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Crossrail special: part 3 – what should investors know about the Central section?

Throughout this week, Property Investor Today has been exploring the investment potential of the locations that sit on the controversial and much-delayed Elizabeth Line.

On Monday, we looked at the Western section and on Wednesday, we looked at the Eastern section. Here, we look at the Central section, which includes some of London’s most famous destinations.

Because of their prestige, these locations also typically come at a large cost, and Central London isn’t exactly known for its impressive rental yields because of the high property prices at play.


Many of the places also already had exceptional transport links before Crossrail, so their investment potential may not have risen so much as other parts of the line.

That said, the Central section is home to some lesser-known gems and some of London’s busiest rental markets, which could make them of considerable interest to investors.

West Ealing

A district in the London Borough of Ealing, sandwiched between Hanwell and Ealing Broadway, which has a long history of settlement but has only existed in its present form (heavily residential) for about a century.

The Drayton Court Hotel, a stone’s throw from West Ealing’s Crossrail station, is a great pub and place to stay, while a number of major hotel chains have buildings within touching distance of West Ealing station – which should make it attractive to businesspeople looking for a base on the outskirts of Central London.

Initial buy-in costs are high, with an overall average price of £747,994 over the last year, according to Rightmove.

Most sales in West Ealing during the last year were for terraced properties, selling for an average price of £761,882, but flats are more affordable - selling for an average of £430,262. Semi-detached properties in the area are nearly in the prime sector, fetching £941,097 on average.

Sold prices in West Ealing over the last year were 7% up on the previous year and 4% up on the 2017 peak of £717,433.

Investment potential: 7/10 – good transport links and lots of period housing, but a busy main road and a lack of green space very close by may put some people off. Buy-in costs are also very high.

Ealing Broadway

One of outer London’s main transport hubs, even before Crossrail, Ealing Broadway has had a station upgrade as a result of the incoming Elizabeth Line and will offer some of the best connections in the whole of the capital once it’s complete.

Home to a thriving, buzzing high street – full of shops, restaurants, cafes and amenities – Ealing Broadway also has its own shopping district and plays host to the greenery and Georgian splendour of Walpole Park and Pitshanger Manor.

Living or investing here certainly comes at a cost, though, although it has started to experience the reverse Crossrail effect in recent years, with average house prices down by 20% from the peak of £889,210 in 2018.

Properties around Ealing Broadway Station had an overall average price of £715,167 over the last year – something of a recovery, as this is up 10% on the previous year.

Investment potential: 9/10 – plenty going on, exceptional transport links, local green space, good employment opportunities – plus, due to price falls, more affordable (relatively speaking) than it once was.

Action Main Line

If you’re looking for affordability, investing in and around Acton Main Line station may prove to be a canny move. According to Rightmove, properties around Acton Main Line Station had an overall average price of £527,428 over the last year.

Most sales during the last year were for flats, selling for an average price of £354,479 (about as affordable as it gets in London). Terraced properties are much dearer, selling for an average of £867,990, while semi-detached properties can fetch up to £900,000.

Those with one eye on capital gains will be less pleased by the fact that, over the last year, sold prices around the station have been 23% down on the previous year and 14% down on the 2018 peak of £613,155.

Investment potential: 7/10 – a strong rental market and a decent-sized student population could make this a wise investment, although prices have been tumbling which might lead some to worry about their long-term ROI, if that trend continues.


Famous around the world mostly because of a Peruvian bear who likes marmalade sandwiches, Paddington has long been one of London’s busiest and most crucial transport hubs. It is the capital’s main gateway to the West and South-West of England and is also home to a number of Tube lines.

The area around the station is a little bit seedy and unloved, but you don’t need to go far to find some of London’s finest rows of houses while Little Venice and Paddington Basin are treasures.

It has links to the Regent’s Canal and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union canal (which eventually ends up in Birmingham), while Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are easily walkable and it’s home to St Mary’s Hospital – one of London’s most famous.

Investment potential: 6/10 – transport links and proximity to the West End/Central London are second to none; meanwhile, it has a busy rental market and appeal to international students and tourists alike. However, an average price of over £1 million means you’ll need big pockets to invest here – even if prices have been falling quite a lot since 2017 (down by 26%).

