London is Open
The housing crisis in the capital: Part Three
The Highgate Newtown Development Area in north London is located in a neighbourhood which no estate agent would have trouble marketing. Just two streets away from the exclusive Waterlow Park which borders Highgate Village, housing costs in the area have been pushed sky high by almost unlimited demand and very little supply.
The area is home to a recent property development, originally intended mostly for the open market, on what once had been the site of a community centre. As this meant more housing being sold in that heavily oversubscribed part of London, so a little bit of pressure would be taken out of the market. Not enough to make a huge dent in prices, but every little helps.
The authorities had other ideas, however, and in March last year, as the development was near completion, Camden Council announced that all 41 new properties would be taken off the market and handed to Afghan refugees being resettled by the Home Office, part of a scheme costing £650m.
Apparently, the Afghans, who had worked for the British forces in various capacities, had ‘built strong links in the area’, despite having arrived less than two years ago – but one wonders if those links are stronger than that of the 7,423 households currently on the Camden waiting list.