Urban Update 25 April 2016 - Impact of HS1 on Property Prices - Express Regeneration?

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Impact of HS1 on Property Prices?

Domestic high-speed commuter services on the High Speed 1 line between the Channel Tunnel and London commenced on 13 December 2009.  The towns affected are a real world experiment in the impact of high speed rail.

Two years ago we reported on changes on property prices in towns in the South East.  Below are some updated data, obtained from the Zoopla website.  The towns shown in italics benefit from the HS1 connection, either through the junctions at Ebbsfleet – cutting journey times to London by around 10-20  minutes, or at Ashford where the time saving is an impressive 40 minutes.    The Towns in black print are included for comparison..


 % price increase over past 10 years

Slough, Berkshire


Faversham, Kent


Brighton, East Sussex


Tonbridge, Kent


Crawley, Surrey


Chelmsford, Essex


Hastings, East Sussex


Canterbury, Kent


Ashford Kent 


Dover, Kent


Ramsgate, Kent




Margate, Kent


Folkestone, Kent



The updated figures show that other towns in the South East of England have performed better.  We should be cautious about interpreting the figures:  for example East Kent was hit in 2011 by the closure of the Pfizer research facility, along with Manston Airport in 2014, and has received bad publicity over the poor performance of some of its high streets, such as Margate where shop vacancy rates exceeded 36%.  

The time savings may also be slightly misleading.  For the commute to jobs in the City of London, the HS1 St Pancras terminal is not ideal. A 4 minute walk from Cannon Street Station brings the worker in front of the Bank of England.  A 4 minute walk from the platforms of St Pancras Station brings the worker to Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station with a further 15 minute journey ahead. Regeneration is a very long term process, and it also takes people time to adapt to new opportunities.  Perhaps the regeneration of the Kings Cross area, which is now fully underway, and the continuing expansion of Canary Wharf, will see similar turns in the fortunes of the towns of East Kent.