• by Kevin Murphy

London: Communities and Transport

Getting around London on the tube, bicycle and driving can be a frustrating experience for workers and residents on a daily basis but a report released by the National Rail Passenger Survey has found the best locations for commuters and rail service. Homes and Property newsletter reports in the survey that 92% rated Chiltern Railways for Marylebone commuters as 'good' or 'satisfactory'. Service by Chiltern has two main branches including Aylesbury, Birmingham and the outer suburbs within an hour of London including a number of upscale neighbourhood.

The study reviews all aspects of the rail journey from comfort to reliability and punctuality. The data showed 46% of the passengers were content with the cost of the train ride. For London and the South-East 44% of passengers were content with the cost rail fares.

Other locations for fast commutes near Chiltern Hills include Amersham, Gerrards Cross, Beaconsfield and Princes Risborough.

The report says however:

'Research by Savills shows home buyers looking in Gerrards Cross or Beaconsfield will need a seven-figure budget.'

For Amersham a three-room cottage near the high street has prices at £600,000 to £650,000 with larger detached homes with four-bedrooms fetching £800,000 to £1 million.

If a buyer does not mind the commute the markets of Aylesbury at 69 minutes, Leamington Spa at 69 minutes and Bicester with an average commute of 52 minutes might be more appealing.

For these locations the average prices of homes are £298,000 for Bicester, Aylesbury with average home prices of £262,000 and Leamington Spa at £347,000.

Growth for these locations not surprisingly have been 32% for Bicester, Aylesbury at 43% and 44% for Leamington Spa according to Savills.

But can living near a tube station bring better price growth for a home?

Research released in September by CBRE states that property by Tube stations can have the highest price growth. Homes within a distance of 500 metres of a Tube station, or a five to seven minute walk in Zone 2 have found home increases by 2.1%. CBRE reports that over a 20 year period beginning in 1998 home prices near Tube stations increased on average by 10.9% per year at 2.1% above the local authority average of 8.8%.

The borough with the largest increase was at 3.1% for the Jubilee Line and the Docklands Rail where expansion of commercial and residential regeneration for Stratford, Canary Wharf and Canning Town has been ongoing.

District line Tube stations saw the lowest growth for homes near its stations even though the prices near the District Line were outpacing the wider market by 1.2% at an average borough rate of 8.6%.

CBRE reported that for locations near National Rail and Tfl stations in London had an increase of average yearly prices at 1.7%.

Jennet Siebrits, head of residential research at CBRE tells Property Investor Today:

“From its humble beginnings in 1863 when the Metropolitan Line opened its 3.7 mile stretch of track, connecting 7 stations from Paddington to Farringdon and carrying 9.5 million passengers a year, the London Underground has grown into the most important mode of transport for London's commuters. It now carries over 5 million passengers a day on 12 lines, with 300 stations and over 270 miles of track,”

“'Mind the Gap' is a familiar safety warning for London underground passengers. But for house buyers and investors, it's the gap between the price growth of properties near Tube stations and the wider area that's caught our attention.”

Nationwide is reporting that properties close to transport hubs achieved a £42,000 premium.

“But both owner-occupiers and landlords are interested in how this investment is likely to perform over time."

“The good news is CBRE research shows that the investment pays off, and over time price growth of properties near Tube stations outperforms other homes in the wider area by 2.1% per annum.”For buyers, she said, it’s good to know that paying a premium for transport convenience now is an investment that will appreciate greater value in the long-term. Likewise, for investors looking for properties that will provide good rental returns and attract tenants, they have the added assurance that properties are likely to outperform against the wider market."

“The Tube lines with some of the best house price growth are in areas where there has been infrastructure investment and wider regeneration, which also has a positive impact on price."

“For instance, the extension of the Jubilee Line to Canada Water, Canary Wharf and Stratford in zones 2/3 has coincided with widespread regeneration. Prices of homes near Jubilee line stations grew by 3.1% more than the local authority average, and they are among the most desirable places to live.”

Jennet Siebrits says the locations to watch as new infrastructure and regeneration investments continue:

“Areas to watch include near the new Northern line stations and the proposed Bakerloo line extension, as well as the much-anticipated Crossrail.”

As for congestion charges starting in 2004 and the low-emission zone in April 2019 with hopes of commuters putting more emphasis on riding public transport Property Investor Today reports:

'CBRE research finds that, since the introduction of the congestion charge, the gap between price growth of properties near a Tube compared with the wider area has risen, from an annual average uplift of 1.9% (between 1998-2009) to 2.7% annually after 2009.'

“The congestion charge has influenced London commuter behaviour, and it is one of a whole range of trends we're seeing here and in cities around the world,” Siebrits concluded. “Switching to public transport or cycling is also driven by the desire to live in greener, cleaner cities with better air quality. Wanting to live close to a Tube station is also a consequence of the rise in flexible working patterns, including working from home and travelling to central London for meetings, or working from flex spaces in different locations.”

New home developments near to Tube stations include Grand Union in Brent, London Dock in Wapping, Brunel Street Works near Canning Town and White City Living.

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