Bloomberg News

Manchester City Soccer Stadium Helps Homeowners Outdo United (1)

August 20, 2012

Soccer fans on the east side of the city of Manchester are outdoing crosstown rival Manchester United in more than the English Premier League standings.

Home prices near the Etihad Stadium of league champion Manchester City gained 271 percent since the venue opened a decade ago, about three times the 91 percent increase near United’s 102-year-old Old Trafford, mortgage lender Halifax said in a study of Premier League cities released on Aug. 18.

Newer soccer stadiums have produced the best results, with four of the five largest gains in homes located near arenas built in the past 15 years, according to Halifax, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc. (LLOY) City’s stadium was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in one of the U.K.’s poorest neighborhoods, increasing the impact of infrastructure improvements on the local housing market. City moved in a year later.

“East Manchester was a run-down, post-industrial area,” Suren Thiru, a Lloyds housing economist, said by telephone. “To coincide with the Commonwealth Games, the whole area was regenerated.”

The Premier League kicked off on Aug. 18, with Manchester City winning its first game, against Southampton, a day later. The club is the bookmakers’ favorite to retain the English league championship after winning its first in 44 years in May. Manchester United is the second choice.

Sheikh Mansour

The average increase in home prices near Premier League stadiums was 137 percent over the past 10 years, outpacing the 90 percent gain in all of England and Wales, Halifax said. Manchester City, owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, leases its stadium from the local government. In July 2011, the club was given permission to rename the stadium after selling sponsorship rights in return for paying the council 20 million pounds over five years.

The club bought about 80 acres (32 hectares) of land around its home venue in the two years through 2011. It plans to build a new training ground and sports-science campus on the site. Manchester City’s website is linked to east-manchester.com, which features new housing developments in nine neighborhoods along with local schools, sports facilities and attractions.

East Manchester “has been turned around to the extent that it is now a place people can be proud of and where many actively want to live,” Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said in an e-mailed statement.

Olympic Pledge

London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games with a pitch that included a pledge to bolster an area of the U.K. capital known for contaminated soil and disused railroads with new sports complexes, housing and transportation links. West Ham United, newly promoted to the Premier League, is one of two clubs bidding to make the Olympic Stadium their home field after the games.

Homes near the Etihad Stadium have an average price of about 79,098 pounds compared with 21,328 pounds in April 2002, Halifax said. Properties close to Old Trafford, less than 5 miles (8 kilometers) to the west, are valued at 154,145 pounds, up from 80,698 pounds a decade ago.

Britain’s economy is reeling from three straight quarters of contraction. In June, a U.K. house-price index dropped to the lowest in a year as property transactions fell for a fourth month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said on Aug. 14.

Pre-War Stadiums

Residential properties around four of the six Premier League soccer arenas erected before World War II had the smallest gains, Halifax said. Average prices by Newcastle United’s Sports Direct Arena, the U.K.’s second-oldest stadium, were the only ones to fall, the mortgage lender said. Homes around the 120-year-old venue, formerly known as St. James’ Park, fell 7 percent to 127,215 pounds in the ten years through April 2012.

Properties near Southampton Football Club’s St. Mary’s Stadium, which opened in 2001, gained 42 percent to 174,093 pounds, the smallest increase in English soccer’s top tier. The data was compiled by comparing house-price data provided by the U.K.’s Land Registry in the stadium’s postal code, Halifax said in the report.

Liverpool and Everton share the same postal district and had the lowest average home price in the study at 63,473 pounds. London football clubs Chelsea and Fulham had the highest average price at 749,530 pounds. They also share the same postal code.

The Halifax survey covers the stadiums of the 20 teams in England and Wales playing in the Premier League this season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Spillane in London at cspillane3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net.


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