London has enjoyed significant investment in major projects over the past few years with projects such as the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), the Northern Line extension to Battersea Power Station, Extensions to the London Overground - including at Barking Riverside, and the Silvertown Road Tunnel providing more opportunities to travel around the Capital.
But what has the impact of these projects been on the housing market surrounding them?
Ealing has seen some significant infrastructure shifts, picking up four tube stations on the Elizabeth Line – three of them new stations in areas that were previously not served by the Underground.
Looking at key metrics of house price inflation, shift in median age, population change, and housing delivery, Ealing is comparable with its immediate neighbours of Hounslow and Brent. This shows that the impact of the Elizabeth Line has not yet had a significant impact on Ealing’s economy or demography that has not also been experienced by comparable boroughs in West London.
South East London
In South East London, the Royal Borough of Greenwich picked up two new stations on the Elizabeth Line, at Abbey Wood and Woolwich.
With the same metrics used above, we can see that, once again, the impact of these new stations has been negligible when compared to the neighbouring boroughs.
In East London, the Elizabeth Line cuts through the boroughs of Newham, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, and Havering. As such, making a comparison between affected and unaffected boroughs is more challenging.
However, we can compare Newham (four new stations) and Redbridge (two new stations, plus Chadwell Heath - located in Barking and Dagenham - is just over the borough boundary), with Hackney and Tower Hamlets which are not affected directly.
From this comparison, we can see that the affected boroughs have been over delivering housing and that house price inflation in these areas is favorably comparable to Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
Most notably, however, we can see that, although the population in these boroughs is not projected to increase as significantly, an increase in median age is projected.
Who is benefitting the most from infrastructure improvements?
The data indicates that the socio-economic benefits of infrastructure projects are felt most significantly in areas that have been historically deprived.
The benefits of new infrastructure on areas that are already more affluent are harder to pinpoint, as demonstrated by the analysis of Ealing when compared to its surrounding West London boroughs.
Of course, not all infrastructure projects are well received. Also affecting East London; the Silvertown Tunnel project will cost over £1.2 billion and is being delivered in the face of significant local opposition. As Lewis Munford wrote in the New Yorker all the way back in 1955, “building more roads to relieve congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to relieve obesity”.
Once the tunnel opens in 2025 it will be interesting to revisit some of these stats to see if investment in road projects has a similar impact to the investment in rail.
The impact of infrastructure investment on developers
As we’ve seen above, the impact of new or improved infrastructure can vary across areas. But as a developer, these projects are still important to keep on top of as they do have the potential to drive up demand.
With LandInsight you can access financial comparables that will show you how your site compares to others in the area – and help you make the viability of your developments stack up. Plus, check whether or not they’re near a new train station.
Other content you might be interested in:
- Has grid capacity stopped construction in West London?
- Is development momentum in London shifting further East?
- What’s causing the variation in South London house prices?