Jan 4 2012 By James Cracknell
ESTATE agents in Ruislip are desperate to know the government’s verdict on the High Speed Two (HS2) rail line after nearly two years of blight for homeowners.
With a decision on HS2 by Transport Secretary Justine Greening now imminent, the Gazette has spoken to agents about the impact on house prices and buyers’ confidence while the verdict is awaited.
In Ruislip High Street, Haart has struggled to sell homes around the areas most affected – in South Ruislip, Ruislip Gardens and West Ruislip.
Negotiator Richard Famili said the average price for homes directly impacted by the proposed 250mph railway had dropped from £350,000 to £250,000.
“People want to sell but not for what their homes are now worth,” he added.
“A lot of the properties affected are bungalows with older residents and they don’t know whether to stay or go.
“We try to use the fact that it is five years away to reassure them, but people say it is a risk to buy because they don’t want to lose money.
“The moment we first heard about HS2 we had 20 valuations in Herlwyn Avenue alone, next to the HS2 railway corridor, but not one of them came on the market because the value was so much lower.
“The problem for us is we have to value a house on the assumption that HS2 will go ahead.”
Another estate agent, who didn't wish to be named, said his firm had not sold one home in the area affected by HS2 since it was first announced.
“As soon as a buyer finds out about HS2 they pull out,” he told the Gazette. “We had one on the market in Herlwyn Avenue but it had a terrible response.”
His estimate for prices in the areas affected was less severe. “I think if a property is worth £350,000 it could potentially be worth £320,000 if HS2 goes ahead,” he said.
“If the line was tunnelled and there was no extra noise pollution it would be OK.
“You’ve got to remember that there is already a railway there.”