Thursday, 11 June 2015

London Real Estate Forum 2015: a barometer of London's transformation

LREF 2015 delegates talk over Pipers' London model © London Intelligence 2015

Property talk hums through London's air.
Londoners can seem to be constantly on duty servants of a property market god. 
Whether a believer or heretic, it's impossible to ignore, especially as this omnipotent real estate deity is a harbinger of fast and vast looming transformations of London. 
Property world delegates at the third annual London Real Estate Forum, held in gilded Mayfair this week (10-11 June), warmly herald many of these convulsions.
Developers, estate agents, architects, urban designers, local politicians, planners and regeneration experts number amongst the congregation gathered in a marquee ‘village’ on the north side of Berkeley Square.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson supports LREF 2015. The event is hosted by the City of Westminster, media ‘partnered’ by the Financial Times, and dark-suited security guards patrol its perimeter.

The London Real Estate Forum acts as a useful barometer of how property-driven transformations continue to rattle many of the capital’s traditional neighbourhoods and shake up long-established family and social networks.   
LREF shows that housing is still primarily valued as a commodity for profitable speculation rather than treat it as infrastructure for a more direct and inclusive form of regeneration that all Londoners can genuinely afford.

Another strong signal from LREF is that market conditions threaten old London dichotomies with extinction over the next decade or so; central London and the suburbs, North versus South London, rich prime central areas and deprived inner city wards. 
LREF reveals that Far Eastern investors and investors are scoping outlying areas such as Tottenham, Croydon, Southall and Woolwich - and they can be seen introducing themselves to local politicians.
In the next five years or so, London's socio-economic inequalities might be swept under the property market’s fabric - albeit chiefly due to rising prices and rents sweeping Londoners on average and lower incomes out of their London.
Looking at LREF’s models and images, it’s clear too that London is coming up in the world – literally. 
To achieve ‘super-density’ – and maybe even Shanghai and Hong Kong ‘hyper-density’ - London’s skyline is set to become a forest of towers, both residential and commercial.
With interest rates sealed low - and the world's political economy in turmoil - the planet's elites see London 'real estate' as a safe haven and even a good long-term bet for their wealth.

For more on LREF 2015 visit

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, June 2015

No comments: