London’s new Elizabeth Line has boosted nearby property prices by triple-digit percentages but where else is set to see similar rises thanks to improved communications? We spoke to several property experts about the infrastructure hotspots to watch out for.
The ‘Elizabeth Line effect’
There’s little doubt that the Elizabeth Line, or Crossrail as it was previously known, has led to a spike in prices for those lucky enough to own property within easy reach.
According to research by Hamptons estate agents, the south-east London suburb of Abbey Wood has seen a 107% increase in value since 2012, Forest Gate saw a 101% increase and Manor Park was up 98%. This is compared to an average price rise in the capital of 85% during the same period.
Further out of London, the new line has increased property values in and around Reading. "Places such as Twyford or Wargrave… smaller villages and towns near Reading have seen a price increase due to the new infrastructure," says Stuart Mun-Gavin of Middleton Advisors.
While these price rises are eye-watering, it’s worth bearing in mind that much of this increase occurred when the Crossrail project was announced — rather than when it is completed.
"The effect is usually felt first with owner’s perception of the increased value of their home," says Marlon Lloyd Malcolm of Lurot Brand.
"If you’re wanting to buy with long-term value improvement in mind, based on upgraded infrastructure, we would advise investing in areas where, for example, additional Elizabeth Line stations are likely to be or even HS2 [High Speed 2] stations. In other words, pre-empt the inevitable increase in prices once the planned investment becomes a reality."
Potential London hotspots
It’s not easy pre-empting infrastructure improvements — especially when plans change. The planned extension of the Bakerloo Line and Crossrail 2 are cases in point as both have been put on hold indefinitely.
While not happening any time soon, many believe that they will eventually come to fruition and Marc Schneiderman of Arlington Residential says that potential buyers should "keep an eye on Lewisham" especially, as it’s set to have improved access to central London.
As well as communications lines, Lloyd Malcolm suggests looking out for proposed developments. "In recent years there has been a great deal of public discussion in North Kensington and Kensal Green about the proposed Ladbroke Grove Sainsbury's development [of 2,500 new homes, a new supermarket and a new high street]. If plans are approved and this goes ahead, property prices in that area are likely to see a dramatic increase."
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Future National Hotspots
In terms of nationally, the biggest upcoming infrastructure project is HS2, the first phase of which is being built from London to Birmingham and set for completion in 2031. The second phase will split go on to Manchester, but no date has been set for its completion.
"[This] is the largest transport project currently being built in the country, with major improvements planned to services between London Euston and Central Birmingham," says Matt Hallissey of Invisible Homes."HS2 is particularly transformative for the connectivity of Old Oak Common in London and Solihull near Birmingham, with knock-on effects in demand for properties."
Does the WFH phenomenon change things?
The pandemic and associated work from home (WFH) culture has changed the way that people use communications, but all our experts agree this is likely to be short-lived.
"The once-perceived WFH five days a week is fast becoming closer to two or even one day a week as we acknowledge the importance of office space and face-to-face interaction," says Lloyd Malcolm. "As a consequence, for the most part we believe the WFH option will be for the minority, not the majority."
Communications will still be an important consideration when someone buys a home and infrastructure improvements will boost a property’s value.
Marc Schneiderman sums this up: "Ultimately property is all about location and a big part of that is proximity to transport and communication links, so those properties well located in terms of this will always fare much better than those that are not so well positioned."