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Crossrail special: part 1 – all investors need to know about the Western section

Already nearly three years late and vastly over-budget, Crossrail 1 – which will officially be known as the Elizabeth Line when it’s fully operational – has drawn fierce opposition and been subject to stinging criticism in recent years.

However, from an investor viewpoint, the infrastructure project – one of the biggest ongoing in Europe at present – has boosted house prices and rents in areas with or close to stations on the line over the last five or six years, in what has been popularly labelled the 'Crossrail effect'.

Here, in the first of a three-part series exploring each section of the line, PIT takes a look at the stations that will form Crossrail’s western branch, the prices and rents in these areas and what their investment potential looks like for the future.


This part of the line, from Reading to Paddington, is technically already running under the brand name of TfL Rail, but will become the Elizabeth Line when it’s finally officially launched.

The latest on Crossrail's planned opening can be seen here - with the line expected to start running in the first six months of 2022. Hopes that the £19 billion scheme will finally start running have been boosted by it recently moving into its final phase of testing, following years of problems.


The Berkshire town has its own university, Championship football team and status as a world-class tech hub, home to the likes of Microsoft, but has perhaps been overlooked and ignored compared to its more illustrious neighbours. That is until now, with the town recently being hailed as the South East’s newest hotspot.

According to Rightmove, sold prices in Reading over the last year were 8% up on the previous year and 8% up on their 2018 peak of £360,432 – reinforcing Reading’s reputation as a growing hotspot. It already has excellent links to London in one direction (23 minutes to London Paddington) and the South West in the other, but this comes at a cost.

It’ll be hoped that Crossrail will make the journey into London more affordable, as well as improving train links between Reading and the towns and villages surrounding it, and its links to Heathrow and Central/East London.

Investment potential: 8/10 – an upcoming area that is only likely to increase in popularity thanks to Crossrail.


A large, affluent village in Berkshire, with a population of around 6,600 people, Twyford sits relatively close to the Thames and on the doorstep of some lovely countryside. It has experienced considerable house price growth in recent years, up by 15% on its 2018 peak.

As a smaller location, it naturally has a smaller tenant population, which may cause investors – with its high average prices in mind – to look elsewhere. Links to London Paddington are already good (33 minutes with one change at Slough), but not especially cheap, so it’ll be hoped that the Elizabeth Line will bring cheaper tickets and easier access to other parts of London beyond Paddington.

Investment potential: 5/10 – a smaller rental market and high average prices may put investors off, although those looking for strong capital gains will love it here.


The large and prosperous Berkshire town – which counts former PM Theresa May as its MP – plays host to some lovely walks along the River Thames and the oldest football ground in continued use in the world, having been used by National League side Maidenhead United FC since 1871.

It wouldn’t have been struggling for attention before, but is likely to be put on the map even more by Crossrail. Direct trains to Paddington will take 35 minutes, while Heathrow will be only 23 minutes away. Canary Wharf will also be achievable in under an hour (55 minutes).

Investment potential: 7/10 – a very desirable place to live, but the high initial buy-in costs may prove off-putting. It has a decent-sized rental market, though, and has experienced good price growth, up by 8% in the last year.


Perhaps best known for being mentioned in passing in the iconic BBC2 sitcom The Office, the Buckinghamshire village sits close by to the Thames and only a short distance from Maidenhead on the other side of the river.

It has a mock-medieval church, a long and distinguished history, and counted Terry Wogan and Dusty Springfield as residents. Olympic gold medallist Tom Dean also currently lives there.

Investment potential: 4/10 – not particularly well-known and with a population of only 1,600 or so, the village is quiet and desirable but unlikely to be drawing in high rental yields in the same way that others might.


Best known for the nearby Burnham Beeches woodland, the large Bucks village (population around 11,000) also has a history dating back to before the Domesday Book.

While its name might not be immediately familiar to many, people are likely to find the village and its surrounding areas ring a bell as they have appeared in a number of feature films – in large part due to the village’s closeness to Pinewood Studios.

The River Thames is close by, as is Cliveden House – the National Trust destination made infamous by the Profumo affair in the 1960s.

Investment potential – 5/10 – like Taplow, people may not have heard of it too much before Crossrail became a thing, but it is a larger place than its near neighbour and may draw those looking to rent or buy in a picturesque village which also includes excellent transport links for a place of its size.


Long dismissed and sneered at, with its negative perception not helped by its portrayal in The Office and John Betjeman’s infamous poem “come friendly bombs and fall on Slough…”, Slough has been experiencing something of a revival in recent years thanks to significant investment and a whole host of new developments.

