32: Thameslink and Crossrail in SE England - impact on property investment performance
Thameslink: For all those serious property investors in SE England, a key infrastructure development is the Thameslink series of rail lines and stations. For property investment purposes, it is worth noting that St Pancras will in addition benefit from the Eurostar International terminal from 2007, whilst Farringdon is earmarked to be a key station on the west to east Crossrail link - most likely to be opened by 2013. Property purchase close to these stations in the Clerkenwell, Shoreditch, the City and Kings Cross areas of central London will likely see significant price gains as a result of these improved communications and focus on the area from business and commercial/office developments.
To provide context, examples of areas that have already seen big improvements and property price increase since Thameslink opened are:
- Peterborough (commuting to London in 60 mins, high tech business)
- Brighton (Victorian seaside city now in commuting distance - some 60 mins - to London)
- Gatwick (expanding economy, almost no unemployment, successful airport)
- Bedford and Luton (faster links to London, and expanding airport)
On the terminus of the proposed new Thameslink lines are Ashford (also Eurostar International station, with high speed link to St Pancras by 2007) and Kings Lynn (nice market town in economically expanding NW Norfolk) - both areas should benefit by 2012, if the links finished.
Also consider the branchline SE of London to Dartford - these suburbs are very low cost compared with West London - approximately half the price. New Cross in particular is only 1 1/2 miles from London - City, yet prices for one bedroom flats start at £125,000. For all those first time buyers that need a pad close to London, also on the proposed East London Line extension due to be opened by 2010, this could be the best bet for capital value increases in the next 5 years. New Cross (Thameslink) and New Cross Gate (South London Line tube extension) are 1/2 apart - it seems likely this area, where Goldsmiths College is located, will re-generate signifcantly as a result. Furthermore, Deptford Creek Docklands Light Railway is only 1/2 east - providing a good link to Canary Warf. If anyone knows any central London (Zone 2) area which is cheaper, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about Thameslink click here.
Crossrail: Crossrail has recently got the go-head - a White Paper is planned to be submitted in March 2005 for Government consideration with regarding to financing. It seems about 80% certain now that the rail link will be built - even if the London Olympic bid fails to secure the games. Of particular note is that Tottenham Court Road will be on the intersection of Line 1 and Line 2 - and will come a serious transport hub. This part of London, on a visit last week - is undergoing quite some re-generation. Western parts of Holborn and the eastern end of Oxford Street should show considerable improvements once these lines are openned.
Hayes & Harringdon is also worth a look - this area is close to Heathrow (Terminal 5 employment and new offices/commercial) and at the branch intersection o the Heathrow line on Line 1. Rail travel to central London will improve considerably, and the fact this subsub is in the middle of the western High-tech M4 corridor is a further bonus. Maidenhead at the end of Line 1 is also worth considering for similar reasons - this town is quite large, economically buoyant and has good access towards the West (West Country, Reading) and east (Crossrail providing direct trains to the City, West End, Docklands and Stratford etc).
Abbey Wood on the SE line extension would undoubtedly see big re-generation since this area is one of the cheapest places in London at present. Ilford, which is currently re-generating and is an importnat East London regional centre - would do will from Crossrail.
Finally, for all those doubting Thomas's that believe there will be a property price crash in London - forget it ! With 900,000 people due to arrive in the next 10 years, very little building, and smaller households, only a big increase in unemployment (unlikely) or interest rates (not likely) could trigger a significant fall. London has and will remain a ket services/financial international hub and a magnet for foreign investment - purchase of low prices rental property in re-generating areas of London seems most prudent!