[Sponsored Article] London's Crossrail project is shortening travel times across the British capital and the wider South East, changing what it means to live locally. Just 26 minutes from London Paddington station, Reading is an increasingly popular alternative for commuters and investors looking for cheaper property prices than in the capital. Direct connections to the West End and Canary Wharf will make living in Reading even more convenient when the new £900 million Crossrail station opens by 2021. Proximity to London isn't the only advantage Reading has. At the heart of the Thames Valley tech corridor, the town has its own booming innovation economy that continues to attract the world's biggest brands. A world-class university, world-famous music festival, walkable town center and access to nature also contribute to Reading's enviable quality of life, ranked first by PwC's Good Growth Index 2018 as the best place to live and work in the United Kingdom. With interest in Reading growing, the outlook for the residential markets is also very positive. Research by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) forecasts 13.6 percent total growth in house prices from 2019 to 2023 and a similar increase for rent values over the same period, with Reading being expected to outperform London and the wider South East over the next few years. The UK's fastest growing economy Making its name on four b's – beer, biscuits, bricks and bulbs – Reading has moved on from its industrial past to become a leading technology hub with one of the highest concentrations of digital businesses in the UK. The Ernst & Young UK & Regions Economic Forecast pipped Reading for the fastest growth of any UK region until at least 2021, while the Financial Times placed it among the top 25 European cities for foreign direct investment in 2019. Leading multinationals have chosen Reading for their UK base, including Cisco, Ericsson, Microsoft and PepsiCo, with many more leasing space in the CBD, business parks and the new dedicated business district, Forbury Place. Brands are drawn to Reading by its convenient transport links, ongoing investment in business infrastructure and a diverse talent pool supported by the University of Reading, a top 200 university worldwide and one of the most research-intensive in the country. In addition to 300 daily trains to London and direct routes to Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf via Crossrail, Reading offers superb connections throughout the UK and overseas by road, rail and air. Heathrow Airport is just 34 minutes by road for connections to over 180 global destinations, soon to be less than half an hour if the proposed western rail link goes through. Big city perks without the downside Reading offers the experiences of modern city living on a manageable scale, the River Thames and Berkshire countryside being within easy reach. The Oracle and Broad Street shopping malls are at opposite ends of the high street, featuring a mix of big brands, independent boutiques and eclectic eateries catering to Reading's multiethnic population. There's also fine dining at the London Street Brasserie and Michelin-starred L'Ortolan. Reading has strong cultural credentials too. For many people, its name is synonymous with the Reading Festival, held every August on the banks of the River Thames, but this is just one event in a packed cultural calendar. The Hexagon Theatre has a year-round program of plays, concerts, film festivals and other events, while more intimate venues dotted around town offer something for every taste. The star-studded shows of London's West End are also just 30 minutes away by train. Families moving to Reading will appreciate having nature and heritage sites on the doorstep, as well as high-performing local schools that boast some of the best GCSE and A-level grades in the UK. New residential developments are meeting the demand for well-connected property in Reading, from CBD apartments to the Berkeley Group's new riverside quarter Huntley Wharf, a residential-led development with commercial and communal facilities a short walk from Reading station. For more information about Huntley Wharf and other residential properties in the United Kingdom, click here or contact JLL International Properties at +852 3759 0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org .