The horrific events of the Grenfell Tower fire have since brought to light the burgeoning class divide in London, a divide that is being widened, in part, by the rapid emergence of Luxury housing complexes on what feels like every street corner in the capital.
The names of the investors that own the empty houses surrounding the tower block have recently been revealed, and outrage has been sparked by the idea of people living overseas owning empty property while only 12 of the surviving households of the fire have been rehoused. It is situations like this that have caused the recent outrage about London housing crisis.
London has been facing a housing crisis since 2005, with the price of property increasing faster than the earnings of the average Londoner.
Rather than building affordable housing that would assist the end of the crisis, and help young people get on the property ladder, investors have elected to build unaffordable apartments that serve no benefit to Londoners and only make it nearly impossible to buy a home in the capital. This forces people in London to move further out and spend thousands to commute into the city.
Countless areas that were once characterised by their affordable housing, such as Elephant and Castle, are being bought up by investors who want to replace current property with luxury housing that will inevitably drive up the cost of living and drive out working class Londoners that are the lifeblood of the city, and making it only accessible to the rich.
This also drives greed amongst Landlords. For example, my previous family home, a former council flat in West Kensington, has been turned from a two bedroom to a four bedroom by removing communal living space. This lowers the living standards to what has been seen as acceptable. For young people in London, a shoebox with no soul is all you can hope to get. From this, the age at which young people are able to move out has risen to the late-twenties.
London is characterised by it’s diversity, by the working class population that the cities culture and economy are owed to, by the young people that have grown up here, surrounded by and contributing to this, who all now can hardly afford to live in the city due to the luxury housing complexes driving up property prices. If this continues, London will no longer be for the Londoners.