Paul tells me he is now the owner of his apartment. Renting would be outrageously expensive: an apartment of this size would be around £3,000 of net rent per month, plus a service fee of £200 for the porter and gym. Then I look around the area and I notice one thing in particular: cranes. Everywhere, there are cranes. On the horizon, behind the highway, across the road, in every direction. London is booming, there is no doubt about that.
Paul explains it to me. “What you see are residential towers going up everywhere. This is a new trend here in just the last few years.” Paul tells me that not even 500 meters away are eight residential buildings. All have at least 50 floors, some even scratch the 70th. “This is nothing.” he says to me and I begin to realise that London is very different from other cities.
After some small talk we get on our way. Not ten minutes later we are in the middle of Canary Wharf, the established office area. From here, the city of London is around half a tube stop away. Between the concrete monsters (the building masses cannot be called densely close here) people disappear and look like tiny ants. I feel queasy and wonder why so many people work in this gloominess. We turn the corner and stand in front of the EMA building, which I did not know about until a few months ago; it has only became known to most people because of all the press since Brexit. The EMA (European Medical Agency) is one of the European Union agencies, which, together with the EBA (European Banking Authority), will soon be leaving Canary Wharf and heading towards the mainland. My eyes glide to the right and suddenly I see only construction sites. Here a skyscraper, there a high-rise, here is simply built: “Again, all these skyscrapers will contain apartments.” I only think, “These towers are loosely 150 meters high, if not higher”. I’m taking photos, and I do not know what to shoot first. I start to count, but after some time I realise that it is almost impossible. There must be dozens of residential buildings that have either just been completed or are being built, just at this small location next to Canary Wharf.
“There is a lot of money in the market. Most of the apartments are sold to foreign investors“ says Paul. Not all apartments are occupied. Perhaps this is just a coincidence, or there are no tenants. Be that as it may, the building boom does not stop here. At least for the moment.