Rail upgrade will see a rise in Bristol house prices
THE cost of buying a house in parts of Bristol is likely to soar once the main rail line to London is upgraded, according to one property expert.
The £2-billion electrification of the line between the South West and London is expected to be completed by 2017 and will take 20 minutes off the journey time to the capital.
According to James Toogood, from property firm Knight Frank, slashing travelling time to one hour and 20 minutes will encourage more people to commute between the two cities.
As a result, the cost of buying a house in some of Bristol's more well-heeled districts, such as Clifton and Cotham, will soar by up to 20 per cent. Other areas close to Temple Meads station, such as Totterdown and Bedminster, are also likely to benefit from the rise in house prices.
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The improved rail service will see trains leave Bristol for London every 15 minutes during peak periods and there are hopes it will lead to improved and closer business links between the two cities.
The new Enterprise Zone, which is being set up around the station, is also expected to benefit from the new improved rail links.
Even before the service is introduced, property prices are expected to increase between five and ten per cent, at a time when the housing market has struggled to recover from the recession.
According to Mr Toogood, buyers looking to move to the Bristol area and commute to London, or vice-versa, often base their property searches around the amount of time they have to spend travelling.
Knight Frank has based its predictions on the assumption that people are willing to travel for up to two hours each way, including the time spent getting from their home to Bristol Temple Meads station.
The rail improvements are expected to open up a much larger search area if it includes 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.
Mr Toogood said: "Bristol does not 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 immediately becomes a lot clearer.
"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.
"Similarly, if you 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.
"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.
"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 smaller properties or second homes in Bristol and would affect the market for apartments."