A Croydon MP has proposed that foreign nationals should be barred from buying more than 50 per cent of houses or flats in new developments of more than 20 properties.

The 50 per cent limit is one of a series of changes put forward in a report by Croydon South MP Chris Philp to boost house-building towards the Government's target of 300,000 homes a year and ensure that more new homes end up with first-time buyers.

In his report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, Mr Philp highlighted a development in Baltimore Wharf, in London's Docklands, where 87 per cent of 2,999 apartments were sold abroad, as well as another in Manchester where 94 per cent of 230 flats went to non-UK residents, more than half of them to a company based in the British Virgin Islands.

Mr Philp said overseas buyers were taking up around 50 per cent of all new-build stock in London, including cheap flats in the suburbs. But he warned it was "a much larger issue than people imagine", and was no longer confined to prime areas of the capital.

"First, housing is far from a free market," he said.

"The mere existence of the planning system means that the state plays a significant role in shaping its outcomes.

"Second, land is not like other goods. You can always make more iPhones. You cannot create more land - especially not urban land in London and the South-East that is suitable for development.

"Third, home ownership is so economically and socially advantageous - and so overwhelmingly popular - there is an imperative for Government to do all it can to support it.

"By snapping up new build stock off-plan - including cheaper flats that are ideal for first time buyers - non-UK buyers are preventing young Britons from getting onto the housing ladder."

His report, entitled Homes For Everyone, also proposed:

The removal of the affordable housing requirement for developments under 20 units

The creation of "Pink Zones" where development will be automatically approved within certain parameters

The promotion of "staircasing" agreements by which renters can gradually buy their homes over a period of years at the initial price.