Stratford left trailing in race to cash in on the Olympics house price boom


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The Independent Online

The roar along Stratford High Street was almost as loud as the one in Trafalgar Square when, almost seven years ago, London won the bid to host the Olympic Games. Pound signs appeared in residents' eyes while estate agents frantically warned potential buyers to move fast, safe in the knowledge that house prices would rocket as the area was reborn.

Now new research shows that property prices in the E15 area, where the gleaming new Olympic venues proudly sit on what organisers claim was once an "industrial swamp", are 35 per cent lower than central London, almost the worst in the capital.

When the games were announced in 2005, the differential was between 10 and 20 per cent, according to new research published by Hometrack, which values properties for almost all the leading mortgage lenders.

The area is undoubtedly significantly improved when compared to seven years ago, but the value of properties has been kept low by the number of new houses built there.

The Olympic Village contains 3,000 homes, a further 8,000 are planned for the five neighbourhoods that will be constructed on the park, a building project which will not be fully completed until 2030, as well as 2,500 new homes surrounding the site. These building projects account for an 80 per cent rise in housing in the area.

In Shepherd's Bush, west London, a similar distance from the city centre as Stratford, prices are an average 73 per cent higher. West London has always been more expensive, but the arrival of the Olympics was supposed to narrow the gap.

Commenting on the analysis, Richard Donnell, Hometrack's director of research said, "Given that the area around Stratford has been very much in the spotlight since 2006, Hometrack's findings may come as something of a surprise.

"However, it should be remembered that as a regeneration project, the area is in its infancy. The next 10 to 20 years will see the growth of a new residential quarter. Up to 11,000 homes are planned for the Olympic Park and Village sites, all in an area with a new 'E20' postcode. Off the back of this, new supply, new pricing benchmarks will emerge."