Bond Street

In many ways, this station has come to be seen as the definition of all that has gone wrong with Crossrail – beset by problems, delays and budgetary issues.

This station may still not be ready to fully open when trains finally start running through the middle section of the line, and – along with Canary Wharf – hasn’t yet been handed over to TfL as the finishing touches to the station are made.

It is expected to open at a different time to the rest of the line, although Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild recently said the Crossrail teams are ‘closing the gap’ at the delayed, problem-hit station, which is now said to be three or six months behind rather than 18 months, as before.

The area itself needs no real introduction – right at the heart of one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. This is very much Prime Central London, though, with prices to match. Rightmove says homes around Bond Street Station had an overall average price of £7,946,667 over the last year – this is 27% down on the previous year (largely due to Covid), but an astonishing 106% up on the 2018 peak of £3,854,633.

Investment potential: 3/10 – unrivalled location and amenities, but will be out of the reach for the vast majority of investors.

Tottenham Court Road

One of the flagship stations on the new line, it received a major facelift as a result of Crossrail and is now one of London’s most stylish transport hubs.

Straddling the West End and Central London, it offers easy access to Oxford Street, Soho and London’s theatreland, as well as having its own art deco theatre – the Dominion - just opposite the station’s exit, currently showing The Prince of Egypt.

As expected of a location slap bang in the middle of the capital, homes here don’t come cheap, with the average price currently standing above £1.5 million. While this is 11% up on the previous year, it’s a sizeable 24% down on the 2014 peak of just over £2 million.

Investment potential: 4/10 – again, the prices at play are likely to prove impossible or a deterrent for most, but fantastic transport links and an enviable location will make it appeal to the wealthiest of investors.


Known principally for being a transport hub and a gateway to the City of London – one that has existed since 1863 – it’s nonetheless home to two museums, the Piano Works (a live music venue as well as a bar/restaurant housed in a former warehouse), Bounce and a range of restaurants and bars.

Leather Lane market – one of London’s finest foodie lunchtime venues – and the historic Smithfield Market are both on the doorstep.

More affordable than its near neighbours – Rightmove has properties around Farringdon Station standing at an overall average price of £705,700 over the last year – it has nevertheless been experiencing the reverse Crossrail effect in terms of house prices over recent years, down 28% on last year and 34% down on 2016, when the average price was over a million.

Investment potential: 6/10 – the area has plenty to recommend it and the station offers a great gateway to both the City and the West End, plus it’s more affordable than other Central London locations. Declining house prices may put off those with an eye on capital gains.

Liverpool Street

A major railway terminus, providing most of the links from London to the East of England, the station also has various Underground services and will be more connected than ever when Crossrail begins. Parts of the line are already running from Liverpool Street, but once complete the likes of Canary Wharf, Paddington and Heathrow Airport will be easier to access.

The station has a strategic location, on the doorstep of London’s traditional financial sector, close by to the River Thames and only a short walk away from hipster and tourist favourites such as Shoreditch, Hoxton, Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market.

Not exactly known for its residential offerings, properties around Liverpool Street Station had an overall average price of £899,800 over the last year, 24% up on the previous year and not far off the 2013 peak of £905,836.

Rental properties are likely to appeal to young professionals working in the City or in the Shard across the river, as well as those students and creatives who need easy access to East London’s universities and workplaces.

Investment potential: 5/10 – famed for its transport links more than anything else, Liverpool Street station has a fantastic location and plenty on its doorstep but perhaps not enough for investors to part with (still very high) sums, even if it looks affordable compared to other locations nearby.


Most famous, or should that be infamous, for its links to Jack the Ripper, the area has long been a popular home for the working classes and immigrants because of its greater levels of affordability and its closeness to the London Docklands.

It was the centre of London’s Jewish community in the 19th and early 20th century, and more recently has become home to a significant Bangladeshi community, many of which run restaurants in Brick Lane.

It plays host to Whitechapel Gallery (an extensive exhibition and creative space), the Royal London Hospital and the impressive East London mosque.