Its transport links to London are second to none already, and only likely to be enhanced by Crossrail, and prices remain much more affordable than the capital, which gives it appeal to those looking to rent or buy in an area which remains close enough to London.

Investment potential: 9/10 – an increasingly popular destination for young professionals, Slough’s lower buy-in costs, growing rental market and strong links to London could make it an investor’s dream – plus it’s doing its best to shake off its drab and shabby image.


The large suburban town has been given a boost by Crossrail, with sold prices up by 11% over the last year and 9% up on the 2017 peak of £422,532.

It’s not cheap here, with properties in Langley having an overall average price of £460,244 over the last year.

The majority of sales during the last year, according to Rightmove, were for semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £506,579. Terraced properties sold for an average of £373,120, with detached properties fetching £709,932.

Investment potential: 6/10 – initial buy-in-prices might prove a deterrent to some investors with an eye on yields, but capital gains over time are likely to be strong given recent price growth.


A large civil parish in Buckinghamshire that has been put on the map to a greater degree than ever before by Crossrail, it is made up of a clustered village as well as the residential neighbourhoods of Iver Heath and Richings Park.

It sits close to the Grand Union’s Slough Arm, providing great walking, running and cycling opportunities. However, prices have been falling in recent years, 9% down on the previous year and 9% down on the 2018 peak of £560,624.

Investment potential: 5/10 – buy-in costs are high and house prices have been falling in recent years, suggesting the Crossrail effect is starting to wear off for Iver.

West Drayton

A suburban town in the London Borough of Hillingdon, and historically an ancient parish in Middlesex, around 14,000 people live here, with much of the housing on offer dating from the mid-20th century.

It plays host to five primary schools – making it popular among families – and has a range of Grade II and II* listed buildings in its conservation area.

Investment potential: 7/10 – family-friendly and with strong existing rail links that are only going to get better with Crossrail, this town could be a canny choice for investors.

Hayes & Harlington

Unloved and run-down, the area is slowly being transformed by major regeneration works, spearheaded by Crossrail.

Its station has a redeveloped entrance and façade, along with a new, bright, spacious ticket hall providing a more welcoming environment for passengers.

Represented by former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell since 1997, nearby Heathrow Airport is the biggest employer, while housing is predominantly made up of mid-rise apartments and semi-detached homes.

Investment potential: 8/10 – major regeneration and improvements have improved the area’s attractiveness, while strong employment opportunities ensure it appeals to tenants and buyers alike.


Often nicknamed Little India (the town is home to the largest Punjabi community outside the Indian subcontinent), the area is a hotbed of South Asian culture and community, with one of the UK’s most diverse and fascinating high streets.

Sitting astride the Grand Union Canal, the town has been undergoing significant regeneration in recent years and has seen the arrival of a range of new schemes and developments.

Already good transport links will only get stronger thanks to Crossrail and should encourage more people to live in and visit Southall.

Sold prices in Southall over the last year were 4% up on the previous year and 9% up on the 2017 peak of £388,783, with most sales being for flats as the town continues to attract a younger audience.

Investment potential: 8/10 – regeneration is giving the town a facelift, and it’s become increasingly appealing to younger buyers, which may tempt investors looking to let out their homes.


A town in the London Borough of Ealing with a long history and a population of around 28,000. Green spaces abound here, while Hanwell Zoo is a very popular local attraction. It also lays claim to London’s oldest annual carnival.

Hanwell has featured in many films and TV shows, perhaps most notably Billy Elliot, Peep Show, Extras, Carry on Teacher and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Average prices, already steep, have increased by 8% over the last year and are 10% up on the 2016 peak of £561,238.

Investment potential: 7/10 – a popular residential town with much to recommend it, but the high initial buy-in prices may put some investors off.


The Elizabeth Line will branch off to Heathrow Terminals 2, 3, 4 & 5 at Hayes & Harlington, making train access to the airport easier than ever. Until now, people have had to take the Piccadilly Line (long and slow) or the expensive Heathrow Express.

The area itself has a residential element, too, but the noise pollution and potential for further runways could put people off investing here, even though employment opportunities are strong and one of the world’s most famous airports is on the doorstep.

Investment potential: 5/10 – easy access to the airport will be a draw to many, but there are downsides to investing so close to somewhere like Heathrow. Plus, due to Covid, the airport is a lot less busy and job opportunities aren’t as solid as they once were.

Poll: Will Crossrail be a boost to property investors?



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