A long Olympics run for Stratford flat-buyers

Anish Kapoor's Olympics statue at Stratford Lon 22012

A HOUSING LADDER on Olympian ground seems a safe one for young buyers to step on as they obey the customary British own-your-own-home command.

Alas, it is may be a little rickety. Despite the so-called Olympics effect – the boost the London 2012 games is supposed to give to long-disdained Stratford and surrounds – E15 property prices are still 35% below those of other areas.

Hometrack, a housing analyst, says the mere announcement of London staging the Olympics cut the gap to as low as 10%. That has since slipped, despite the opening of Westfield Stratford City, and property thereabouts is again at least 30% cheaper than in similar parts of London.

All this, even though property developers think they can cash in as the amount of housing in the Stratford area, its bright lights and Anish Kapoor artwork (above) beckoning , is due to rise over the next few decades by 80 per cent.

New buyers and buy-to-letters may think this an encouraging trend and that there are other grounds for hope. For example:

* the postcode E20 for the Olympic Village is being hailed as raising the area’s status;

* Ikea and other big investors are coughing up for a 10.5-hectare (26-acre) development of 1,200 homes (jokes about flat-pack homes, please, comedians) and commercial spaces near the Olympic Park;

* a consortium of oil-money-owned Qatari Diar and London developer Delancey is buying the Athletes’ Village for £557 million, as well as planning to build 2,000 flats in the Olympic Park.

* the Olympic Legacy body wants thousands more flats to be built and offered for sale, including supposedly affordable homes.

Did somebody mention “glut”? Is the UK again to be given a lesson on the foolishness of running its economy on property prices?

The likelihood is that the predicted lift to the area’s standing may take years. As The Times property commentator Anne Ashworth says, “Regeneration is a long game… easy to forget when looking at the next up-and-coming area in which to make money fast.”

David Altheer 260312

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