CROYDON Council will try to ensure new flats being built in the town are marketed for sale in the borough before being sold to foreign markets.
Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said she is concerned that developers are targeting foreign markets to sell flats, such as in China and Hong Kong before the properties have even been built.
The worry for Cllr Butler is the new owners have no intention of living in the flats and will not solve the affordable housing crisis in the borough.
She said: "It is a huge concern, they are taking desperately needed housing and raising the rents considerably and taking them out of the reach of local people.
"Now, of course we want people to come and live, work and enjoy themselves in Croydon but not at the expense of people already living here and certainly not simply to make a profit from somebody."
Cllr Butler said the council was looking at the possibility of adding a condition to planning applications to make sure properties were marketed locally for a year before being advertised abroad.
But she added it was more likely the council would have to sit down and reach agreements with individual developers.
Sites like The Edridge, in Edridge Road, are already being marketed and sold in advance of construction to countries including Hong Kong, Russia, and China as well as in the Middle East.
The 130 or so "luxury' flats, have a completion date set for 2015.
Another development initially marketed abroad was the IYLO building, at the junction of Wellesley Road and St James' Road, which has since become Island Croydon. Although mired in controversy in the midst of the recession, construction on the former eyesore should now be completed by the end of the year.
Mike Ricketts, regional sales manager for SpicerHaart, the agent selling the Island flats for the developer Stephen Hung, said more than 40 per cent had already been sold.
But he said the developer was now focused on attracting people from south and south-east London and is supporting the Help to Buy government scheme, which allows people to buy homes of up to £600,000 with a deposit of as little as five per cent.
"We want local people to be able to live locally – that is why we are supporting the Help to Buy scheme," Mr Ricketts said.
"But it is a commercial business and although we are very much focused on this, would we also cater for buy to let schemes? Yes we would."
"You can understand why developers would sell abroad because they are buying it unconditionally. If you go over to these countries with a solicitor, people will sign on the same day."