Online estate agency Tepilo casts its eye over the proposed Crossrail 2 rail route and asks whether it could help to solve London’s housing crisis.
For some time now there's been a housing supply/demand imbalance in London - leading many commentators to describe the situation as a 'housing crisis' where there are just too few available homes to meet growing demand.
There have been numerous attempts to try and quell rising demand and help buyers on to the property ladder - most notably the Help to Buy London scheme and an increased focus on Shared Ownership initiatives.
However, the fact remains that more homes need to be built in and around the capital if there is progress to be made. One thing that may encourage further housebuilding is improved infrastructure and that's where Crossrail 2 comes in.
Crossrail 2 is a proposed rail route and the next development of the Crossrail project, the first phase of which is set to begin this year.
The impact of Crossrail 1 on local property markets has been well-documented, with many areas recording improved property price growth and increased market activity in the build-up to Crossrail's introduction.
Crossrail 2 is yet to be signed off by the Government. If it is given the green light, construction is expected to commence in the early 2020s and go on for approximately 10 years.
If approved, Crossrail 2 will link South West and North East London, serving destinations across Surrey and Hertfordshire. Transport for London says the new line would also benefit locations such as Cambridge, Portsmouth, Woking and Southampton.
Meanwhile, Upper Lea Valley, Euston, St Pancras and Victoria are four areas which it is believed will benefit most from Crossrail 2, due to alleviated pressure on key routes into Central London.
Supporters of the Crossrail 2 proposal believe it will be vital in the process of unlocking new, quality homes in the capital. It has been argued that an approved proposal will give housebuilders the certainty they need to accelerate the development of up to 200,000 new homes - something which will help to address the housing shortage.
On top of this, it's estimated that up to 30% of the new homes will in fact be delivered outside of London.
Angel Road station in the Upper Lea Valley is a key example of how Crossrail could transform certain areas. It is currently London's least-used station, offering no services into Liverpool Street between the hours of 10am and 3.30pm. The implementation of Crossrail 2 would mean the station would benefit from up to 12 trains per hour, making it much more appealing to developers.
And now a number of leading figures from the property and homebuilding industries - as well as a number of housing associations - have urged the Government to give its backing to Crossrail.
The group is made up of 66 property and homebuilding figures and all of the g15, London's largest housing associations. They have written to the Chancellor, Communities Secretary and Transport Secretary to explain why they feel Crossrail 2 is vital in the fight to solve London's 'housing crisis'.
The signatories have urged the Government to give the scheme the green light 'without delay', so they can 'seize the opportunities to develop housing in areas opened up by improved transport capacity'.
This latest initiative follows an economic case for Crossrail 2 recently outlined by senior business figures and coincides with the publishing of a report by the Westminster Property Association which explains how private sector investment could be maximised to help recoup some of the costs associated with the project.
Here’s a roundup of what some of the key property and housebuilding figures have said about Crossrail 2:
Tony Pidgley CBE, Chairman, Berkeley Group
“Crossrail 2 is a fantastic opportunity to improve London and the South East's infrastructure, and will help us build the homes this region desperately needs.”
“Crossrail 2 is the only scheme that can make a significant difference to the South East's housing stock and the Government must not delay.”
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation
“Crossrail 2 will stimulate regeneration up and down its route from the Solent to the Wash, opening sites for new housing and employment.
A swift decision from Government on Crossrail 2 would provide a vote of confidence for our industry.”
Craig McWilliam, Chief Executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
“The case for Crossrail 2 is strong, the benefits are national and the opportunity should be taken.”
“With it, private-sector investment would follow, delivering new homes, new jobs and the best public spaces.”
As we can see, there is widespread support for Crossrail 2 and a genuine belief that the improved transport system can help encourage investment and development, resulting in more new homes for the capital and the surrounding areas.
While we await the introduction of Crossrail 1 over the next few years, many interested parties will have one eye on Crossrail 2 and the Government’s intentions. It’s likely this is not the last lobbying and encouragement we’ll see from the housing market regarding Crossrail 2.