Stuart Harris, head of residential sales at the Cambridge office of national property consultancy Carter Jonas, notes new forces in play as the autumn selling season begins
The ripple-effect of the London property market on the housing market in Cambridge and the surrounding area is well-established and much commented upon but as the autumn selling-season gets under way, there are new forces in play on the local housing market.
Characterising it as ‘The Cambridge Effect’ and referencing the city’s attractiveness as a business destination for some of industry’s leading global corporates – such as AstraZeneca and Microsoft – the city’s residential property market creates an effect all of its own on the surrounding area.
While not denying that Cambridge’s connectivity to London is still a feature of the market, particularly in the city centre, many purchasers are attracted to Cambridge for its own sake with the most canny eager to act in the coming months in the light of the summer’s economic data and rising house prices.
More positive economic news in the UK and even in some of the Eurozone countries during the summer portend a sustainable economic recovery and we’ve been seeing property investors coming to the fore now in anticipation of more bricks for their bucks than in the near future.
Good schools and that hard to define concept of ‘quality of life’ have always attracted purchasers to Cambridge – whether to nest or invest.
But now, in addition to the reputation for academic excellence that percolates through to education and cultural life in the city, the presence of big business in new locations in the city is an added driver in the property market.
The £330 million investment by AstraZeneca in its new global R&D centre at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus on the outskirts of the city is an example of just the kind of ‘Cambridge Effect’ which influences the local property market.
How can bringing 2,000 jobs to Cambridge not have an effect on the housing market in the city and its necklace of villages and market towns?
With Phase VI of the Science Park, £40 million expansion plans for Granta Park and the potential for new, high quality commercial space that the plans for Cambridge’s second railway station which could unlock in the northern fringe of the city, the Cambridge Effect serves to reinforce the city’s London connection – both crucial drivers of current and future property prospects here.