When looking for somewhere new to live, whether you are renting or buying, one of the main factors that will affect your choice of property are the facilities available for your preferred mode of transport. If you are a car owner, parking spaces will be an important factor, if you use public transport, a short distance to a rail station or bus stop is preferable. And of course if you’re a cyclist, then the availability of bike storage might be an influencing factor.
According to the latest figures by TfL, between 2011-2012 levels of cycling in London increased by 9% and these levels are expected to keep increasing at a rate of 5% yearly. For many London commuters, cycling to work now makes much more financial sense, especially as the turn of the New Year saw London bus and tube fares increase by 4.2 per cent. If you travel from Zones 1-4, you will have to fork out an extra £93.60 a year as your weekly travel card will now cost you £43.60. Ouch! Therefore, more London commuters are starting to swap their oyster card for a bike helmet.
As this trend develops it is possible that the facilities that potential tenants and home owners are enquiring about may change. High end bikes, for example, are only covered by insurers if they are locked up safely. The growing number of cyclists may prompt a growing interest for properties with facilities for bike storage, because as the use of bikes in London increases so does the volume of bike theft.
Many new residential buildings are now being built with outdoor sheds and purpose built blocks for allocated bike parking. These facilities are not so readily available for buildings older than 5 years which means that it is specifically new builds that may experience higher levels of interest among cyclists.
Here at Stirling Ackroyd we are adapting and embracing the flexibility offered by using bikes in London. As an agency we have started to use the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme extensively around our central London offices with most of our managers opting to cycle to valuations and viewings.
So whilst there’s no revolution yet, it is possible that the growing use of bicycles may slowly start evolving the way some buyers and tenants view the facilities that London’s properties have to offer.