Located in the south east of England and one of the largest counties in the country, Essex has a fast-growing population of around 1.85 million people and a burgeoning property market.
In fact, Savills’ recent spotlight research feature on Essex Development identified that “Essex is ideal for buyers from London. It allows the best of both worlds: more space, but easy access to London if buyers need to commute a few days a week.”
The county firmly meets GRE Assets’ investment criteria as it offers great potential to investors. Below, we outline what Essex has to offer as a property investment location, including connectivity, investment and a growing rental and buyer market.
As one of the home counties, Essex is ideally situated with fast transport connections to London and the South East. For instance, it is well-connected by road as it is served by the M11, A12, A13, A127 and A130.
Essex has 89 railway stations and offers short commutes to the capital, with journey times under an hour to Chelmsford, Colchester and Basildon. Rail connectivity is only set to improve with Brentwood and Shenfield among the stations on the new Elizabeth line, which is due to open in 2022 and will provide direct links to Central London.
The county also has digital connectivity aspirations in the form of Superfast Essex, a broadband improvement programme being delivered by Essex County Council. By working with Openreach and Gigaclear, it is striving “to make superfast and ultrafast broadband available to as many homes and businesses across Essex” as possible.
The planned Lower Thames Crossing is a major infrastructure project affecting the county. It will provide more than 14 miles of new roads, divert traffic away from the Dartford Crossing and provide a road tunnel under the River Thames between Chalk and East Tilbury. It is also set to “give a significant employment boost to Kent and Essex, with more than 22,000 people expected to work on the UK’s largest road scheme since the building of the M25.”
Other key projects include proposals for Eastgate Quarter in Basildon, the £50 million investment in Harlow town centre, the £1 billion regeneration scheme at Purfleet-on-Thames, which will deliver new shops and restaurants, up to 2,850 new homes, medical centre, primary school and film and TV studios.
Essex also has a thriving local economy and offers significant employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors including transport, logistics, finance, electronics and pharmaceuticals. This makes it an appealing place to live and work, which in turn leads to an increase in demand for property, both to rent and buy.
Rental and buyer growth
According to a report by Zoopla, the rental market in the UK is moving at the fastest rate since 2016. However, “in the year to date, rental demand is up 19% compared to last year, while the total stock of rental property is down 13%.” A similar narrative is happening in Essex, which is good for investors considering buy-to-let or build-to-rent opportunities within the county as demand is strong, but renters are competing for a limited supply of property.
Meanwhile, Savills has forecast the strong price growth to continue across the East of England, with predicted rises of 5% in 2021 and 4.5% in 2022. This shows the potential for returns on investment for property investors, however, there is a sense of urgency and the time to invest is now, as the rate of growth is expected to taper off to 2.5% growth in 2023 and 2024 and 1.5% in 2025.
GRE Assets has been delivering high quality, well connected homes in the UK and Spain since 2006.Date: 12 October 2021