Crossrail – Maidenhead and Reading
In this blog we look at the case for investing in properties in Crossrail – Maidenhead and Reading.
From 2018 a new 75 mile high-speed Crossrail route will open travelling through London and connecting Reading in the west to Shenfield in the east. The route will take in 40 stations (10 new ones) and provide the first ever direct connection between all of London’s main employment centres and Heathrow airport.
During peak periods up to 24 trains an hour will run and journey times into the capital will be slashed as over 1.5 million more people will be placed within a 45-minute commute of the key business districts in and around London.
As investing in property on Crossrail has been going on for some time prices in many of the prime locations on the route have increased significantly and bargains have become heard to find.
Maidenhead and Reading at the western end of the route still offer some opportunity for value however. Maidenhead was initially the planned western terminus of Crossrail 1 but following extensive lobbying and a strong local campaign the decision was taken in 2014 that the western terminus would move to Reading.
Maidenhead which first had a station on the original Great Western Railway in 1840 is seeing the current station undergoing significant modifications which will complete later this year. The main changes include a redeveloped main ticket office, improved ticket hall layout, new platform canopies, a new lift to platform 1, platform extensions, new signage, help points, customer information screens and CCTV.
When Crossrail fully opens in 2019, four services an hour in each direction will serve Maidenhead station, allowing passengers to travel right through central London without having to change trains. Journey times will significantly reduce with the Paddington run time coming down from 45 to 37 minutes, the Tottenham Court Road trip from 62 to 43 minutes and the time to Canary Wharf reducing from 76 to 55 minutes.
As well as Crossrail Maidenhead enjoys close proximity to the M4 and M40 motorways for journeying by road to London, the West and the Midlands.
As well as being attractively located on the banks of the River Thames Maidenhead is surrounded by 1,000 acres of National Trust Land and 4,800 acres owned by the Crown Estate. It is also on the outskirts of the beautiful Chilton Hills and adjacent to the bustling town of Windsor, home to Windsor Castle and steeped in the history of England. Also on the doorstep are Ascot Racecourse, Henley and LEGOLAND for the young at heart. Apart from Eton College which is just up the road the area is exceptionally well placed for first class schooling – both private and state.
The town and surrounding villages have numerous good quality pubs and restaurants and there are also a range of golf clubs and sporting facilities on offer.
What Home Buyers Think of Maidenhead
These are the results of a Zoopla survey of how their customers currently rate Maidenhead (out of 5)
Overall rating 4;
Community & safety 4;
Entertainment & nightlife 3;
Parks & recreation 3½;
Restaurants & shopping 4;
Schools & public services 4 and
Transport & travel 4.
House Prices in Maidenhead
Prices for three bed houses start at around £315,000 but the average price is much higher at around £590,000. Likewise although there are four bed houses available from mid £300,000 the average is about £675,000. Two bed houses and flats range £250,000 to £725,000 with an average price of around £360,000 and one beds average around £250,000.
The Rental Market
The ‘norm’ for 1 bedroom properties is between £750 and £1100 with around £900 per month being the average.
Monthly rents for 2 bedroom properties tend to start at around £850 and can rise to over £1500 with the average rental value around the £1200 mark.
Impact of Crossrail on the Maidenhead Property Market
Prices have already risen significantly in the Maidenhead area and an element of “Crossrail premium pricing” has undoubtedly been factored in. However recent forecasts suggest that house prices could rise by a further 20% in this area of Berkshire and as the Crossrail link gets nearer and publicity increases it would be no surprise to see prices and rents increasing even further.
Another factor of Crossrail is the impact on house prices in the surrounding area – Marlow and Bourne End for example have their own rail link to Maidenhead (24 minutes from Marlow and 11 minutes from Bourne End) whilst Bracknell, Ascot and Windsor are all within a 15 minute drive. It is easy to see that the “Crossrail impact” could also extend to these localities.
The proximity of Maidenhead to the busy financial, business and commercial centres of Reading should also not be overlooked – once Crossrail is up and running the journey time to Reading will be just 11 minutes.
