Why move to... Maidenhead?
PUBLISHED: 15:13 29 November 2013 | UPDATED: 15:14 29 November 2013
With the coming of Crossrail planned for 2018 and town centre development given the green light, it’s no wonder house prices are on the up in the town
Pop: Approx 80,000
Grid reference: SU889811
A recent study by property consultancy GVA reported that house prices along the £16bn Crossrail route from Maidenhead in the west to Abbey Wood, Essex in the east could rise by up to 25 per cent over the next 10 years. The report estimated that the link could add £5.5bn to property values by 2021.
While most estate agents in Maidenhead will tell you that such a figure is rather optimistic (or pessimistic for those seeking to move to the town) there is no doubt that when the route does open for business, in around 2019, it will have a significant impact on the region.
In fact, the new track is already having an effect on the housing market. Charles Elsmore-Wickens, Head of Savills Windsor Sales, says: “Maidenhead as a location is certainly increasing in popularity. This is fuelled by the existing excellent transport links but also the impending arrival of Crossrail, making it attractive to both investors and those looking to move out of London.”
With the new link whisking passengers from the town to Canary Wharf in just 54 minutes and to Bond Street in 40, it’s not hard to see the appeal of Maidenhead for London commuters.
Says Hugo Chapman of Prospect estate agents: “Unless buyers are registered, the moment a property between £250,000-500,000 comes on the market, they won’t get a look in. Properties in that price bracket are flying.”
There are also other factors combining to make Maidenhead a property hotspot. Apart from Crossrail, there is the proposed town centre redevelopment. This summer the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council gave the go ahead for a major new scheme at Chapel Arches. More than 200 new apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés and offices will be built around the York Stream, which will itself be given a new lease of life under ambitious plans by the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group.
Underpinning all this, of course, is the return of confidence to the housing sector. Says Hugo Chapman: “The market is at the strongest it’s been since the peak. Buyer levels are three times higher than they were at the beginning of the year. “
Charles Elsmore-Wickens agrees. He says: “Activity in August was unprecedented for the time of year, especially from prospective purchasers looking for property up to £2 million.”
The impact on the government’s scheme to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder will also have an effect when it’s rolled out to all types of housing in January, and not just new-builds. It seems that at the moment, after years of uncertainty and slow decline, Maidenhead is enjoying a double whammy.
Did you know? At the time of building in 1838, Brunel’s Maidenhead Railway Bridge had the widest and flattest arches in the world