Has Crossrail had an impact already?
Definitely! It’s had a huge impact. The station in West Ealing has transformed completely – it used to be a small station that you’d walk past without really noticing but now it’s an amazing new building. The shops have changed too, so it’s really given the whole area a facelift. Hanwell station looks a lot better now and has a lift, so it’s much busier there. Although the Paddington to Heathrow part of the line existed already, trains were less frequent and lots of people weren’t aware of it. People didn’t think of jumping on the train to Ealing Broadway and changing, and they didn’t realise how quick it was to get to Paddington. Plus you can get to Heathrow in no time, even Terminal 5 now.
So what does this mean for property prices locally?
Prices have gone up, certainly. We saw that a year or two ago. Going back three or four years ago we started promoting Crossrail as a draw and we were getting people wanting to take advantage of being there first. So there was a huge increase in prices then, and that has continued. Now that it’s up and running we’re seeing it affect rental values, which we hadn’t before. In Hanwell itself there’s a lot of new development and new shops. I’ve lived there 20 years and it’s changed so much – so prices are on the rise there too. The new station at Acton Mainline is having a similar effect of putting the area on the map. We’ve been waiting and waiting for so long for this.
Who lives in the areas and how are they changing?
Acton and Ealing attract a lot of families because of the schools and parks. We see people in their late 30s moving to the area – it’s very much a second stage place, where people often move from Hammersmith and Chisick. We’re expecting more people to move from central London now that the transport connections have improved. West Ealing and Hanwell still have some way to go but they are beginning to look a lot better and have definitely been put on the map thanks to the Elizabeth Line. Just a few yars ago nobody would look in Hanwell. Similarly, when I started in the industry there used to be a snobbery attached to Acton – we’d prepare a property’s details with the street name and postcode without using the word Acton! It was pure snobbery. But transport wasn’t nearly as good then, and now we have lots of people wanting to be in Acton.
What are your predictions for the coming months?
In September or October the Elizabeth Line will go straight through and you won’t have to change at Paddington, so we’re expecting a lot of interest in rentals then. But now for summer, sales will quieten down and then pick up in September for a flurry before Christmas. People are quite cautious at the moment. Two months ago there was a family homes were selling immediately but now prices are softening because of interest rates. But we are seeing stock coming on and family homes are still selling very well.