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Qatar owned Shard in London creates market price gap.

Perhaps the more apt description is Aaeprice chasmAAE, as apartments in the Shard, London Bridge, a tower under development by London headquartered Sellar Property

Group Ltd and paid for by the Arabian Gulf state of Qatar, sell for 5,000 to 6,000 pounds sterling (US$ 8,069.5 to 9,683.4) per square foot totally eclipsing prices in the

surrounding area. A fact which has rung alarm bells at UK government departments facing the treat of an evolving a two tier price structure, with an upper echelon

created by foreign billionaires, and the real possibility that the Shard will pull prices upward beyond the reach of ordinary British families in that area of


True the Shard is a 1 billion pound sterling (US$ 1.6 billion), 95-storey tower complete with Candy and Candy-designed interiors and not very far from the famous Harrods

department store, also owned by Qatar. Yet the average price in surrounding London SE1, known as Southwark, stands at 520 pounds per square foot (US$ 839.2), less

than ten per cent of that in the tower.

Elsewhere in the London Borough of Southwark there are many relatively attainable rental and purchase districts, in which the UK capitalAAEs workforce has lived for

years, ranging from Bermondsey, Camberwell and part of Crystal Palace through Dulwich and the Elephant & Castle to Peckham and Rotherhithe. The majority of these

districts would not be considered as a gated haven of tranquility for the super-rich, yet most are considered central London and prices for the best properties in this location

have surged by 44 per cent in the last three years. More than double the increase experienced across the capital overall, according to market data published by property

consultant Knight Frank.

Certainly, these kind of property values boosted by incredibly wealthy overseas buyers appear to disconcert the British governmentAAEs Department of Work & Pensions, who

view central London as Britain's most imbalanced urban environment. Certainly a topic for the recently re-elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to get his teeth into, as

a study commissioned by Work & Pensions revealed that inner city London was currently home to a third of the most impoverished 20 per cent of the population, whereas

27 per cent reside in the richest 20 per cent band, with a paltry 12 per cent in the middle of the range.

Politically the current UK government, a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, has been given a severe warning, by an electorate living through a period of

increasing austerity which has failed to ward off an economic recession, in the recent local council elections. The socialist Labour Party gained in excess of 800 council

seats from both parties to the coalition, forcing them to examine social issues like housing and what could turn into wealth driven social cleansing of whole communities in


Copyright Andy McTiernan. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Andy McTiernan Property & Economy Bulletin
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Apr 20, 2012
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