Controversial. Difficult. Expensive. Three words which are synonymous with the high-speed rail link being built to cut travel times between London and Birmingham to 52 minutes. But is it worth it and how will this affect homeowners along the route and further afield?
Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search says: “People have been living with the threat of HS2 since March '10, and for those with an urgent need to move, either to or from, the areas affected, HS2 represented the blight of the worst kind. Confidence is crucial in the property sector, and this February's statement, at last, allows buyers and sellers to make informed decisions. There will undoubtedly be properties blighted by the effect of HS2; but we will now be dealing with a known quantity. Buyers will be able to make a judgement in terms of lifestyle vs value.
"A lot of the campaigning and outrage against the route between London and Birmingham cast a sense of a looming wasteland, but a more realistic understanding of the impacts in the long term has been established since the idea of the line was first introduced, and this decision will help this further. House prices along the route took a big hit but have now recovered to a realistic market price – you're unlikely to get a bargain now in the Chilterns. Buyers should make an informed choice as to whether the HS2 downsides outweigh the area's positive draws, and plenty are deciding that they do!
“Take the time to inform yourselves about each particular house you are considering – for example, construction impacts are already being felt along the route, so you can get a better feel for the potential disruption."
Emma Barkes of Stacks Property Search says, “Prices of properties away from the proposed route will hold up or even increase, especially those west of the M40 but still in striking distance of a mainline station on the Chiltern line. But there will be bargains to be had on the route itself for those who are prepared to take a long-term view. Blight will be worse during construction work but once the line is up and running and landscaping has taken effect you may find yourselves with a desirable property you would otherwise not have been able to afford.
“Equip yourself with all the information you can, have a good look at all the websites, and inspect the maps in detail. Become an expert.
“Look at each property on its own merits and take a view according to your own circumstances.
“Don't just look at the distance between the proposed route and the house in question – look at the lie of the land as well. Things can look much bleaker on a map than they do in reality, for instance, if a hill lies between the property and the route.
“What does it really mean to live near a high-speed rail link? A trip to Kent to establish the reality may be a sensible plan.”