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Will Crossrail drive up London house prices?

Elizabeth Line will halve commute to south London

Will Crossrail drive up London house prices?

Southbound services on London’s new Elizabeth line were due to open at the end of this year, but have now been delayed until Autumn 2019. Despite this, will the shorter commutes it delivers boost local house prices – or have properties already benefitted?

The multi-billion pound project, known as Crossrail, will provide a 73-mile east-west express service between Reading in the west, and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Given services are due to commence to Abbey Wood and Woolwich, Which? takes a closer look at how house prices might be affected in these areas, or whether the growth spurt has already been and gone.


Where is Crossrail running?

The latest phase of the Crossrail project will now open in Autumn 2019. This section of the Elizabeth Line will connect Abbey Wood, in London’s south-east, with Liverpool Street and Paddington stations, as well as Heathrow Airport.

Currently, the journey from Liverpool Street to Abbey Wood takes around 45 mins via a combination of Underground, DLR or National Rail. When the new route is operational, the same trip will take just 17 minutes on a single train.

Journeys to the airport are also expected to be significantly easier. Abbey Wood to Heathrow currently takes at least an hour and a half, and involves multiple changes. In future, passengers will enjoy a journey of just 50 minutes to the new Heathrow Central station.

Other stations along this line, including Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich, currently benefit from DLR services. But the express Elizabeth Line service is expected to halve journey times – the trip from Woolwich to Liverpool Street is expected to take 17 mins, instead of 33 mins.

Will Crossrail push up prices?

Once completed, the Crossrail project will bring south-lying suburbs Abbey Wood and Woolwich significantly closer to the centre of London. So, are home owners living in the area likely to see a boost to their home value?

A comparable scenario to the Elizabeth Line opening might be the Overground extension between Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays, which opened in December 2012.

Prices in Peckham, where two new stations opened, jumped 69% between April 2011 and today, from £303,155 to £514,463, according to the Land Registry.

During the same period, house prices throughout London were rapidly rising  – the Land Registry reports growth of 64% for the region. This means price increases may not have been entirely driven by the new rail line, but rather a general market upswing.

House prices near the first Crossrail stations

Between April 2011 and April 2018, Abbey Wood grew at almost double the London average. The average home value climbed by 146% according to data from Rightmove. In nearby Woolwich, meanwhile, growth has been impressive at 85% in the past seven years.

The Crossrail project was announced in December 2008, so it’s possible that homeowners in these areas have already been paying a premium in anticipation of improved transport links.

You could also consider how properties within a similar distance of the city compare.

A 17-minute commute to Liverpool Street will make Abbey Wood on par with Wanstead, on the Central underground line. The average price in Wanstead is currently £460,809, almost £80,000 more than in Abbey Wood, Rightmove found – though Wanstead is also three miles closer into the centre.

If you’re tempted to buy in Abbey Wood, or along the new Crossrail line, keep in mind that increased infrastructure can bring negatives as well – if, for example, your new home is right next to the new line, or will suffer from increased commuter traffic.

It’s worth noting that the general London market has now started to slow, with the Land Registry showing prices dropped by 1% in the past twelve months.

Keep in mind that it’s difficult to make any accurate predictions on property values, as house prices are influenced by a range of factors, from macro-trends like the economy and job market, to hyper-local issues such as street appeal.

Are new Crossrail hotpots still affordable?

By London house-price standards, Abbey Wood and Woolwich are some of the more affordable areas of the capital.

In Abbey Wood, the average house price in the SE2 postcode was £379,931 in April 2018, while nearby Woolwich has an average price of £351,149, according to data from Rightmove. By comparison, the average for Greater London as a whole is £747,645.

Looking specifically at flats, the Greater London average price is £650,547, compared to just £216,286 for flats in Abbey Wood.

You can see full information on house prices in the postcode of the planned stations below.

Station Average price Growth since 2011 Current journey time Crossrail journey time
Canary Wharf £487,438 34% 17 mins 6 mins
Custom House £434,836 115% 23 mins 10 mins
Woolwich £351,149 85% 33 mins 14 mins
Abbey Wood £379,931 146% 50 mins 17 mins

Source: Rightmove

Where is the best place to buy?

When you’re planning to buy a property, location is everything – aside from finding a home within your budget that suits your needs, you should consider how the area is changing and how the local property market is moving.

If you’re tossing up between two areas, you can use our tool to compare two local authorities on a wide range of factors.

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