The Crossrail effect has had a big impact on property development in central London - and proves that transport hubs are attractive to prospective homeowners.
Bloomsbury in the heart of central London might not strike you as an obvious location to buy a family home.
However, thanks to two new Crossrail stations at Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road, the area is currently undergoing extensive re-development which has led to a residential renaissance.
Stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, Crossrail will encompass over 100 km of track including 21 km of tunnels and 10 new stations. From improving journey times across London, to easing congestion and offering better connections, Crossrail will change the way people travel around the capital.
In addition, Crossrail is having a considerable impact on the localities surrounding its new stations.
It has already boosted property prices at large stations such as Bond Street, with residential developments underway by Grosvenor Estates and Great Portland Estates.
House prices around Bond Street have already increased hugely – even faster than average property prices in London – and the effects are now being seen at other less obvious locations along Crossrail’s route.
This boost to property development strengthens the case for transport hubs and provides the much-needed justification for government funding.
Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and is costing an incredible £14.8bn, as well as creating an estimated 57,275 new properties. The proposed larger Crossrail 2 development – estimated to cost between £27-32bn – will create about 200,000 new properties and, uniquely, will have over half of its cost met by local funding sources.
The wider benefits and opportunities generated by transport infrastructure projects are often overlooked.
Not only will projects like Crossrail bring better transportation to the vicinity, they also act as a catalyst for improving retail, office, business, education and residential property development in the area. Transport links should clearly be a major consideration for individuals when looking at where they would like to live.
A recent YouGov poll of over 2,000 people, commissioned by Bircham Dyson Bell, does show that commuters always prioritise good transport links.
55 per cent of commuters would consider moving further away from their place of work if transport links were better. 38 per cent said quality of life was most important in deciding where to buy a home and 19 per cent said proximity to family and friends.
In stark contrast – and contrary to popular perception – just 3 per cent cited increasing property value as the most important reason to move into an area.
Research shows that improved transport links, and the development of stations and transport hubs, has a galvanising effect on surrounding areas.
This acts as a catalyst for property development which would otherwise be undeliverable and that development in turn provides some of the essential funding these transport projects require.
We need only look back at redevelopment projects like Docklands, Kings Cross and Birmingham New Street to see that transport and infrastructure breathe new life into rundown areas of the UK’s cities.
With Transport for London currently setting out ambitious plans to identify 400 potential regeneration sites around London’s 435 underground, rail and bus stations, there are certainly plenty of future opportunities for rejuvenation of business, retail and residential property development.
The latest success story for Bloomsbury and Crossrail is just the tip of the iceberg as we welcome a transport-led property renaissance across the UK.
Jennifer Chappell is a senior associate at Bircham Dyson Bell