stamp duty, for those who reserved a flat at an exclusive event for investors on June 1.

Another nearby development, Austen House, on Gayton Road, which will be completed in 2019, was launched exclusively in Hong Kong.

An estate agent advert for the upcoming site reads: "Austen House is exclusively launching on February 11 and 12 in Hong Kong."

Mr Thomas added: "Over the last few years, many more Harrow residents have been to my advice surgery to talk about the difficulties they've experienced in finding an affordable home in the area they've always lived in.

"So it really sticks in the craw to find that new properties being built in central Harrow are being marketed in Hong Kong before local residents get a chance."

The ability of councils to ensure that housing developers deliver genuinely affordable homes has been weakened in recent years, according to Mr Thomas.

He believes residents are facing further struggles to buy in London after Boris Johnson "scrapped the target that 50% of homes" in any new development had to be "affordable", and George Osborne changed the definition of "affordable" to mean properties worth up to "80% of market rents".

Harrow Council's leader poses with Hyde Group CEO, Elaine Bailey(Image: Edelman PR)

But Harrow Council's leader, Cllr Sachin Shah, welcomed the Harrow Square development - attending the ground breaking ceremony.

He said: "The housing crisis is the single biggest barrier to prosperity, growth and fairness facing Londoners today.

"That is why I am pleased that the ambitious Harrow Square project will deliver 318 much needed houses. I am also delighted to hear that 20% of the staff and operatives currently employed on site are local residents.

“We must make sure than everyone in Harrow gets a benefit of the regeneration.

"As part of this development, there will be a new library and separate library pavilion facilities for our residents to enjoy. The public space will include a climbing wall and artwork generated from one of the colleges in the borough.

"We’re building a better Harrow, and there are lots of exciting plans in place to make Harrow a great place to live and work.”

London has an 'international appeal'

A spokeswoman for Barratt London said the global city of London has an "international appeal, attracting buyers from both the UK and further afield".

She told getwestlondon: "Barratt London is committed to a UK first policy, and our Harrow Square development launched in October 2016 to local buyers and the wider UK market.

“We have always offered a variety of incentives at our schemes such as furniture packs, stamp duty savings and annual travel cards to all buyers, whether owner occupiers or investors.

"Help To Buy will be offered at the development with monthly events targeted at local and first-time buyers taking place.

“Harrow Square is contributing to the regeneration of Harrow Town Centre, providing a new public square, library and the provision of affordable homes through Hyde Group.”

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