Crossrail 2 an investment opportunity?


14 October 2016

What is Crossrail 2?

Crossrail 2 is a new proposed north-south rail line connecting existing National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire, with trains running through new tunnels beneath central London.

There will be a 30-trains-per-hour service between Wimbledon in the South West and Tottenham Hale and New Southgate in the North East, with additional services running beyond on National Rail lines.

The expectation is that Crossrail 2 will significantly relieve congestion on busy routes into central London and support economic development in and around the capital.

Some key opportunity areas will benefit, such as the Upper Lea Valley, Victoria and King’s Cross.

Crossrail 2 is also planned to create better connections across the South East and the whole country, with a new Euston St Pancras station providing direct access to the new High Speed 2 line, Thameslink and Eurostar services.

The scheme has the potential to transform the way in which long term growth and competitiveness is planned up to 2050 and beyond.

Crossrail 2 will be at the heart of a number of growth strategies in London and the South East.

Crossrail 2 will connect with existing Underground and National Rail stations, providing connections and direct services across the wider South East to destinations around the country.

Crossrail 2 will provide an alternative rail route into London for many suburban rail services and thereby free up capacity on the existing rail network for longer-distance trains.

What area is covered by Crossrail 2?

The proposed route will serve a wide area. Stations in Surrey, Hertfordshire and the Capital will have direct Crossrail 2 services but the benefits will be felt far beyond the route.

Crossrail 2 will benefit towns and cities across the South East such as Cambridge, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Woking and Southampton by freeing up mainline rail routes into Waterloo and Liverpool Street.

Major benefits of Crossrail 2

  • Support the UK economy, by maintaining or increasing London’s productivity and competitiveness, and sustaining its position as a global city
  • Meet the housing and transport needs of a growing population
  • Improve the quality of life and the environment in London, and support the UK’s climate change objectives
  • Develop a project that is safe, feasible and offers value for money.
  • Crossrail 2 will allow up to 10% more people (270,000) to get into central London during the weekday morning peak period.
  • The scheme will also significantly improve public transport connectivity to and from some of the region’s key opportunity areas driving growth and regeneration there
  • Crossrail 2 will significantly relieve crowding and congestion at many key interchanges on the region’s rail network, including several that it doesn’t directly serve.
  • Significant beneficial impacts will be seen at stations including Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Euston and Kings Cross St Pancras plus many national rail and underground lines throughout the northeast / southwest corridor across the region. These include the Southwest mainline railway, and the Victoria and Northern Underground Lines.
  • As mega transport infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2 tend to act as a catalyst for change, helping overcome strategic and local constraints to growth it is expected that Crossrail 2 will provide an unprecedented opportunity to address these challenges in London and the South East.
Benefits of Crossrail 2

Housing growth potential

There will be a potential for new housing development throughout the route.

An area most likely to have the biggest individual impact will be the Upper Lea Valley, with up to 50,000 new homes brought forward through the regeneration of existing town centres, alongside the creation of new communities on re-designated industrial land.

Particularly Haringey, Enfield and Southgate will have higher growth in this part of the Crossrail 2 corridor.

The remainder of the growth potential to the north sits outside of London, principally through intensification of development within town centres and around immediate station areas.

Central London’s growth potential as a result of Crossrail 2 is predominantly focused on employment growth, resulting from overcoming constraints on the transport network. Notwithstanding this, there is the potential for around 10,000 new homes through the intensification of existing uses.

A stronger case may also be made for bringing forward development within major opportunity areas such as Euston, where strong integration between HS2 and Crossrail 2 is likely to enhance development capacity.

In the southern part of the route there is the potential for new housing-led growth within the Royal Borough of Kingston which will see nine Crossrail 2 stations. Significant opportunities for commercial and residential development also exist in Wimbledon town centre, provided that local concerns regarding the disruption during construction can be overcome.

Outside of London in the South although the scale of opportunity may be more limited there are some stations, such as Upper Halliford and Sunbury-on-Thames, which could have potential, while there are opportunities to build on existing growth agendas being promoted by local authorities at other stations such as Woking.

Timescales

Crossrail 2 is expected to be operational by 2033 and although the majority of predicted development is expected to come forward after this date the evidence from Crossrail 1 (the Elizabeth Line) indicates that values and market demand could be realised much earlier.

Around a quarter of the additional 200,000 homes could be delivered ahead of the opening, although the pattern is likely to be uneven across the route. It is most likely to happen in areas where current land values and market demand are lower but where there are well-established planning and policy frameworks to allow quicker delivery of housing and jobs on the back of increasing land values and market demand.

The existing regeneration around Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park, within the Upper Lea Valley Opportunity Area, presents such opportunities.

Crossrail 2 also has the potential to help bring forward and speed up delivery of housing that is already planned (and therefore not included in the assumed figures for Crossrail 2.) This would be caused by increasing land values and market interest driven by the new railway. Again, the opportunities for doing so are likely to be greatest in lower-value areas.

Potential barriers to Crossrail 2

Currently backers of the scheme are seeking to engage in bringing forward early development as part of a long-term vision and co-ordinated planning framework which recognises the future benefits of Crossrail 2 but notwithstanding the potential for early realisation of the benefits of the scheme, policy makers, decision makers and the development industry need to be realistic about what is achievable.

There are a number of potential barriers which will need to be addressed and that will take time and in places require greater intervention from the public sector.

Such intervention will include:

  • policy changes in the London Plan;
  • dealing with multiple land ownership;
  • the reconfiguration of employment land to safeguard employment;
  • remediation of industrial land;
  • addressing the risk of ‘land-banking’ in anticipation of achieving an increased land value in the future and the provision of supporting social and community infrastructure, for which a significant funding gap has already been identified.

It will be necessary to find ways to address these issues in order to realise the wider benefits of Crossrail as early as possible and particularly the significant benefits in expediting the delivery of housing ahead of the scheme opening.

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An opportunity for Investment?

If the experience of property investors along the Crossrail 1 route is followed then the best bargains will be achieved by the early investors.

Of course there is no certainty that the route will go ahead or that significant changes may not occur because of financial constraints so there is risk attached to any property investment made in anticipation of the route proceeding.  However current expectations are that the scheme will need to proceed in some significant form to avoid the transport systems within London and the South East collapsing under the sheer volume of increased traffic.

Alleviation of overcrowding on current routes is likely to be an important factor for many existing centres and may open up as many new opportunities for property investors in the towns and cities affected as occur within the new route itself.  Therefore, there will be a wide spectrum of choice to suit a wide range of investors.

If you would like assistance in exploring the possible opportunities for becoming an early investor in Crossrail 2 then please contact us at https://source.investments/contact/