Getting a mortgage on a property near a railway line
Have you contemplated buying a home next to a train line but found yourself worried about the potential for noise and property damage? Or perhaps you’re a trainspotting enthusiast for whom living next to a major railway station is the definition of paradise.
In this post we’ll discuss what buyers looking at homes near a train line or railway station may need to consider, whether there are any benefits to this type of property location, and how it could affect your chances of getting a mortgage.
Nuisance or no big deal?
There are a few concerns that non-train enthusiasts will generally raise when considering a property near to a railway line or station, and these are generally similar to those that mortgage lenders could raise when considering your application. They include:
- Noise – The distance the line is from the property, as well as the frequency and type of trains serving it will make a big difference. It’s a good idea to spend enough time at the property to experience the noise levels at different times of day before you make a decision
- Vibrations – There are a multitude of factors that could affect the significance of vibrations experienced by the property and its occupiers, such as the speed and frequency of local trains, how well the track is maintained, and the stability of the property.
- Japanese knotweed – Whilst historically feared, Japanese knotweed has recently been reassessed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors as posing less of a risk to brick and mortar properties than once thought, and this risk is reduced even further if it grows outside of the property boundaries.
The railways historically used this hardy weed to prevent landslides on embankments, hence its prevalence in these areas, however, it’s no longer planted and the railway has a responsibility to prevent the spread of existing weeds.
- Compromised air (health concerns) – Fumes from diesel and radiation from overhead electrical wiring are viable concerns, although they should be balanced against similar risks in homes built close to a motorway, or power plant, for example
- Heavy local traffic – Mainline stations, in particular, are bound to draw more passengers, which inevitably means more foot and road traffic in the local area. Again, this is something that will vary based on the size of the station
- Potential expansions – Extra train services are always a potential, and this type of addition could mean that noise and other issues once tolerated become unacceptable. If there are plans for physical expansion, however, this will be picked up during conveyancing.
The above concerns can sometimes reduce the saleability of properties located close to train lines and railway stations, and therefore some lenders will be more reluctant to lend than others, or may at least require a larger deposit to protect their investment.
This doesn’t seem to be the consensus across the board, however, and some lenders will recognise that there is a very real audience for this type of home. In the capital particularly, the convenience of a local tube or overground station can increase, rather than diminish the value and desirability of residential property.
In fact, a study carried out by mortgage lender Nationwide, actually found that in London, properties within 500 metres of a station attract a premium of up to 9.7% (which equates to around £46,800 for the average property). Similar patterns have also been identified in other major UK cities, such as Manchester, and Glasgow.
Will I be able to get a mortgage?
There will always be lenders that are more cautious to lend on certain property types, however, if you’re happy to live near a railway line or station, there are absolutely lenders that will be able to help you.
If you’re still unsure, it may comfort you to know that the Railway Act 1993 dictates that Network Rail must act with ‘reasonable diligence’ to ensure that noise and/or vibrations are controlled as far as possible. So your decision is really down to personal preference and convenience vs annoyance.