The continued expansion of London’s cycle hire scheme will benefit home sellers living near bike docking stations – and attract potential buyers to living in previously less well-connected areas – according to estate agent Marsh & Parsons.
Santander is to assume sponsorship of the ‘Boris Bike’ programme from April and is committed to further growing and developing the scheme, which already offers Londoners the use of 11,500 bikes across more than 700 docking stations. Transport for London has identified a further 1,000 potential docking stations, to materialise by early 2016.
In much the same way that proximity to a tube station has long increased the attractiveness and saleability of properties in the capital – as well as the actual cash value – Marsh & Parsons has reported a rise in buyers enquiring about local bike docking points and expects this interest to continue to increase as the scheme achieves greater prominence.
Tom Crabtree, Sales Manager for Marsh & Parsons’ Clapham office, said: “South London has long had a core of cycling commuters, with Cycle Superhighways 7 and 8 making for easy access to the City and Westminster respectively. To date, this trend has primarily been people using their own bikes, so secure storage has long been a high priority for such individuals when house hunting. But with the cycle hire scheme continuing to grow and public awareness of the programme improving, proximity to a bike docking station is starting to feature on the wish-lists of buyers. We’ve just been instructed to sell a property on Surrey Lane in Battersea, just around the corner from a docking station. It’s a great location, close to the park and river, and although there are excellent bus routes, buyers have previously wanted to be closer to the overground network. Now, they’re only a 5-minute cycle ride to Clapham Junction.
“As with the tube network – where the vast majority of stations are north of the river – South London hasn’t been afforded anywhere near the same number of docking stations as the other side of the Thames. But hopefully the expansion plans will restore some of this imbalance and help open up some relatively inaccessible areas south of the river which would benefit residents, aspiring homeowners and potential sellers who would have a more attractive asset on their hands.”
Even before the rebrand, the ‘Boris Bike’ scheme continues to grow in popularity, with more than ten million separate journeys made in 2014 according to Transport for London; a 25% increase from 2013. London’s love affair with cycling as a means of commuting is also confirmed by the ONS who reported that the number of residents in the capital cycling to work had more than doubled from 2001 to 2011.
As well as being located at popular tourist attractions and close to other transport hubs such as tube and train stations, bike scheme docking stations are primarily installed on residential streets and Marsh & Parsons’ research found that the most prestigious street in the capital to feature one is Grosvenor Crescent in Belgravia, where the average current property is worth £22,435,017.
Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, added: “London has long had a world-class public transport system and the introduction of the cycle hire scheme five years ago has added to the attraction of areas such as Battersea and Fulham which, despite being £1m cheaper, on average, compared to more prime central parts of London, have enjoyed more than double the annual rate of growth according to our latest data.
“As the cycle hire initiative continues to grow and become more ingrained in the public’s consciousness, it won’t be long before buyers scour property listings for proximity to a bike docking station in the same way they currently do for train stations and local schools. People now regularly use a hired bike to either get to a local station or to complete their entire commute, so those selling a home near a docking point now have another way to help market their property.”
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