As the new year gets into its stride and home buyers’ minds clear, it’s time to get cracking on your fresh start. With the clock ticking to Crossrail’s big launch, it is time now to look seriously at areas along the line where there is value to be added.
1. HAYES (west)
Average asking price: £381,175
(Rightmove | January 2017)
Looking west to Hayes, HUB is involved at The Old Vinyl Factory, which was the centre of the record-making universe in the Sixties. Now it’s a whole new “quarter”, with shops, homes, entertainment venues and workspaces in landmark Art Deco buildings, set around new public plazas. At The Boiler House, prices start at £325,000 for one- or two-bedroom flats, while new homes for rent are offered at The Material Store.
HUB managing director Steve Sanham says Hayes will be a great location in terms of buzz, and talks of “huge, exciting change” going on in Abbey Wood, with homes being built by Peabody at Thamesmead, and the planned Docklands Light Railway extension to serve that area.
2. SOUTHALL (west)
Average asking price: £428,145
The Southall Gasworks site is another tip as a “massively overlooked” part of London, still in the teens in terms of minutes into Bond Street when Crossrail arrives. Berkeley’s St James is developing Southall Waterside here, with 3,750 homes in planning including studios, suites, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments near more than half a mile of canal frontage, green open spaces and public plazas. Or Southall Village canalside regeneration project, from Catalyst Homes, is due in 2019.
3. ABBEY WOOD (east)
Average asking price: £334,952
Out east, districts such as Abbey Wood represent a good bet. It is handy for Woolwich, which has experienced a growth surge in the last 10 years, with schemes such as Royal Arsenal.
Developer HUB submitted a planning application last year for Abbey Place, “208 new homes for Londoners” in Abbey Wood, to form part of a landmark residential, hotel and commercial development near the Crossrail station. HUB chief executive Robert Sloss says the developer aims to provide mid-market, more affordable schemes and has focused heavily on the Elizabeth line.
4. GREENWICH (south east)
Average asking price: £464,144
Over at Greenwich Peninsula, Developer Knight Dragon’s masterplan for a vibrant new district includes 15,720 homes, with 285 in the current phase. One-bedroom flats start at £530,000, with two-bedroom flats from £712,500 and three-bedroom homes from £995,000. Call 020 3713 6153.
These are not just good places for investment. They are good places to live, with “lifestyle” and the provision of facilities such as crèches and workspaces now at the forefront of developers’ minds.
“The thing we do properly now is get mixed-use development right,” says Savills’ Nick Vaughan. He points to King’s Cross as a shining example, and cites the regenerative effects that improved transport links, such as the Jubilee line extension and the DLR, have had on the east in pockets including Canning Town. “Crossrail will just kick that on further.”
Independent commercial property giant GVA also predicts big things from Crossrail, leading to the delivery of 57,000 new homes and 40 million square feet of commercial space. GVA’s director of regeneration and spatial planning, Martyn Saunders, says Ealing, Southall, Hayes and Abbey Wood are key areas.
5. EALING (particularly West Ealing)
Average asking price: £741,704
A good place to start your search is Ealing, which is, says Savills’ residential team director Nick Vaughan, a great place both for investors and for those seeking a home. It is family-friendly yet close to the West End’s bright lights and to City jobs. With Crossrail’s “shrinking” effect on the capital, Ealing will be just 11 minutes from Bond Street and 20 minutes from all those finance jobs, when what should now be called the Elizabeth line opens fully in December 2019.
So handy for the station is Dickens Yard, just 300 yards from Ealing Broadway, offering a mix of residential buildings, public piazzas and shops. The final phase, Elizabeth Apartments, has been released by developer St George, with 29 new-build homes including two- and three-bedroom flats and a duplex penthouse. Prices start at £880,000 and include access to an on-site gym, swimming pool, steam room and sauna.
Property values are forecast by agency JLL to rise by as much as 50 per cent in the next five years within 800 yards of Ealing Broadway station, but Nick Vaughan believes West Ealing is perhaps the better bet — not quite as smart just now but with another Crossrail station a couple of minutes west and a clutch of developments to come.
“If I was buying a unit tomorrow for investment it would be in the Drayton Place scheme in Ealing,” he says. This Family Mosaic scheme a few minutes from West Ealing Crossrail includes five two-bedroom flats from £505,000 and one three-bedroom flat at £630,000.
OTHER KEY AREAS TO WATCH
With average asking prices of £363,072, Romford is also worth watching. Also, outer London areas including Brentwood (£574,030) and, underpinning the revitalisation of its town centre, Maidenhead, where average asking prices are £586,745.
Near Tower Bridge, another St George project hopes to benefit from its proximity to the line, at Whitechapel station, an important interchange between Hammersmith & City and District Tube lines and the London Overground. London Dock leads the regeneration of the Wapping site, with the former working docks turned into a “culture and style quarter”. Three-bedroom flats cost from £1,724,950 but there are 486 “affordable homes” out of a total 1,800, along with 180,000sq ft of commercial space. London Dock flats and penthouses have generous private balconies and terraces, some offering 1,000sq ft.
By the time the first trains enter passenger service this May, the Elizabeth line will “shrink” London by improving access in and out of the city, spreading regeneration and new homes along its route from Reading in the west to Shenfield in the east. The new year diet is looking property-rich.