Philip James understands how the HS2 line will affect your Didsbury property


The proposed HS2 rail link has caused some worry over its effects on property prices. Here, Philip James’ Rob Kennedy, set the record straight

SINCE 1764, when the village was first described as a township in its own right, Didsbury has had a varied and rich history. The potential arrival of the HS2, expected in 2032, has caused shock in some quarters.

We at Philip James have marketed and sold approximately 40% of the Didsbury property sales in 2016 – rising to 50% of all exclusive homes between £500,000 and £1 million. Because of this, I feel it’s important our clients receive a sensible and informed message on the HS2 issue.

Originally the planned route ran directly under Palatine Road, which meant it mainly affected one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as courtyard town houses.

All our residents received formal notice in the summer of 2013 explaining the potential impact of the HS2 and I decided to meet with many of them to discuss how this might translate
 in to property prices.

“The HS2 line will be 45 metres underground, so disruption to properties should be minimal” Rob Kennedy


The HS2 Reality

The reality
 was that 
the HS2
 on the local 
received by all
 buyers’ solicitors 
who were in proximity 
to the proposed line. A few weeks ago the proposed route was moved closer to the village and now cuts right under the village – through three conservation areas and under some of the most well-known and exclusive roads and avenues in Didsbury. The potential impact on a million-pound property could be proportionately far more than on 
a two-bedroom apartment as it’s a greater financial commitment, with buyers being far more particular about their requirements.

That said, being able to commute directly from Manchester to London in around an hour would swell the ranks of high-net worth individuals buying in the upmarket enclaves 
of Didsbury and West Didsbury – and could potentially be more of a threat to the commutable villages surrounding London.

Surveyors Give Their Say

The official advice given by mortgage surveyors was: “We are aware of the route of the HS2. The market value could potentially be affected because of the proposed route either during or after completion of the scheme.” While this is fantastically non-committal, it does confirm that no mortgage surveyors are down-valuing properties as a direct result of HS2. This is, of course, very reassuring for buyers. While many sellers might think the survey is carried out on behalf of the buyer, it is in fact independent of the buyer and is solely for the mortgage lender.

Many residents have expressed their concern about how close they are to the bored tunnel
and what impact that may have. However, since the line will be roughly 45 metres underground,
 the government has stated that disruption to local properties will be minimal to none.

Available Help

There are a number of compensation schemes available to residents with alarming titles such as Express Purchase, Need to Sell, Homeowner Payment Scheme, however these schemes are more specifically designed for rural areas where the track is above the surface. These simply don’t apply in Didsbury.

Since the route change has been announced I have spoken to a number of residents who have built up substantial equity in their homes and who are relying on the value of their homes to fund their retirement. They are understandably very unsettled about HS2 and the formal correspondence they have received.

The reality is that between the Didsbury and West Didsbury offices, we have 125 on-going sales and no buyers have withdrawn as a result
of HS2. Equally, we have had a 12% increase in registered buyers for the last quarter of 2016 and Rightmove is reporting a 9% increase in visits.

Since the route through Didsbury has been changed once, there’s a chance it could change again. And there is plenty of time for this, as the scheme is not going to be operational until 2032 – that’s if it’s completed on time, which most observers would think highly unlikely.

When the Metrolink was being proposed, surveyors and buyers alike were concerned about buying on, or close to, the line due to the potential noise, vibrations and disruption. Now, close proximity to the Metrolink has no impact on buyers’ desire to purchase. The development of a local tram network, with stations at Didsbury village, Burton Road 
and West Didsbury, has contributed positively to local house price growth over the last few years. Also, there is already an extensive tunnel network criss-crossing through Manchester city centre, which is a non-issue for buyers as it’s already completed.

Philip James Understands The Market

In summary, Didsbury and West Didsbury remain one of the most desirable and sought-after suburbs in the north – with excellent high- street estate agents and sellers who have a clear understanding of the local market. I don’t believe there is any compelling evidence
 to show that HS2 will have either a negative or positive impact on prices.

However, the proposal needs to be considered in the same way buyers would approach other criteria, such as age and period of the house, size of garden, proximity to local primary schools, condition of the interior and proximity to the village.

It’s no wonder online agents in Didsbury, who are responsible for around 1% of local house sales, are in chaos as they haven’t the local knowledge to navigate issues and achieve the best prices.

If you are considering selling or letting in 2017 please contact the Didsbury and West Didsbury teams for expert advice on your next property move on 0161 448 1234

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