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Elizabeth Line: Are There Still Buying Opportunities, and if So, Where?

Mark Hempshell reports

For a decade or more now commentators have been forecasting that Crossrail, now the Elizabeth Line, would lift property values along its route. Now that the line is open (not completely) we will look at what has happened. More importantly, we will also look at whether there might still be buying opportunities along the route.

First of all, a quick recap: The Elizabeth Line stretches 120km from Reading in Berkshire, under central London, to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood on the Greenwich/Bromley border serving 28 stations along the way. Its main benefits are increased capacity and faster travel times into and through London. The line has the capacity for 342,000 passenger journeys daily. A journey across central London takes under 15 minutes and it has brought 1.5m people within 45 minutes travel time of the centre. Potentially it makes many more areas of London attractive to commuters and developers.

History generally shows that new infrastructure boosts property values, but it is not that simple to draw conclusions. While there are always early adopters, many people do not buy or rent until after a new service commences. Also, much has changed since the route of the line was fixed in the 2000s. There has been a financial crisis, a slow recovery and then a global pandemic followed by a seemingly runaway property market. Covid has had a significant impact on commuting and has also led commercial occupiers to reassess their requirements.

Importantly, the stations along the route have very different property markets. Seventeen of the 28 stations are with the Mayor of London’s designated opportunity areas for growth (London Plan 2021) with areas of brownfield land earmarked for development. They have little in common with prime locations like Bond Street, Liverpool Street or Canary Wharf.

There has been much research on the impact of Crossrail/the Elizabeth Line on property markets. Recent analysis from Rightmove suggests that many areas
near stations on the line that were previously lesser connected to key commuter hubs such as Liverpool Street or Paddington have seen a surge in prices, rents and interest from buyers and renters. They suggest that while total buyer demand has risen the most in western areas, prices and competition have risen most in
eastern areas.

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