Property sales along the Elizabeth line, formerly known as Crossrail, have dropped by a third in the past year — mainly because fewer homes have been put on the market — following a boom in transactions after construction began, according to estate agent Hamptons International.

Monthly sales of homes within 1km of an Elizabeth line station topped 1,000 five times in 2014 and 2015 but shrank to 603 in December and 569 in January, the most recent month for which data is available, according to Hamptons’ analysis of Land Registry data.

“Fewer owners are in the market to sell, choosing either to stay put and enjoy the new facility themselves, or sit tight and wait for Crossrail to open in two years in the hope that prices may rise further at that point,” said analyst Fionnuala Earley. “While the Crossrail effect should now be fully priced in, this reluctance to sell now could itself push up prices.”

Prices along the route outperformed the wider London market by 3 per cent in the past year, Hamptons said. Separate research by JLL last month predicted that homes close to Elizabeth line stations would gain an extra 7 per cent in value by 2020 compared with broader London trends.

The Elizabeth Line will open in stages, stretching from Shenfield in Essex to Paddington in central London by May 2019 and later extending to Heathrow airport and Reading. It is expected to cut journey times and will offer a 29-minute journey from Bond Street in the West End to Heathrow, shaving 20 minutes off that trip.

With homeowners and buy-to-let investors seeking to take advantage of the Crossrail uplift to prices, the number of transactions around its stations increased twice as fast as the London average between 2012 and 2015, said Hamptons.

But the subsequent slowing has been especially evident in the outer zones; in Maidenhead to the west and Stratford and Ilford to the east, sales between November 2015 and January 2016 were down 40 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

Purchases have also shifted towards owner-occupiers, after investors were the first to see the potential for a rise in rents and capital values along the route. Many owner-occupiers have been moving in and making do with existing transport links ahead of the new line, Ms Earle said.

“With sellers holding off until Crossrail is up and running, a jump in the number of homes for sale straight after it opens could mean more choice and be a better time to buy for those still looking to take advantage of new links,” she said.

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