Properties in an around Bristol set for price boost from rail improvements

The £700 million modernisation of the London to Cardiff rail line is set to boost property values in the Bristol area by up to 10%, according to consultants Knight Frank.

The electrification of the line will result in a 20 minute reduction in journey times between the capital and Bristol and will increase desirability and substantially widen the property search area for prospective purchasers looking to move to Bristol and commute to London, the firm says.

Between now and 2017, increased demand could boost property values by between 5% and 10% in some locations over and above general market trends as the journey time reduced to around an hour and 20 minutes.

In March 2011 the Government announced that £700 million would be spent on the electrification of the Great Western Main Line between London and Cardiff, via Bristol. According to the Department for Transport, the average journey from Bristol to London Paddington will be reduced by around 20 minutes, from an hour and 40 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes. The scheme will start in 2014 and is due for completion by 2017.

Potential buyers looking to move to the Bristol area and commute to London, or indeed vice versa, often exclude property searches outside the city to limit the time they spend travelling to and from work each day. The rail improvements are likely to increase demand for property in the Bristol area and substantially increase the size of the property search area for those commuting to London.

Based on the assumption that those living in the Bristol area will be willing to travel for up to two hours each way, including getting from their home to Bristol Temple Meads rail station, improvements will open up a much larger search area for those commuters willing to drive for up to 40 minutes at the start of their journey to get to the rail station.
Areas in this extended search zone include Clifton, Sneyd Park, Leigh Woods, Redland, Bedminster, Southville, Failand, Wraxall and Wrington Vale.

‘Bristol doesn’t attract as many buyers looking to commute to London as Bath does, but the shorter journey times from 2017 will change this. If you compare property prices in Bristol with those in London, the appeal of moving here becomes clear,’ said James Toogood, head of Knight Frank’s Bristol office.

‘A good example is a property currently on the market on Clare Road in Cotham. It is ideal for professional couples looking to start a family and move out of London and is on the market for £625,000. A similar house in London’s Earlsfield or Balham would cost closer to £1 million,’ he explained.

‘Similarly, if we compare the cost of buying in the Home Counties around London with that in the Bristol area, it is clear just how much more you get for your money in Bristol. For just an extra half an hour or so on the train once the rail improvements take effect in 2017, the average price per square foot in the prime Bristol area is just £309 compared to an average of £450 per square foot in the prime Home Counties,’ he added.

He believes that the more affluent areas of Bristol including Clifton, Sneyd Park, Leigh Woods and Redland will certainly prosper from those who require access to London. And while the already popular villages around Bristol are likely to become even more desirable for affluent commuters, the areas closer to the rail station such as Bedminster and Southville may become more appealing to renters and investors.

‘It should be noted that the rail improvements could also increase demand from those who work in Bristol but want to live primarily in London and commute. This could generate demand for pied a terre properties in Bristol,’ said Toogood.