Advertisement

Living on Crossrail: Elizabeth line rents have ‘spiralled out of control’ in year since it opened

"As soon as we put up a property we have 200 calls, 100 emails — people tell us they would pay even more, that they would do anything."

Courtnie Jules-Crompton's life as a negotiator at Stones estate agent in Hayes has been a whirlwind since the first Elizabeth Line trains rolled into the west London district 12 months ago.

Bringing fast connections to the heart of the capital every seven minutes, as well as regular speedy journeys to Heathrow Airport, Crossrail is no longer a disruptive construction project - it is a game-changer.

"People were looking to rent properties before," says Jules-Crompton. "But it's blown up. It feels like there are not enough houses.

"People say 'anywhere on the Elizabeth Line' or they list off suitable locations — Langley, Slough — basically all the stations on the line.

"There is a lot of development going on, buildings going up near the station, but they already have waiting lists. There is just no slowdown."

Kyle Hunsdon, lettings negotiator at the Hayes branch of Barnard Marcus, has a similar story.

"Properties are let within 24 hours," he says. "We have famililes where one person needs to get to Heathrow, another to central London — so it's convenient.

"I just let two properties in Hayes, and on the viewings everyone was more interested in how close they were to the station than in the properties themselves. Some people take a two-bed rather than a three-bed because it's [just] a five-minute walk."

Spiralled out of control

Of course, there is a price to pay for this convenience. Data released by lettings platform Goodlord suggests rents in the Hayes & Harlington Elizabeth Line station postcode have soared by 25 per cent in the year since the rapid link opened.

This represents price growth even above the rocketing rises experienced across the capital as a whole.

And it's not just Hayes that has been affected. Neighbouring West Drayton has experienced a 21 per cent hike in rents, while Forest Gate and Canary Wharf in east London have seen the cost of letting jump by a fifth.

Daniel Fisher, regional lettings director at estate agent Chestertons, says the £19 billion Crossrail project has actually worsened commutes for many Londoners who have been forced to move away from stations.

"Rents have spiralled out of control," he says. "Any properties close to the Elizabeth Line or other decent transport links are becoming ridiculously expensive. Many have gone up 50 per cent since 2019.

"It has fuelled the rental market further, pushed prices up and made the crisis worse. Regular people who could rent in Hayes before can no longer afford it."

Renters are making far greater compromises than Fisher has ever previously encountered.

"We see professionals in their mid-3os in house shares; families taking two-bed properties; and people moving further out."

Elizabeth Line postcodes seeing the steepest rent rises

Station

Average rent in April 2023

Hike since April 2022

Hayes & Harlington

£2,656

25%

West Drayton

£1,677

21%

Canary Wharf

£2,352

20%

Forest Gate

£1,796

20%

Acton Mainline

£1,618

19%

Source: Goodlord

Goodlord analsed data from more than 14,000 tenancies within the postcodes of 13 Elizabeth Line stations in the year to April 2023.

It found that those districts whose connections had been transformed by significantly faster or more frequent services had seen the most dramatic rent increases since the line opened in May 2022.

Goodlord chief executive William Reeve, describes the impact as a 'Lizzy Leap' in rental costs.

"There has clearly been a higher-than-average uplift in costs for rental housing in areas which are now far better connected to Central London thanks to the Elizabeth Line," he adds.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said the Elizabeth line had “transformed travel across London and the South East”.

They added: “The most significant addition to the London transport network in decades, the Elizabeth line is more than just a new railway – it has helped bring people back to public transport and has provided a much-needed economic boost to the whole country.

“Rents across London have increased by 14 per cent in the last year, the highest rate of any region.

“The mayor is doing all he can to support renters in the capital and will continue urging the government to take action to make rents more affordable for Londoners, including by giving him the power to introduce an emergency two-year rent freeze and devolve the power to implement rent controls.”