Crossrail is one of the most dramatic infrastructures that the capital has seen, it will transform the map of London, cutting commuting times and pushing up property prices. Karen Tait explains what the Crossrail Effect will mean for west London
Put simply, Crossrail will transform the lives of thousands of London dwellers and commuters. From cutting journey times to elevating property prices along the line, and providing the catalyst for new retail and commercial projects, Crossrail is one of the most influential infrastructure upgrades to hit the capital in decades. Perhaps the last transport project with the same impact was the expansion of the underground network some 100 years ago.
When services start in 2019, it will put 1.5m more people within a 45-minute commute of key business districts
The 75-mile route will run from Reading in the west to Shenfield in Essex, stopping at 40 stations including 10 new ones. When services start in 2019, it will put 1.5m more people within a 45-minute commute of key business districts. The west section runs from Paddington to Heathrow Airport and Reading, and will include new station buildings at Acton, Southall, West Ealing and Hayes & Harlington and a major renovation at Ealing Broadway.
‘Most of the attention has so far been focused on how it will make commuting from Berkshire and Essex quicker than from many outer London boroughs,’ comments Simon Barry, Head of New Developments at Harrods Estates. ‘Less attention has been paid to the impact it will have on the West End where New Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road are undergoing an amazing transformation with 500,000 sqft of development above the vast new subterranean ticket hall, and regeneration of the area as residential and office values catch up with the rest of W1.
‘Crossrail will confirm the resurgence of Mayfair, the West End and Midtown as the most desirable residential locations in Prime Central London
‘Crossrail will confirm the resurgence of Mayfair, the West End and Midtown as the most desirable residential locations in Prime Central London. Why would the affluent but ‘time-poor’ want to live anywhere else: surrounded by London’s top cultural and retail destinations and yet still be only seven minutes from the City or 11 minutes from Canary Wharf or 30 minutes from Heathrow?’
Analysis from Knight Frank shows that average property prices within a 10-minute walk of Bond Street station have risen by 82%, the largest increase along the Crossrail route, compared to a 43% uplift in the wider area since the project received the go ahead in July 2008. Acton has seen the largest average increase for stations outside central London, (77%) over the last six years, outperforming its surrounding area by 33%. Average prices within a 15-minute walk of the western Crossrail stations have risen by 28% since 2008.
Analysis from Knight Frank shows that average property prices within a 10-minute walk of Bond Street station have risen by 82%
Gráinne Gilmore, head of Knight Frank UK Residential Research, comments: ‘Price performance continues to be stronger in the central London sections. However, over the last 12 months, the ‘ripple’ effect has started to take effect, with stronger price growth in areas surrounding central London.’
‘The imminent arrival of Crossrail has changed homebuyers’ and landlords’ views of the map of London,’ says Vic Chhabria, Director of Rescorp Residential. ‘Developers have snapped up key sites for the creation of new homes within a few minutes’ walk of stations along the route. We have seen this in Acton, Paddington and London’s West End. As a result, a lot of the properties surrounding Central London have been added to investors’ radars.’
While much has been made of the impact Crossrail will have on areas further out, James Pace of Knight Frank’s Chelsea office believes it will also affect those living in prime central areas, particularly those who commute into the City. Where the stations are eventually located will be key, he says: ‘A station at World’s End, for example, would be fantastic for the area of SW10 that doesn’t get any particular public transport, despite a lot of residents being vociferously against it. It would transform this end of the Kings Road.’
Hotspots along the line are already starting to emerge and one of the strongest is Ealing
Hotspots along the line are already starting to emerge and one of the strongest is Ealing. ‘The line will open up areas to new demographics of buyers and renters,’ comments Christopher Bramwell, Head of Savills West London. ‘In Ealing, Crossrail will introduce a whole new audience who may not have considered the area. It ticks every other box for young professional families, with great schools and more public open space than any other borough in London. Crossrail will provide the missing link; enabling commuters to reach Bond Street in a mere 11 minutes, Canary Wharf in just 25 minutes and Heathrow Airport in 15 minutes. Few other areas can boast such connectivity both into and out of London, whilst offering excellent value when purchasing a property.
‘In the ‘centre west’ section, from Hanwell to Acton, there are already over 2,000 residential units with planning permission within 500m of the stations,’ he adds. ‘New shops, cafés and restaurants have already opened in anticipation of a changing demographic.’
‘Last year, Ealing was one of the capital’s best performing boroughs, recording price rises of 20.8%,’ reports Jason Scott of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. ‘Demand among buyers keen to get an early foot on the ladder has soared. Developments are a fantastic indication of an area experiencing a surge of appeal, and we’ve seen a noticeable increase in activity.’