Many experts believe that transport-led regeneration is the single most important factor boosting the value of property. And, if they are right, then Crossrail, the east-west link through the capital, is the upgrade that will have the biggest impact in London yet.
Analysis prepared exclusively for Homes & Property by property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle suggests the price of homes near stations along the route will increase by up to 57 per cent between now and 2018, outperforming the rest of the housing market.
According to the company’s residential director, Jon Neale, properties in central London, where six new stations are being built, will see the greatest price lift - in particular, those in the Tottenham Court Road area.
“Suddenly it will become within easy reach of the City, Canary Wharf and Heathrow. It will also benefit from the ending of Crossrail ‘blight’ caused by the current construction upheaval.
“The key factor driving prices is the extent to which Crossrail improves the accessibility of a location from its current state.”
NEW STATIONS MEAN NEW BUSINESS HUBS, TOO
New Crossrail stations will also be business hubs, with offices, shops and homes built above and alongside. St Pancras has shown that redevelopment of a major terminus and surrounding land can transform an area, making it a much better address, even highly desirable.
The Crossrail station at Bond Street station is part of a 1.3-acre development project bringing apartments and 300,000 square feet of office and retail space above a ticket hall on Hanover Square, in the heart of the West End. Another above-station scheme involving property company Grosvenor is planned for the western exit on Davies Street, Mayfair.
Public realm improvements at Tottenham Court Road station will extend to the scruffy patch around the listed Centre Point skyscraper, whose owner, Almacantar, is examining change of use from commercial to residential space. This neighbourhood borders Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury, Covent Garden and Soho and has already been given a facelift with a dashing new mixed-use scheme called Central St Giles, designed by Shard of Glass architect Renzo Piano. Penthouses are for sale, priced from £2.95 million. Call EA Shaw on 020 7240 2255.
Mayor Boris Johnson’s London Plan envisages much closer integration of public transport and housing by “encouraging patterns and forms of development that reduce the need to travel, especially by car”. This applies particularly to key regeneration zones such as King’s Cross and amounts to “not just a transport policy but an economic strategy for London”.
Tube and rail account for 78 per cent of all trips to central London. Crossrail is expected to bring 1.5 million more people within 45 minutes’ commuting distance of the capital’s key business districts, giving an estimated £42 billion boost to the economy.
NEW PROJECTS PLANNED
Homebuyers are beginning to focus on areas thrown into the spotlight by the new route, including cheaper outer-London locations such as Acton and West Drayton. Canalside apartments at High Point Village, next to the new Hayes and Harlington station, cost from £145,000. Call Ballymore on 0800 092 7070.
Developer Berkeley is contributing £100 million to the Crossrail station project at Woolwich and has announced that another 3,700 new homes are to be built over the next decade at its Royal Arsenal riverside estate, where a new DLR station opened recently. Apartments at The Warehouse, the latest phase, cost from £250,000. Call 020 8331 7130. Clerkenwell is tipped to be a big Crossrail winner because of its proximity to Farringdon station.
Currently one of London’s quieter mainline stations, by 2017 it will be Britain’s busiest, with a seven-fold increase in commuters and 140 trains per hour passing through it. Farringdon will be the single London terminus with integrated north-south (of the river) and east-west routes; the only one allowing passengers to board Crossrail, Thameslink (also being upgraded) and Tube trains. It will provide direct links to Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and London City airports as well as Eurostar services at St Pancras, and Brighton.
Clerkenwell is seen as a media village but being so close to the City, it also attracts bachelor bankers and lawyers who want to live in a designer pad and throw off the shackles of a suit. The coming transport bonus is triggering corporate relocations to Farringdon — among them Merrill Lynch — while the Crossrail catalyst is expected to spur the long-delayed redevelopment of nearby Smithfield Market, where a new station entrance is planned. The site has scope for a giant mixed-use scheme, including hundreds of new homes and much-needed shops.
“At the moment Clerkenwell has no direct train link to Heathrow. Crossrail will change this but I think the major plus will be the much quicker connections to Canary Wharf and the West End,” says David Salvi of estate agent Hurford Salvi Carr.
Ealing is another Crossrail beneficiary. Journey times to Bond Street, the City and Canary Wharf will be almost halved (to 15, 20 and 29 minutes respectively). Developers believe fashionable apartment living — the sort that exists in Docklands, Fulham and Putney — will attract urbanites who previously steered clear of this leafy suburb.
Dickens Yard is a town-centre regeneration scheme of 698 new flats set around new public squares and pedestrianised lanes being brought to life with shops, restaurants and markets.
Prices start at £319,950 and come with a package of extras — 24-hour concierge, underground parking and residents-only gym. A swish hotel-like entrance foyer provides a sense of arrival, and the scheme dovetails with surrounding heritage buildings, including Ealing’s gothic-style town hall, a Victorian church and a Thirties fire station. Call developer St George on 020 8568 1100.
Crossrail is Europe’s largest civil engineering project. Running 118 kilometres from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore tunnels under central London to Shenfield in the east, it will increase the capital’s rail capacity by 10 per cent and carry about 200 million passengers a year.
In general, there is no urgent rush to buy as the £16 billion project is still about six years from completion. But early bird buyers can expect to benefit over the longer term, as have purchasers who bought in the Olympics zone after the Games were awarded to London in 2005 — since then prices in some east London postcodes have jumped 60 per cent.