The Rugby World Cup arriving in England and Wales this weekend will be a major boost to the short lets market in host cities, as well as showcasing cities such as London, Cardiff, Leeds, Brighton and Exeter as nice places to live and work, boosting house prices in the medium to long-term, according to Chestertons.
With half a millions fans, journalists and corporate guests arriving in the UK from overseas for the tournament, which will be hosted at venues across England and Wales including Newcastle, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Leicester, Gloucester and three in London – Wembley stadium, the former Olympic stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park, and Twickenham, the home of English rugby – and property experts believe there will be strong demand for short lets for spectators looking to base themselves near major match venues. Prices in the host cities should also rise on the back of a successful tournament, as the cities will be firmly in the "shop window" for their facilities, transport links and quality of life.
Daniel Killick, Associate Manager of Sales and Lettings, in the Kew branch of Chestertons, says: "The areas around Twickenham including Richmond, Kew and St Margaret's are becoming increasingly desirable, owing to the green leafy parks and outdoor spaces, outstanding schools and large period houses – and the proximity to English Rugby's HQ is an added bonus. Having the Rugby World Cup on our doorstep certainly enhances the area's desirability.
He adds: "Over the past few weeks we've also received numerous calls from local home owners to see about letting their homes out during the tournament. It's certainly best to seek professional advice when looking to make your home available as a short let, so you don't fall foul of red tape – by invalidating existing home insurance policies for instance, which typically don't allow for such arrangements."
Iain Begg, Associate Director of Sales for Chestertons in Notting Hill, comments: "There's no doubt as a city London is looking forward to hosting one of the world's biggest sporting events. With a major influx of fans, corporate guests, worldwide TV and media coverage, London and the other host cities are again under the spotlight. It's reminiscent of the 2012 Olympics, with Ernst and Young predicting the Rugby World Cup may be worth up to £1 billion in added revenue to the economy.
"Where the Rugby World Cup differs from the Olympics is that there hasn't been a requirement to build new stadiums or facilities, or make major investment in infrastructure, therefore it's unlikely we'll see a sudden jump in property prices. That being said, with the added exposure, a successful Rugby World Cup may lead to increased interest in the host cities as desirable places to live and work, which over time may boost investment and ultimately push prices up."
Cory Askew, Chestertons' Area Director of Sales & Lettings in Docklands, Greenwich and wider East London, concurs: "World-class sporting events can have a positive effect on the quality of infrastructure and housing. No-one could argue that the Olympics hasn't had a huge impact on East London, and the Rugby World Cup matches being hosted at Queen Elizabeth Park are just a part of the enduring legacy of the Games.
"Besides the obvious infrastructure improvements, the Games cast a different light on an area that many people regarded as a bit of a post-industrial wilderness best known for EastEnders, eel pie and poverty. The Stratford City Westfield Shopping Centre at the heart of the Olympic village created jobs, high-class commerce and is now a genuine anchor for the area. Visitors to the Games – and now the Rugby World Cup – can't fail to be impressed by the employment, infrastructure and property opportunities in the area; these types of events only serve to showcase the all-round quality of life, boosting the area's popularity and maintaining the ongoing East-end residential property boom."
Bradley Bartlett, Head of Corporate & Relocation Services at Chestertons, comments: "The Rugby World Cup is a great chance for the host cities to put themselves in the international shop window. The Olympics really cemented the demand for short lets – or 'sport lets' as we call them – and the Rugby World Cup is right up there in terms of its global appeal. London continues to excel and increase demand on the back of such major sporting and cultural events, sustaining demand for quality private housing on a short-term basis.
"However many people don't realise their local letting agent can help arrange lets shorter than six months. Be they for sporting events or corporate relocations, these are a convenient way to make the most of your property, taking the hassle and stress out of management and ensuring you get quality tenants. Short lets can be particularly appealing to people who spend time away from home on business, for example, or retired people who spend the winter months abroad."
Chestertons has announced a three-year community sponsorship with London Welsh Rugby Club's amateur and junior sections, which will help the south-west London club deliver on some of the key grassroots priorities of the Rugby World Cup. Chestertons' investment will help identify and develop young players, improve club facilities, and provide extra coaching and rehab for the men's, women's, junior and mini-tagger sections. Chestertons will appear on the Rhino playing kit across all sections.