Inside chic London flats where no one lives and cost millions
Dozens of apartments on Isle of Dogs have been left empty as wealthy owners move out or keep them as investment property.
Houses in the city of east London are among the most expensive in the UK, with four-bed apartments ranging from £ 4-5million.
The Isle of Dogs has seen a huge regeneration in recent years, with many new apartment buildings being built attracting foreign buyers who are snatching the apartments for huge sums of money.
Despite this, many apartments have remained empty for years, according to the local council.
Real estate agent Dexters said 15% of their properties in the area were empty, with many owners having never lived there or moved.
Tower Hamlets adviser Andrew Wood said although the number of empty houses in London was exaggerated, many apartments were vacant as owners waited for tenants to move in, most being used as AirBnBs.
The opposition adviser explained that many apartments have been bought abroad – usually to be rented out.
He said: “When a building is first built, it takes a long time to occupy it, so that’s definitely a problem with brand new buildings.
“Basically what happens is people buy properties overseas and usually they do it to rent them out because there is no economic benefit to leaving an apartment empty – you don’t get a best selling price.
“It’s more of a problem after Covid, but there are a lot of AirBnB type apartments in the area, and before Covid there was a big tourist market there, a big business market, so they were generally quite full. “
However, he added that most properties were not left empty for more than two years, according to a 2018 report from Tower Hamlets Council.
He said: “There are definitely problems with some apartments… but the numbers drop quite dramatically after six months, after 12 months, after 18 months. “
The Isle of Dogs has dozens of apartment buildings, with more being built every year.
Martin Car, the manager of the South Quay Plaza luxury apartment building where houses are fetching prices of over £ 900,000, said that although many apartments are still empty, people are returning to the area.
He said: “People are coming back – there are definitely more people in this area. It’s reopening, more and more stores are reopening.
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“This building is gradually filling up, it is obviously a new building. Eventually it will be full.
“From what I know, a lot of other buildings are roughly the same – about half their capacity.
“A lot of the apartments in this building are owned by people going in and out.”
The director of the 54-story Madison Building, Carlos Oliveira, agreed that people were slowly returning to the area.
He said: “People are moving into this building because it is new. We still have over 100 apartments for sale here.
“It seems a lot of people here are working from home because I don’t see a lot of people leaving for work early in the morning.
“I used to see it in 2019 when I was working in another building but I don’t see a lot of people leaving here.
“I think there will be more buildings like this – they’re building another one right over there that could be even higher than this one, which is 54 stories tall.”
The council report found that in 2018 a total of 559 homes had been empty for more than six months and only 114 had been empty for more than two years.
However, rental agent Holly Pittey, of Dexters real estate agent in Canary Wharf, said many properties on her business file had not been used.
She said: “About 15% of our properties are empty – the rest are mostly owner occupied.
“A lot of sellers have moved overseas – mainly for business purposes. Some are also tenants who have just moved, but I think they mostly moved.
She added that the reasons for people leaving were as follows: “Mainly – I guess half – for Covid reasons. “