Comprising 60 miles of track with 41 new and existing stations, the Elizabeth line is more than 90% complete and on schedule to open in December 2019, providing services running from Reading and Heathrow in the west (including Terminal 5) through the central tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
90,000 new homes are expected to be built along the route by 2021, doubling to 180,000 by 2026, and the ‘Crossrail effect’ on house prices has already started in central town and surrounding village locations close to the Elizabeth line stations. For instance, over the last seven years Taplow has experienced house price growth of almost 95%, while around the Acton mainline station prices have increased by 82%. New developments have sprung up in places such as Maidenhead and Langley.
Stephen Christie-Miller, head of Savills in Henley, sees that Crossrail has opened up the towns and villages west of London to a new audience of people working in the City and Canary Wharf as a commute from here to central London will be quicker than from Zones 2 or 3 of the TfL network.
“Suddenly, thanks to Crossrail, they can live in the west and still get to work easily. It has opened up a whole new part of the country, which is pretty exciting.”
James Matson, an associate with Savills in Beaconsfield, who deals with the family market agrees
“The majority of our buyers are coming out of London,” he said.
Young families in their 30s are taking the opportunity to move out of London to get better value for money, more space and good schools, with an increase in momentum that was 14% higher in 2017 compared with the previous year and 55% higher than in 2012. New eateries and bars are popping up in the newly popular locations to take advantage of the increase in population and wealth of the areas.
However there remain plenty of opportunities for new developments in areas along the route that are still massively underdeveloped, such as West Drayton and Hayes, and interest in buying a home along the Crossrail route will not end with the opening of the line.
The benefits of locating offices near a station on the Elizabeth line have also been realised, as rents for office space have been experiencing far stronger rental growth than neighbouring areas since 2010. For example, in Farringdon rental prices for prime offices have jumped 133% over the last seven years, leaping from £27 per sq ft to £65.21 per sq ft, and in Whitechapel rents have climbed 96%, rising from £28 to £54.95, while the City of London average has increased by 48% over the same period.
Savills has recently secured one of the highest ever rents for a low-rise office space in the Square Mile, pre-letting 55,000 sq ft in One Bartholomew to a digital advertising company in Farringdon, at £80 per sq ft which is higher than the City’s prime rental average of £78.43
Savills director Josh Lamb sees more opportunities from office space around the Elizabeth line stations.
“There is still much more demand to come around these areas, as business and bosses start to see the professional benefit of being near a Crossrail site.”
The Elizabeth line will redefine transport in London with quicker, easier and more accessible journeys. Connecting Berkshire and Heathrow in the west with southeast London and Essex in the east with over 60 miles of track and incorporating 41 new and existing stations, it will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% and bring an extra 1.5m people to within 45 minutes of central London. Over 360,000 new jobs are predicted by 2021, boosting the UK economy by £42 billion.