Reading, 40 miles west of central London, close to junctions 10 and 11 of the M4, is already well connected to London. Fast trains to Paddington take less than half an hour (an annual season ticket costs around £4,000) but Crossrail will significantly reduce the onward journey times from Paddington to both central London and the financial centres in the Docklands area. It will also provide Reading with a direct rail link to Heathrow airport.
Reading also has high speed rail links to Swindon, Bristol, South Wales, Devon and Cornwall and cross country routes to Oxford, Birmingham and the North West.
Its proximity to the M4, A34, A33 and M40 allows excellent road access to the south, west, midlands and of course London.
Reading is much more than a commuting town – it is a vibrant commercial hub fully justifying its title of capital of the Thames Valley.
Large corporations have based themselves there including Prudential, Oracle, BG Group, Microsoft, Regus, Websense and it is a centre for many other IT, high tech and financial services companies with others set to join.
Shopping in the town centre is superb with John Lewis, House of Fraser, Debenhams all operating flagship stores in and next to the Oracle Shopping centre set around the Kennett and Avon canal. There are numerous bars, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and an excellent concert venue that attracts the top stars.
The town makes the most of its Thames side setting with plenty of parks, gardens and riverside spaces and good walks and footpaths available either side of the river and canal and within the town itself.
Reading is blessed with a wide selection of high class schooling including two notable grammar schools in Kendrick for girls and The Reading School for boys, plus other top class schools including Prospect, Reading Girls’, Wren, and Abbey.
It also is also home to a highly regarded university.
Suburbs and surrounds
The town’s main suburbs — Woodley, Earley, Whitley, Tilehurst and Caversham have a wide variety of housing at varying prices. There is a good bus service operating in the area plus several park and ride schemes. Getting into and through Reading by car can be problematic during busy periods. There are period houses and cottages in the surrounding Thames side villages including Sonning (now the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Clooney), Pangbourne, Streatley and Goring.
Average prices for residential property in Reading
According to Zoopla average prices are as follows (but like anywhere there are significant variations from area to area)
One-bedroom flat: £172,000 Two-bedroom flat: £230,000 Two-bedroom house: £292,000 Three-bedroom house: £367,000 Four-bedroom house: £646,000 Source: www.zoopla.co.uk
The rental market in Reading has an active rental market with many tenants coming from the numerous IT, telecoms and financial services employers.
Other professionals take advantage of the fine transport links which will improve still further when Crossrail starts in 2019.
Many parents have kept the homes they bought while their children were at university as rental investments.
Buy-to-let investors are currently achieving a rental yield of between four and six per cent.
Average rents for houses and flats in Reading According to Zoopla average rents are as follows (but again the amount of rent is influenced by the age, state and location of the property).
One-bedroom flat: £834 a month Two-bedroom flat: £1,164 a month Two-bedroom house: £1,077 a month Three-bedroom house: £1,175 a month Four-bedroom house: £1,483 a month Source: www.zoopla.co.uk Town Centre and Station Area Following the re-design and transformation of Reading’s station there were big regeneration plans for the immediately surrounding area.
Work has now started on the long-anticipated Station Hill development right opposite the station which will provide the largest mixed used development in the Thames Valley. The site covers three-and-a half acres and will include 930,000sq feet of office space in five tower blocks, 150,000sq feet of shops and restaurants and 300 flats. Other new property developments are currently progressing in the town centre close to the railway station or overlooking the canal.
Many are already fully reserved including a Bewley Homes development on Bath Road of 74 flats and houses and Garrard House on Station Road another office-to-residential development of 83 1 and 2 bedroom flats by Titan Property Developments.
Reading has a number of plus points as a place to invest in property. A strong infrastructure, significant redevelopment projects underway, excellent road and rail links, a station on the new Crossrail link, a buoyant local economy, many existing high tech and financial sector employers with more to come plus excellent schools and a vibrant university.
Property prices look like they still have some way to go whilst the rental market also looks set to rise as more businesses are attracted to the town and more commuters look to take advantage of the quicker journey times to central London and areas such as Canary Wharf.
For more information or to speak to Tom or Chris, contact us.