Crossrail is already creating London property hotspots
* Crossrail, due for completion in 2010, could boost house prices by up to 44 per cent at key points in London along the route
* Outer London locations and homes in Berkshire and Essex will benefit too
* Ealing in the west and Woolwich and Canary Wharf in the east are tipped for strong growth
Crossrail, the east-west rail link through the capital, and Europe’s largest infrastructure project, will cause more property ripples, and have a bigger impact on London, than even the latest Tube extensions to the Jubilee and East London lines.
Transport-led regeneration is the single most important factor in boosting the value of our homes. In key places along the route, prices are likely to outperform the rest of London and rise by up to 44 per cent between now and when trains start running in 2018, according to new analysis by property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.
While neighbourhoods around the five new central London stations may see the greatest price lift, outer London locations and homes in Berkshire and Essex will benefit too. Ealing in the west and Woolwich in the east are also tipped for strong growth — as is Canary Wharf, which for the first time will have a direct link to Heathrow.
Unknown Old Oak Common, with its exciting development plans led by top architect Terry Farrell, in north-west London, is poised to become a transport superhub, and another predicted hotspot.
“People are waking up to the infinite possibilities of Crossrail,” says JLL’s Adam Challis. “Though launch day is some way off, the construction upheaval around London and our new stations is a reminder of Crossrail’s scale.”
Running 118 kilometres from Maidenhead in the west, through new twin-bore tunnels under central London to Shenfield in Essex, Crossrail will increase London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent and carry about 200 million passengers a year. This is a compelling prospect for early bird property buyers and investors.
The "Crossrail factor": new Goldman Sachs Farringdon headquarters
The “Crossrail factor” is already driving property investment in London, says Mike Taylor, director of analyst GVA Grimley. As well as being transport interchanges, Crossrail stations will be business hubs, with more than three million square feet of new offices, and shops, with homes built above and beside.
This is triggering speculative development such as a new 1.2 million sq ft Goldman Sachs headquarters moments from Farringdon station.
“Over-site” schemes with a residential element are under way at Davies Street and Hanover Square in Mayfair and on Charing Cross Road, opposite Centre Point.
The Culture Line arts programme
To help cement Crossrail in the public mind, an arts programme called The Culture Line has been unveiled. This brings together artists, architects and engineers to create exhibitions and permanent works at new stations. The first commission is A Cloud Index by Spencer Finch, to be embedded within a spectacular 400ft long glass canopy above the concourse at Paddington station.
One to watch: Ealing
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. Wise homebuyers are focusing on areas thrown into the spotlight by the new route.
“Ealing will be one of the biggest beneficiaries as it will connect commuters to every key employment centre,” says Simon Walker of Savills.
“Anyone who lives on the western fringes and works in central London will benefit. Journey times to Bond Street, the City and Canary Wharf will be almost halved (to 15, 20 and 29 minutes respectively).
In April 2013, British Land, the commercial property giant, acquired Ealing Broadway shopping centre in a £142.5 million deal, believing the mall will become a much more visited retail destination once Crossrail is up and running — a clear vote of confidence in west London.
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, markets and street theatre.
Prices start at £559,950 and come with a package of extras — 24-hour concierge, secure underground parking and a spa which will be for the exclusive use of residents.
A smart 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 fine Thirties fire station. Call developer St George on 020 8568 1100 or more details here.
Coming soon is Orchard Lofts, an impressive boutique scheme of nine distinctive homes priced from £395,000. Call Savills on 020 8987 5570.
Essex gets its first direct link to the West End
Rail connections from Essex to the City are already the quickest from any of the home counties, according to Terry Holmes, director of estate agent Beresfords.
“For the first time, Essex will get a direct link to the West End and to the M4 commercial corridor,” he says. “In particular, we expect Shenfield, a key commuter town at the end of the line, to become a hotspot.”
New station at Imperial Wharf
Hammersmith and Fulham Council wants the new station to be up and running by 2020, two years after Crossrail is due to start and well before the scheduled opening of HS2 in 2026.
Acton and West Drayton winners
Acton and West Drayton will be Crossrail winners too as current property values are cheap by London standards.
Canalside apartments at High Point Village, a Docklands-style complex next to the new Hayes and Harlington station, cost from £164,950. Call Ballymore on 0800 092 7070.
Crossrail was the “decisive factor” for Thushari and Krishan Gomez. The couple, both 28 and electronics engineers, moved to Fortis, a 31-acre “garden village” set within the former West Drayton RAF base. Prices from £192,995. Call Weston Homes on 01895 438037.
“We think property values are bound to increase in an area that is still quite affordable. We’ve been able to buy a three-bedroom house with a garden and we like the fact that it is an entirely new community made up of families and professionals just like us.”