Birmingham is a fast developing city, supercharged by regeneration and transport improvements (Source: Paradise Birmingham)
Two-thirds of buyers still work in the capital, and transport links are what enable them to live away from London. Larger homes are cheaper to find away from the capital, and, with improvements to the public transport networks, many prefer the larger living space, despite having to take a longer commute to work.
Migration out of London is at its highest ever level. The number of Londoners in their 30s leaving the capital has risen by 27% over the past 5 years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Unsurprisingly, the most popular destinations for these leavers are concentrated around London’s commuter belt.
Savills data shows that 14% of all their new home buyers across the UK were moving from London in the last 3 years, with 39% of them upsizing to a larger property. Between 2015 and 2017, the average new build home bought by a Londoner was 14% larger than a home bought by someone moving from elsewhere.
Two-thirds of buyers still work in the capital, and transport links are what enable them to live away from London. Larger homes are cheaper to find away from the capital, and many prefer the larger living space, despite having to take a longer commute to work.
Transport improvements trigger higher demand
Transport has a key role to play in the delivery of new homes. As people look to move to a new area, a transport hub can fuel residential demand and, consequently, house price growth.
Train stations that have seen the largest increase in passenger use over the last two years are those that have seen larger volumes of new homes delivered. Areas such as these have, on average, seen house price growth that is 5% higher than neighbouring areas over the past five years.
As people continue to move out of London, improvements to infrastructure can provide an opportunity for developers to take advantage of the demand for new homes in commuter locations.
Commuter belt hotspots
Over the past 2 years, stations that saw the largest increase in passenger use were those within a 19- to 39-minute journey from a central London terminal. These are also the markets which have seen the largest increase in secondhand sale prices over the past five years – an average of 44% against the average for England and Wales of 20%.
Some of the highest increases in passenger use were in lower-value locations in the Home Counties such as Ebbsfleet, Apsley and Luton – areas on the cusp of higher-value ones. As affordability in the capital becomes more stretched, we expect these up-and-coming locations to remain popular with London movers, particularly if they are located on new or improving lines such as HS1 or the Midland mainline.
Beyond the commuter belt
Hotspots beyond traditional London commuter locations have already benefited from infrastructure improvements.
The upgrade of Birmingham New Street, for example, has seen a 33% increase in passenger use since 2015, while house prices within 2km of the station have increased by 44% over the past five years.
Ahead of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) at Curzon Street station, there has been significant investment in the regeneration of Birmingham city centre. This has fuelled commercial investment from companies such as Deutsche Bank and HSBC, and has helped to support residential demand and subsequent house price growth.
This is also rippling out into markets surrounding Birmingham. Rugby, Coventry and Long Buckby have all seen an increase in commuters of between 18% and 19% while house prices have increased by 35%, 46% and 67% respectively over the past five years.
New residential developments in the city are attractive to investors as a result. One example is Arden Gate which is located in the prime city central area. These luxury apartments are only a few minutes away from the central New Street train station, close to entertainment, shopping centres, and major businesses, including the HSBC HQ. Currently the developer is offering a 6% rental assurance for the first 12 months. Prices start from £182,950, with up to 70% financing available.
Up in the Northern Powerhouse, Transport for the North (TfN) which became England’s first sub-national transport body in April revealed a £70bn 30-year plan that includes the Northern Powerhouse Rail. Under the plan, new lines and upgraded existing lines will be linked to the HS2, increasing connectivity between the North’s largest cities and enhancing opportunities for both workers and investors alike.
The ripple is taking effect for, as a direct consequence, Manchester’s Piccadilly station and its surrounding areas will be overhauled. This could be the start of a series of more overhauls across the Northern Powerhouse.
The ripple effect of Londoners moving to the commuter belt is expected to gain momentum. Occupiers searching for more space are likely to bring London’s equity with them and will be targeting markets with the quickest links to the capital. These include established prime locations and up-and-coming areas which are more affordable than its surroundings.
This ripple effect will be expected to move beyond London’s commuter zone to markets in the Midlands and the North. House prices there have risen more in line with wages, and therefore remain more affordable. The most capacity for growth will likely be there over the next few years.
The strong local economy and infrastructure investment will remain catalysts for residential demand and house price growth. The £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund will provide funding for improved connectivity in areas such as Greater Manchester, Cambridgeshire, the West Midlands and Liverpool City Region.
What do you think about transport improvements driving house prices? Drop us a comment below. If you’re interested to take advantage of transport improvements in the pipeline, and invest in property in the UK regional cities, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 03-2162 2260, or email us at email@example.com.
Article by Ian Choong