Guy Ritchie has complained that British people are being priced out of the property market by "big money" foreigners who arebuying all the desirable properties in central London.
The film-maker and husband of Madonna railed against the rising price of property saying it was almost impossible to buy a house in central London "unless you've got 10 million quid".
"There hasn't been a property correction here for 20 years. House prices don't go down, they just go up. And the natives of England are sort of being left behind because the big money came in and if it wanted something, it bought it and it made a bigger fortune by doing so," he said.
In the face of the credit crunch and the growing instability of the housing market, many will welcome Ritchie's words. Others, however, will see only irony. Ritchie is, after all, married to Madonna, who has bought a multimillion-pound central London property – as well as the house next door – in recent years. In all, the couple are believed to own six properties in London as well as a country home in Wiltshire.
Ritchie, 39, currently lives in a £7m house in Marylebone with Madonna and their three children. The couple are believed to have bought the £6m house next door which they converted into a gym. Thet also own two nearby mews cottages and a Georgian home in Regent's Park, north London. Their country home is the Ashcombe estate in Wiltshire, which they bought for £9m in 2001. In America, they have an £8m house in Beverly Hills and an apartment in New York.
When Madonna bought the second Marylebone house last year, she was hailed as a "very shrewd investor in property". When bidding for the house, which was sold to her by the designer-developer Paul Davies, she is said to have faced stiff competition from the comedian Jennifer Saunders and the photographer Mario Testino.
Ritchie's comments come at a time when the property market appears at its most precarious for years, with first-time buyers finding it difficult to secure a mortgage. Since 1998, house prices have risen from an average of £70,696 to £191,556. That has led many to buy with minimal deposits, often using interest-only mortgages.
Ritchie spoke about how London had changed culturally as a result of the "new money that has come into the UK, partly with the Russian oligarchs". He said: "They have a unique way of doing business. They don't haggle – they double the price on everything. If it's going for £500m, they'll pay £1bn. So it has left everyone with their pants down a bit." Ritchie was speaking to Empire magazine about his latest film, RocknRolla, which he said was inspired by London's transformation over the past 20 years and how the city was "being touted as the new New York". The film involves Russian mobsters and a "couple of natives" who get embroiled in a property deal that goes wrong.
Madonna and Guy's homes
* A £7m family townhouse in Marylebone
* A £6m, 10-bedroom property next door
* Two mews cottages close to the Marylebone house, one bought for £900,000
* Two properties used by the Kabbalah religious sect: a £3.6m building in the West End used as its headquarters and a £1.6m five-storey townhouse in Regent's Park
* A 1,200-acre estate in Wiltshire, bought for £9m
* An £8m house in Beverly Hills
* An apartment in New York