This paper focuses on the spatial imprint and social impacts of the emerging geographies of concentrated overseas investment into London’s high-end real estate market, particularly the boroughs of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. Framed by literatures on the 1% and the super-rich, and based on a mixed methodological approach of qualitative interviews with intermediaries and a quantitative mapping of overseas investors using 2011 census data, the results speak to the pervasive nature of “safe-haven” seeking in London real estate and its attendant transnational provenance set within a laissez-faire regulatory framework. In so doing, it makes an important contribution to the geographies of the super-rich, the class geographies of London, and the broader sense that overseas investors are producing what we call “pied-à-terre” urbanism which builds on a conventional gentrification framework (exclusionary displacement and a more affluent incoming group) but also exceeds it in several ways, leading to an increasingly socially attenuated landscape. This exceeding relates to: a different kind of rent gap, in that it is not speculative but safe-haven seeking, a guaranteed return on investment, and occurs without previous disinvestment; the agents are not traditional gentrifiers; the transnational nature of the process, with no attachment to particular places like in the traditional gentrification model; and a process focused on super-prime areas and completely independent of the existing gentrification process in London.
|Journal||Environment and Planning A: international journal of urban and regional research|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
- overseas investment
- the 1%
- pied-à-terre urbanism