Slough has most foreign-owned properties outside London


Slough has the highest proportion of properties owned by offshore companies outside London, according to an analysis of Land Registry data.

The research found that in Slough one in 238 properties – both commercial and residential – have an owner that is a company registered abroad, reports The Guardian.

Widespread ownership of UK property by offshore companies is a relatively recent phenomenon. The data reveals that 55% of the titles owned by offshore companies as of October 2015 were bought during the period 2010-2015. Just 3 per cent of titles owned by overseas firms were bought before 2000.

But inside the capital, the concentration of foreign ownership is much higher. In the EC postcodes, which cover the City of London plus parts of Islington, Camden and Tower Hamlets, one in 25 properties are owned by offshore companies, followed closely by the W postcodes, which stretch from the city centre to Mayfair, Kensington and the western suburbs towards Heathrow.

The data includes only offices and homes owned by offshore companies. If individual foreign ownership was also counted, the figures would likely be much higher.

The Land Registry lists 99,345 freehold or leasehold titles across England and Wales as being owned by foreign-registered businesses, including 675 within Slough’s SL postcode area.

Research by the Guardian in May found that 40,000 properties across London are owned by secretive offshore companies, an increase of 9 per cent over the previous 10 months.

Entire developments from the East End to Knightsbridge have been sold to anonymous owners shielded by companies in tax havens, including Panama, Liechtenstein and the British Virgin Islands.

The rising use of tax havens to buy property comes amid growing concern over residences in the capital being used as investment assets by foreign buyers. The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has attacked the use of homes as “gold bricks” after the Guardian revealed that almost two-thirds of The Tower, the UK’s tallest residential building, has been sold abroad, with a quarter held in tax havens.

Slough joins Manchester as the most popular destination after the capital for offshore buyers. The researchers say the reason for Slough’s popularity is partly the town’s huge trading estate, which is home to large numbers of foreign companies.