Investment potential: 8/10 – full of history, diversity and intrigue, the area has plenty going for it, including much lower average prices than most of London (standing at £590,000, according to Rightmove). The average flat is comfortably below £500,000. Prices haven’t been boosted by Crossrail, down by 19% since 2018 – although Covid hasn’t helped here.

Canary Wharf

One of London’s most successful regeneration projects of the last few decades – transforming a derelict and disused former docks into one of the world’s largest financial centres – Canary Wharf is more affordable than one might expect.

Despite all the glitzy, shiny towers and feeling of wealth everywhere you look, properties in Canary Wharf had an overall average price of £608,663 over the last year – not cheap by any means, but certainly not in the realms of Prime Central London as many might imagine it would be.

Flats are most popular here, selling for an average price of just over £602,000, with terraced properties selling for an average of £670,720, and semi-detached properties fetching £736,375.

Sold prices in Canary Wharf over the last year were similar to the previous year and 9% up on the 2017 peak of £557,366 – in a clear example of the Crossrail effect.

Canary Wharf’s Crossrail station has had some problems – and still hasn’t been handed over to TfL yet – but once complete, it’ll be one of East London’s most connected areas.

Investment potential: 7/10 – the area won’t be for everyone, but it does have particular appeal to young professionals, overseas tenants and city-slickers. Demand is likely to be consistently high and lower buy-in-costs means yields are solid.

Custom House

The second station as the Elizabeth Line branches off towards South East London from Whitechapel, Custom House is perhaps best known at present for its DLR station and connections.

Situated in Canning Town, East London, there has been a Custom House station since 1855, and it takes it name from the old Custom House, which previously stood nearby. Its current official name is Custom House for ExCel, as it helps serve the huge exhibition and convention centre in the Royal Docks area of Newham.

Links to the City of London are already good thanks to the DLR, but will get even better once Crossrail finally starts operating.

Houses are much more affordable here, with an overall average price of £396,607 over the last year, with flats the most popular type, selling for an average price of £392,792. Prices are 15% down on 2018, meaning bargains could be had.

Investment potential: 7/10 – affordable buy-in costs, relatively speaking, and great transport links. However, Canning Town is still in need of an upgrade and tumbling prices in the area may be a cause for concern.


Historically one of London’s most important locations from a naval, military and industrial point of view, parts of the town have been left neglected and unloved for too many years. However, following successive decades of economic decline and social deprivation, the area is now undergoing several regeneration projects to improve its look and reputation.

Situated south of the river, right by the Thames, it’s home to the Woolwich foot tunnel and Royal Arsenal (a tranquil neighbourhood, previously home to one of the UK’s largest munition factors, now home to nice pubs, various historic buildings and a lively street market).

When we asked Twitter user My Woolwich-Upon-Thames what the Elizabeth Line could mean for the area, they said: “Crossrail is hugely important to the community and the regeneration of Woolwich and the wider area. Often overlooked but historically significant, Woolwich will finally be put on the map as a vibrant place to visit and live.”

Investment potential: 7/10 – better transport links and a range of much-needed urban renewal projects are helping to improve this historic area. More affordable buy-in costs (average price of just £375,000) could also help when it comes to yields.  

Abbey Wood

One of the areas receiving far greater prominence thanks to its connections to Crossrail, the previously little-known slice of South East London – which straddles the border of the boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley – will be the last stop on the line branching off from Whitechapel.

Once complete, the line will offer journey times of just 11 minutes to Canary Wharf and 25 minutes to Bond Street – a massive boost to the area.

Already home to Thameslink and Southeastern services, it will be better connected than ever to London once the Elizabeth Line is operational.

Abbey Wood is an area that has definitely seen a price boost thanks to Crossrail, too, with sold prices over the last year 8% up on the previous year and 7% up on the 2017 peak of £346,095.

Investment potential: 8/10 – a place most investors probably wouldn’t have considered before, it is likely to be given one of the biggest boosts by Crossrail and the extra exposure this provides. House prices are relatively affordable and on the rise – good news from a yield and capital gains perspective.


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