There’s no question that the London property market has gone through something of a rough patch. Over the past 12 months, house prices in the capital have fallen by an average of 1.9%, according to the latest UK House Price Index summary, with houses to buy now costing an average of £463,000.
This stands in stark contrast to prices across the rest of the country which, while undoubtedly sluggish, has seen growth of 1.4% over the same time period. In fact, areas around London and the rest of the South East are actually dragging down the national average, with recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that UK house price growth has dropped to its lowest rate for 7 years.
The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is inevitably being blamed for such a significant drop, with buyers understandably reluctant to invest in the capital until Britain’s future becomes much clearer. Fortunately, the multi-billion-pound Crossrail project could potentially swing the pendulum in the other direction, with Crossrail themselves predicting that houses near stations will increase in value by 25%.
What is Crossrail?
Crossrail is a new 73-mile railway project currently under development in London, which will run through the capital from east to west. This is one of Europe’s largest ever travel ventures, costing an estimated £15.8 billion and offering a much faster commute to those who live near London and the surrounding areas.
The last phase of the development was originally expected to be completed late last year, but this was eventually pushed back until Autumn 2019. Of course, the introduction of a new London travel service is designed to decrease pressure on the busy Underground, and the sheer scale of the project means many nearby suburban areas now have much easier access to central London.
Where Will it Run?
As previously mentioned, Crossrail connects the east and west sides of London, cutting directly through the centre of the city and stopping at busy stops such as Paddington, Bond Street and Whitechapel. The Elizabeth Line runs from Reading in the west, all the way across to Shenfield in the east, while also branching off to stop at Heathrow Airport and Abbey Wood.
The result is a significant reduction in travel times, and such a short commute is always going to be incredibly appealing to prospective buyers. The introduction of Crossrail will effectively widen the property net, with buyers now able to seriously consider areas which are a little further away from the centre and getting more for their money.
How Crossrail Could Affect London House Prices
Due to the improved accessibility and convenience, areas within a mile radius of Crossrail stops have already enjoyed significant growth. Development on the Crossrail project began way back in 2009 and, in the past decade, houses situated near the new line have risen in value by a staggering 66% — which is 15% more than the rest of the capital.
To be more specific, house prices in the Abbey Wood area have grown by 146%, with buyers quick to realise that the improved transport brings the cosy suburb much closer to the centre of London. Without question, it’s exactly these kinds of areas which stand to benefit the most from Crossrail, with the likes of Woolwich, Ilford and Acton all experiencing impressive growth so far.
Once the development has been completed, this growth is only expected to increase, especially since Brexit negotiations should also be reaching their conclusion around that time. A short, convenient commute is a valuable commodity to almost every Londoner, and Crossrail will inevitably turn more areas into desirable living destinations. As the demand for these properties continues to rise, as will their overall value and selling price, which is why this could be a fantastic time to make an investment.
If you’re looking to buy property in London, you should look at Crossrail stops which lie outside of the city centre, placing a strong focus on areas which are undergoing high street regeneration (or at least have improvements planned). In such a stagnant market, this might just be one of the best ways to make a sensible investment.