A. Historically, holding an Olympic games has generally been good for property in the host country. Take for example house prices in each of the four previous Olympic cities ofBarcelona,Atlanta,SydneyandAthenswhich rose by more than the national average in the five years before the staging of the Olympics. Property price inflation averaged 66% during that period. Of the four cities,Barcelonaperformed the best, boasting price rises of up to 130%, but all this was in the midst of a world property boom.
What of the prospects forLondon? Despite the immediate post-announcement bounce in property prices and suggestions that good times may lay ahead if the market stabilises by the time the first medal is awarded, with today’s complex global financial circumstances and the current logjam in UK credit, crystal ball gazers and property pundits will be forgiven for having to strain their eyes a little harder to try and work out how the future post-2012 will actually pan out for London.
However those against investment argue that after the Athens Olympic Games, there was a surplus in apartments on the housing market. Olympic developers Bovis Lend Lease are concerned that London’s property price crash will reduce the amount it would have benefited from selling or renting the homes in East London after the games. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have defended this opinion, warning that property boosts due to the Games has only been large when the city could re-invent itself, which explains the huge mark up in Barcelona.
Stratford’s property challenge therefore rests not only on the shoulders of London’s Olympic committee, but also on those of all us Londoners. Whether Stratford’s new sports, entertainment and tourism facilities continue to function depends very much on the willingness of London’s professionals to invest and live within the area once the games have ended. Though rubbing elbows with the millions of visitors expected to arrive for the games may not be everyone’s ideal, there is little doubt that the Olympics offer a genuine opportunity for the rejuvenation of the maligned east end. Perhaps then the Olympic effect could be the shot in the arm London needs given the recent slump in the UK housing market.