Where to invest to benefit from the UK’s High Speed 2 Rail Project: An investor’s guide

There is no doubt that the High Speed 2 Rail Project (HS2) will revolutionise rail travel across the UK, slashing journey times between the North/Midlands and London. Phase 1 will see journey times between Birmingham and London cut from 1 hour 21 minutes to just 49 minutes. The second phase will see journeys between Manchester and London cut from 2 hours 8 minutes down to 1 hour 8 minutes. As a property investor it is vital to secure your exposure NOW in order to benefit from the short, medium and long-term benefits of HS2.

Timetable for HS2

When the project is finished there will be a high-speed link between London, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. At this moment in time the timetable is as follows:-

• Phase 1, linking London to the West Midlands, should be completed by 2027
• Phase 2a, linking the West Midlands and Crewe, should be completed by 2027
• Phase 2b, linking Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds, is forecast for completion in 2032

Current property prices and investment trends show that the project is already having an impact on property markets in the North West, Manchester in particular, and the West Midlands. The project has started, there are actual boots on the ground, and taking into account all phases of HS2 it will last until 2033. As a consequence, this revolutionary project will be attracting new businesses and involve a huge workforce over the next 14 years.

Financial benefits of HS2

While the project is still some years from completion there is already growing interest in Birmingham and Manchester property. This is before the full effects of HS2 will be felt; benefits which many believe will be a game changer for regional UK property markets. The impact of HS2 will be huge, including:-

• Decentralisation of employment opportunities away from London to Manchester/Birmingham
• The opportunity to commute daily to London from Manchester and Birmingham
• Growing demand for housing along the HS2 route
• 40,000 extra jobs in Manchester
• 13,000 new homes in Manchester

We already know the location of the HS2 terminals, the Piccadilly area of Manchester and Manchester airport. In preparation for the increased traffic flow, increased business investment, additional employment opportunities and a significant increase in demand for property, many new developments are already under construction. One of these developments is Oxygen Towers, a development undertaken by Alliance Investments in central Piccadilly, Manchester.

Oxygen Towers

Once completed, Oxygen Towers will dominate the Manchester skyline, providing luxury housing and attractive investment opportunities. Apartments in Oxygen Towers will start at £238,000 with the project including:-

• 345 stylish apartments
• 12 townhouses
• Tranquil sky gardens with breath-taking views
• A 25m swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna & steam room
• A state of the art gymnasium with changing room facilities
• Secure underground parking with a valet service
• Cinema room & hotel style concierge

The Manchester economy has been strong of late and growth in demand for property in the city is currently running at 15 times the level of new supply. The city has an extremely strong financial industry, luxury retail sector with a growing student population. Oxygen Towers is perfectly situated to benefit from not only natural growth in the area but also the long term financial benefits of HS2.

Forward planning

Even though the HS2 project is firmly underway, having received Royal assent, it is still not too late to benefit from the long-term impact. It is happening and we already know the location of future HS2 terminals which will have a huge impact on city centre Manchester/Birmingham and surrounding areas. The key to investment success is forward planning, choosing the best property developments and securing exposure at the earliest opportunity for the best price.

Manchester currently has a population of 2.7 million people, 25,000 inner city businesses and a strong economy. The benefits of HS2 have the potential to revolutionise the area as a whole with particular focus on Piccadilly and Manchester airport. The opportunity to reserve property in developments such as Oxygen Towers, offering a rental yield of 6%, is something that has already caught the attention of forward looking investors.

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