Olympics Trigger Huge Boom, But Little in Home Values

By Ryan Jackson
Six cities that hosted the Olympics in the last quarter century have experienced huge construction booms with new projects needed to london house the games, but the majority found little appreciation in home values or other property inflation following the games.

In fact, three of six Olympic cities, including Los Angeles and Atlanta experienced negative impacts on home values following the Olympics. Calgary also saw its housing values decline after it hosted the winter Olympics in 1988.

Whether the Olympics will bring growth and higher home values to London after the current Olympics is an open question, but the chances seem to be against the city, which is in process of hosting its third Olympics.

Even the 1960 winter games held at Squaw Valley, California drew millions of visitors to the Lake Tahoe area but produced little in housing appreciation.

However, Sydney, Australia and Barcelona, Spain saw positive results on its home values after the games were held in those communities. But the long often touted retort that home values will increase as a result of hosting the Olympics is inaccurate, according to a study published by the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate.

The study disproves the belief that the Olympics are a catalyst for urban transformation resulting in positive economic legacies. Atlanta held the Olympics in 1996 attracting the world’s attention, but today little positive impact has resulted in the area where the Olympics were centered. The Atlanta Braves baseball team still plays in the stadium (Turner Field) built for the games, but the surrounding neighborhood is mainly worn down and attracts high crime.

Host cities usually experience an increase in construction from infrastructure improvements, Olympic venues and new housing developments. Home prices have been historically expected to be pushed higher by the new construction and added venues, but more often than not the opposite takes place, according to the study’s authors.

“Those inner city areas never gained momentum from the games as expected and could not sustain the growth and continued development after the conclusion of the games,” said Frank Duffy, a real estate broker, who remembers the Atlanta games in his home town.

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