HS2 and Its Role in Powering the Northern Powerhouse
HS2 is the biggest expansion of the UK’s rail network since Queen Victoria was on the throne. The project aims to bring cities and regions closer to one another, as well as stimulate economic growth, catalyse investment, and create jobs. Combined with urban regeneration plans across the North West, and industry advancing throughout the region, HS2 promises to be one of the leading driving forces powering Manchester, as well as other midland and northern cities, such as Birmingham and Leeds.
Once all the planning and consultation has taken place, and work finally begins, the first phase of linking London and Birmingham is set for completion in 2026. This will be followed by a section running between Manchester and Birmingham, due to be completed in 2033. Clearly, it’s a long term strategy, but one that will ultimately have a significant effect on the evolution of regional economies as the plan comes to fruition.
As well as reducing travel times, another factor that promises to transform economic performance is that of reduced costs. Given the extortionate rail prices that commuters are currently subjected to, this would be a welcome development. Travel costs aside, cutting journey times will prove massively beneficial to commuters. The Leeds to Birmingham route will slash the two hour journey down to just 57 minutes, and more than halve the time from Manchester to Birmingham, from 88 to 41 minutes.
What evidence is there that these high speed rail links will really have an effect on economic growth?
Well, if you consider the Paris to Lille link, as well as the InterCity 125 network here in the UK, you’ll notice a trend within the connected towns, cities, and regions of a positive bloom in both economy, and general vibrancy.
The HS2 is also expected to increase the UK’s GDP by at least £15bn a year, as a direct result of increased rail connectivity. Productivity gains are also expected in the region of £8bn by 2037.
Of course, what we are most interested in is how HS2 will drive property values in and around Manchester.
It’s fairly obvious that the economy is inexorably linked to the property market. With the growing economy catalysed by the new rail routes, come more businesses to move in, which, in turn, as a positive effect on population growth. Clearly, population growth drives housing demand, both in the rental and ownership sectors.
An exceptional increase in the demand for homes is expected all along the HS2 rail route. Where property prices in London have created a housing crisis that is untenable for many, the HS2 will provide a fast, simple transport route for those seeking to relocate to less unaffordable regions and commute into the capital. Not only this, but the already blossoming opportunities for careers and leisure in Manchester continue to make it an appealing option for those choked by the dismal state of London.
HS2 itself will deliver an extra 400,000 long term jobs all along its route and in surrounding areas. Even before its completion, 22,000 jobs will be created merely by its construction. These opportunities for workers will further supercharge the property market along the route – which, of course, is the key to fantastic property investment opportunities!