Why The Housing Market May Regret England's Failure

There is a silver lining to England's failure to secure the 2018 World Cup: at least there will be no bid to boost the housing market with over-optimistic claims of lettings bonanzas and wild hype about the joys of living near football stadia.

One optimistic estate agent in the west country was already advertising the merits of living “within earshot of Plymouth Argyle” – amazingly, one of the grounds scheduled to host matches had England won its bid.

The Olympics have given us quite enough of that sort of over-promising, surely.

While many people may have bought new east London flats in the (quite plausible) hope of making a rental killing during the 2012 Games, the reality is that afterwards they will be amongst thousands of other buy-to-let landlords striving to find tenants in Stratford. Even £3,000 a week for a chunk of summer 2012 won’t cover the new home premium the buyers will have paid to the developers.

But there is one more sober reason why the property market should regret the 2018 decision – the lack of investment that will occur as a result.

Perhaps the only infrastructure improvement budget left wholly untouched by the coalition’s spending cuts is that of the Olympics; Cameron is honouring the spending pledged originally by Brown.

If the World Cup had come to England, one can imagine comparable levels of spending but – unlike the Olympics – this would have been seen in a number of locations around the country as well as just London and the sailing centre of Weymouth.

There would have been tangible benefits to the transport, hotel and event facilities in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool and – yes – Plymouth. Those benefits would have been a boost to these local housing markets, too, which are already lagging behind the capital in terms of recovery.

Now those tangible improvements are unlikely to be made and the ‘facilities’ gap between the provinces and London will get wider. That, perhaps, is the real reason why the housing market should feel sorry about the 2018 World Cup decision.

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