Date Published 15 August 2016
Crossrail is a new upcoming venture organised between ‘Transport for London' and ‘The Department for Transport' to build a new railway linking Maidenhead and Heathrow in the West, to Sheffield and Abbey Wood in the East. Construction has already begun, with the central section of the line forecasted to be complete by the end of 2018; Crossrail is set to be Europe's largest construction project, and the biggest infrastructure plan to be carried out in London for over 20 years. The Crossrail service will supply efficient, high frequency, safe and comfortable journeys, carrying approximately 78,000 passengers per hour during peak times. Forming parts of the Crossrail network, will be the introduction of 200 metre long trains (space for up to 1,500 passengers), 10 new stations all with step-free access, and with improvements to many other stations too. As well as adding a 10% increase to London's rail capacity, this new train facility will create 42 km of new tunnels, provide 55,000 new jobs to support the operation, and £42 billion is expected to be generated towards the UK's economy. Nonetheless, there are still a number of concerns revolving around just how much is being spent to fund this new service, with the majority of it being funded by the public purse; and even after we pay our taxes and fares into Crossrail, our likely reward will undoubtedly be higher rental prices and property costs. In addition, according to a recent study, by 2025 London is expected to be majority-renting city, where 60% of its homes will be available for rent rather than be occupied by the direct purchaser; this means that there may be less investment opportunities for buyers, and more worryingly - less homes for the average Londoner to be able to call their own.
With the introduction of this new transport service, commuting times are expected to see a significant reduction with a greater number of trains being introduced, less disruptions being predicted and an all round faster journey to be enjoyed. So how will this affect the Marylebone property market? Well forecasters have predicted that property prices along the almost-ready Elizabeth line (part of the Crossrail service) will continue to increase, and more specifically that between now and when the trains first start running there will be property price increases of an average £133,000 – which will of course be higher in top Central London areas. In addition, house and flat prices along the Elizabeth line are both tipped to increase by 3.3% annually above local property prices until the route formally launches in 2018/early 2019. It seems that now really is the time to invest in Central London and with Marylebone ever so close to the designated Crossrail stops, such as Paddington Station, Bond Street Station and the slightly further Tottenham Court Road Station, Marylebone really would seem to be a prime target for any potential investor.
Research from Rightmove is already predicting that these three nearby train stops, which will be the most beneficial to Marylebone, will in fact see its house prices grow considerably. To explain, as the Elizabeth line above shows us, properties in and around Paddington Station should grow towards an average £1.15 million, whereas Bond Street properties are expecting to stand around the £2.14 million mark, and Tottenham Court Station will be furnished with homes averaging an estimated £1.60 million. This will of course have a knock-on effect to nearby Marylebone with it being such a close Crossrail neighbourhood, where property prices will certainly rise here along with the mentioned districts too. Whether Marylebone's expected property rises will match or even exceed these forecasted areas, we will have to wait and see – invest now and get it right and the profits could be soaring in for you! I can tell you that potential buy-to-let investors have already looked to take advantage of the prospective Crossrail boost to prices, where research from Hamptons Estate Agents show that the number of properties changing hands in Crossrail neighbourhoods increased twice as fast as the London average between 2012 and 2015. However, it could also be very worthwhile to be slow and steady here too, which is usually a vice with property investment, but with this particular situation holding off for now where many sellers are waiting until Crossrail is up and running in the hope that prices may rise further by then, could be a smart move. This is because, this current reluctance to sell can itself amplify prices, and after the eventual opening of Crossrail, a potential jump in the number of homes for sale could result in prices being more negotiable and there being more choice for buyers. Ultimately waiting for Crossrail to open could possibly be a better or at least a just as good a time to purchase new properties, with more definitive figures to base your investment ambitions upon and a more solid review of the function-ability and popularity of Crossrail.
Moreover, the new Crossrail service expects to save the average commuter an average of 30 minutes' journey time, which will make Central London areas such as Marylebone even more attractive property investment sites. A reason for this assumption, properties in Marylebone will appeal to a larger volume of people, including those who previously thought of the area being too far to invest in, or others who currently possess properties elsewhere. These individuals perhaps may have previously thought it to be too inconvenient to maintain properties in both sites, but as a consequence of journey durations being slashed, as well as becoming more direct - these potential investors would find investing in the area much more suitable and making more financial sense. But as we all know, convenience doesn't come without its price, this added ease will cause more demand for properties in Marylebone and the surrounding neighbourhoods, which will undoubtedly exceed the supply of properties available at one time, resultantly causing a rise in property prices and rental values.
New services in the transport sector have traditionally played a vital role in property price performance, especially in the London property market. In the late 1990's, the expansion of London Underground's Jubilee Line was the biggest addition to London's transport network in more than 25 years and was commonly perceived to have produced a land worth estimating in the region of £9 billion. With Crossrail expected to bring an additional 1.5 million people to within a 45 minute's commute to Central London, it is estimated that this will resultantly help generate £5.5 billion in extra value to property prices across its route by 2021; Central London properties are predicted to grow by an eye-watering 25% in this time period.
Want to find out more about the upcoming Crossrail service? Well if this is the case and you'd like to take a further look at the forecasted relationship between property prices and the introduction of Crossrail, please don't hesitate to contact me – I am more than happy to offer you some advice. Crossrail will certainly have a massive impact in and around the areas it is planned to serve, and perhaps if you act fast, this high-class service could also have a positive as well as profitable impact on your investment prospects too!