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CROSSRAIL: BRINGING OLD TOWNS NEW LIFE

8 August 2014

In the second part of our Crossrail series, we take you on a journey from the Western Section into Central London, highlighting stations we see best situated for investment potential

THE WESTERN SECTION

Three quarters of the areas that will be served by Crossrail fall outside of the city’s central areas, with some a great distance from the city itself, such as Reading, the beginning of the trainline in the west. There’s excellent property investment value to be found in some of these places, and at much lower entry-cost levels than their inner London counterparts. 


CROSSRAIL ROUTE 

 

Slough

The future of Slough is very bright indeed. This old market town located just outside the M25, around the corner from Windsor Castle and Eton, is going through something of a twenty-first century renaissance.

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Having become the setting for European headquarters of a number of international businesses in recent years, due to its low prices and proximity to London and Heathrow airport, Slough is starting to reap the benefits of heavy investment in the form of the GBP450 million Heart of Slough regeneration programme. With new homes, expanding office space and a wide range of new community, cultural and infrastructure investment all well underway, the transformation of Slough is coming just in time for the arrival of the town’s very own Crossrail station. The project will significantly increase the regularity of Slough’s fast services into Central London, Heathrow airport, as well as provide a direct link to prime commuter stations.

PRICE GROWTH IN SLOUGH IS AT 8.4% FOR THE YEAR TO MAY 2014
Price growth in Slough is at 8.4% for the year to May 2014, and the number of transactions has risen 118% within 500 metres of the new station site over the past 12 months, demonstrating renewed confidence in the market due to the benefits of Crossrail, and we believe this will continue to strengthen in the years ahead.

West Drayton

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A quiet, leafy suburb in the west of Greater London, West Drayton is a popular choice for those wanting out of the bustle of the city while keeping its convenience nearby. The station’s addition to the Crossrail route can be expected to drive demand even higher as the Central London commute becomes even more convenient.

Urban renewal work centred around the station is planned to improve the local environment and appeal to the city’s commuter demographic, while the Drayton Garden Village scheme will see more of the same as efforts accelerate to improve the local environment in time for Crossrail’s introduction.

Local transactions are increasing as investors and homebuyers take note of the potential in the area, with a rise of 43% seen within 500 metres of the station over the past year. West Drayton prices remain at only 82% of the average for the entire local authority, and the feeling is that this scope to grow will be well utilised in the coming years. West Drayton is one of the first of London’s “Crossrail Story” areas that we identified as having the potential to meet our investors' expectations, and was therefore the site of our first project in this part of London back in early 2013. We still see plenty of upside in West Drayton and continue to monitor the area for good value opportunities.


CENTRAL STATIONS

The central section of the Crossrail route covers ten brand new stations stretching from Paddington in the west to Woolwich in the east. Eight of those stations will be underground as they sit along the 21 miles of new tunnel laid across Central London as part of the project. The new stations will link seamlessly with the city’s existing transport network to make travel across London faster and more efficient.

Tottenham Court Road

The new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road will be one of the largest on the route, and is expected to be able to accommodate some 70 million passengers a year to put it on an equal footing with nearby Oxford Circus as one of Central London’s key connectivity hubs.

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Architects impression of Tottenham Court Road Crossrail ticket hall Crossrail.co.uk

A GBP1billion pound investment programme will revitalise the area around the station, while the station planning itself includes integrated property development opportunities that will provide swathes of new residential and commercial space.

This prime central location has been historically overlooked when it comes to property development, resulting in an underperforming market with the potential to soar in the wake of the regeneration work already underway. Investors are already paying attention, sending prices soaring by 36% in the past year while transaction levels continue to increase. Recent estimates suggest that Crossrail alone will add a further 15% to prices in the years prior to the service going into operation.

Despite a large appetite for prime residential space in London, stock and pipeline are lagging far behind. Unless this can be addressed, good value investment propositions will be difficult to come by in the area for many investors.


Farringdon

Currently one of London’s quietest stations, Farringdon will be Britain’s busiest by 2018. The new, expansive station will be the only one on Crossrail with integrated north-south and east-west routes, allowing passengers to board Crossrail, Thameslink and London Underground trains.

NEARBY ST PANCRAS WILL ENABLE PASSENGERS TO TRAVEL TO PARIS IN JUST 2.5 HOURS
International travel connections from Farringdon will also be unrivalled by any other station in central London, with the opportunity to reach three of London’s major airports in under 45 minutes upon the project’s completion and nearby St Pancras enabling passengers to travel to Paris in just 2.5 hours.

Its unique connectivity has unsurprisingly sparked a surge of redevelopment nearby. The area is currently being revitalised with several major office schemes in the pipeline, including the Goldman Sachs GBP1billion new UK headquarters. In addition, a refurbishment of the iconic Smithfield Market is planned, which will create a new artisan food quarter, retail boutiques and further office space.

Naturally, property prices in this area are set to grow significantly, and reportedly by some 28% in the next four years. This represents the highest forecasted property growth of all Crossrail stations. Nearby Clerkenwell real estate is tipped to be the biggest winner from Farringdon’s influx of commuters, but unless more supply for new-build property emerges opportunities for investors will be limited.

Canary Wharf

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The UK’s promising economic growth has seen both business and property buyer confidence return to the heart of London’s Docklands, driving concurrent residential development and demand. As such, local resident numbers are growing at a rate of 3.6% per annum while developers have almost 10,000 units already in planning or under construction.

The new station at Canary Wharf will represent one of the largest stations along the Crossrail route. Located on the north dock of West India Quay, the new station at Canary Wharf will have six storeys and provide 115,000 square feet of new retail and leisure space. The first phase, including the roof garden, will be finished by May 2015, putting Canary Wharf ahead of other Crossrail locations in terms of reaping the benefits of the project.

Investors are also starting to reap the benefits, with the first wave of investment from “Crossrail effect” buyers pushing transactions within 500m of the site of the district’s station up by 65%. 


DESIGNING CROSSRAIL'S STATIONS

We’ll be revisiting Crossrail next month where we’ll conclude our journey from west to east, taking a look at the property markets along the Eastern Sections of the project best poised to benefit from growth.

If you’d like further Crossrail market analysis in the meantime, you can get in touch with our expert team of Consultants or sign up for our newsletter and a copy of our new Crossrail Investor Guide.

IP Global

Written by IP Global

IP Global’s full-service approach is built on extensive market research and analysis combined with a significant financial commitment to every investment we offer. We are able to manage the entire investment process end-to-end, from sourcing, financing, and management to those all important exit strategies, making investment in real estate as straightforward as investing in more traditional asset classes. Our expertise, experience and strong record have produced over USD2.8 billion in international real estate investments in over 30 markets worldwide.

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