Transport improvements announced in the Autumn Statement will create bargain properties to buy for canny investors. Explore the property hotspots on our interactive map.
Few Britons will be raising a toast to George Osborne this Christmas. With record levels of debt and continuing economic uncertainty, these are grim times for homeowners. Except, that is, for the lucky ones who will benefit from the 35 new transport improvements pledged in the Autumn Statement.
These injections of cash, some starting as soon as the New Year, are set to trigger a spree of buying by canny purchasers. If you act fast, you too could take advantage of current low prices before new roads, rail links and airport plans have an upward effect on the market.
Here is our round-up of the top 10 property hot spots touched by the Chancellor’s transport improvements.
1 Battersea, south-west London
This is one of the most exciting addresses in the capital. Douglas & Gordon says there is already increased interest in existing homes thanks to the proposed Tube station and Northern Line extension that will be part of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment. There will be 3,400 luxury apartments, three million square feet of shops and offices, plus a possible new Chelsea Football Club stadium. Don’t forget the new American Embassy, scheduled to open by 2017, so roads and security should improve considerably, too.
Insider tip: Prince of Wales Drive, a terrace of mansion blocks overlooking Battersea Park, is currently the most sought-after part of this area. Some of the grandest houses have been converted to apartments, but prices have not fallen in the downturn. Across Battersea, expect to pay £800,000 for a good-quality three-bedroom Victorian terraced house.
“If the promised eastern bypass is built, it’ll be extremely good news. We’re already seeing the benefit of a new dual carriageway linking Nottingham and Newark,” says Rupert Fishers of Savills. The city is low cost as it has poor rail links with London. A detached house is typically £179,000, says the Land Registry. But agents estimate values may rise by 5 to 10 per cent, matching those of nearby Boston, when the city is easier to access.
Insider tip: A planning application has been submitted for Lindongate, a scheme “to breathe new life into Lincoln city centre”, according to the Co-Op, the developer behind the project.
It includes a shopping centre, transport interchange and riverside bars. Until then, prices are super-low. A three-bedroom terraced home is £105,000 and a two-bedroom flat £90,000.
3 North Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, North Buckinghamshire
Travel between Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes, plus surrounding areas, will become much easier when the proposed £270m east-west train link goes ahead. Areas to the north of these towns, previously deemed too far from London, will also benefit. Expect places such as Bedford, Buckingham, St Neots and even Newport Pagnell to see price rises of about 5 per cent.
Insider tip: High levels of new house-building in Milton Keynes mean some builders are keen to shift homes before the end of the financial year. Watch out for 2012 bargains. Bedford is especially good value – a typical four-bedroom home costs £230,000.
4 Kent and Essex
The Government is known to be looking at two airport schemes, one on the Isle of Sheppey (nicknamed Boris Island, as it is championed by the Mayor of London) and the other off the Isle of Grain. If either gets the go-ahead, homes very close by could be blighted. But the wider region could see house prices fly high. The Heathrow experience suggests that good country properties not under the flight path but a short drive away carry premiums of 10 per cent or more.
Insider tip: Desirable locations such as Chelmsford, Braintree, Canterbury and Whitstable have lacked top-end prices for being the “wrong side” of London for Heathrow. They may see the biggest rises if a new Isle Airport takes off.
5 Torbay, Devon
“This has consistently been the most underrated and underpriced part of Devon. It’s the next hot spot in the West Country,” insists Andrew Bullivant of estate agency King Sturge. Until now it’s been a pain to get to the beaches and cream teas of Torbay and Paignton, but that will end once the newly funded Kingskerswell bypass is built. Get in quick before the “English Riviera” prices match nearby Devon idylls Salcombe and Dartmouth. Torbay prices are tipped to rise by 5 per cent next year.
Insider tip: Shaldon, on the northern end of Torbay, has beautiful period cottages right by the water. Blingier new-builds are under construction in Torquay. The Land Registry says a typic
6 The Chilterns
The Government’s HS2 high-speed rail link may be modified in a way that will help local housing markets, with a tunnel through the Chilterns tipped to be announced in January. Owners in Great Missenden, Princes Risborough and Wendover have been under threat of long-term noise and damage to the countryside. If the blight is lifted, the recently depressed house prices will rise next year.
Insider tip: Catherine MacAllister of Stacks Property Search, advises: “Look at topography when buying in the area. The distance from the route isn’t the only factor; hills, trees and other buildings affect sight and sound.” A four-bedroom semi here will set you back £1.25m.
“Proposed changes to the M3 as well as infrastructure improvements around Portsmouth are very good news,” says Andrew Rome of Knight Frank. It now looks likely that hard-shoulder running and some new lanes will effectively expand the M3. Hampshire will become a viable commuter alternative to the more expensive Surrey. The county’s most beautiful villages such as Greywell, Odiham, Crondall and Long Sutton may become a little more accessible and prices will rise further.
Insider tip: Another improved approach to Portsmouth, the Hindhead Tunnel, which opened in July, has already pushed up prices by 5 per cent in nearby Grayshott and Haslemere, says Knight Frank. A typical Hampshire detached house is now more than £400,000, says the Land Registry.
The Tyne and Wear Metro service, a clean and efficient under- and overground system, is to get more funding. Heavily reliant on public-sector employment, the city’s housing market could do with a boost. Newcastle prices fell 8 per cent this year, according to the Land Registry, but remain more expensive than Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead.
Insider tip: Buy-to-let landlords could do worse than invest here. Property is cheap and Newcastle University has one of Europe’s largest populations of research students. They want year-round rented accommodation, and overseas students in particular have big budgets. Yields of 7 per cent are possible if you rent Victorian homes to multiple students.
9 Greater Manchester
Salford has seen a 5 per cent price pick-up thanks to the influx of 2,000 BBC staff. More housing market boosts will come next year because the Chancellor is funding improved links to the M56 and A6 at Manchester Airport. This will provide money for a new city bus scheme and a big public-private project for a job-rich distribution centre near the Manchester Ship Canal.
Insider tip: Local estate agents say BBC staff have soaked up mid- and top-end properties, but many low-cost new flats still lie empty in some areas on the edge of the city centre. They are ripe for bargain-hunters. A typical two-bedroom Manchester flat remains a snip at £140,000.
Broadband improvements will make working from home easier, while a “rapid transit link” bus service gets £50m, and £35m is going into roads in the south of the city. “Bristol is already appealing. It is clean, friendly and manageable. Expect demand to rise, with 5 per cent on values next year,” says Viv Chalfont, who runs her own buying agency.
Insider tip: Clifton has long been Bristol’s most sought-after suburb, but nearby Redland is just as attractive with great shops, and prices are about 10 per cent lower. A four-bedroom apartment in Redland will set you back £400,000.
Source: The Telegraph