Tuesday 3 May 2011

Football Stadiums

SERC affiliate Gabriel Ahlfeldt has been doing some interesting work on the impact of football stadiums on local house prices.

Looking at developments at Wembley and at Arsenal, they find that new stadiums have a significant positive effect on house prices. Does this mean that the NIMBYs are wrong when they oppose this kind of development? Not necessarily, because the evidence tells us only that they receive a financial gain in terms of house prices (and that this exceeds construction costs). It is possible that this financial gain doesn't sufficiently compensate home owners for the added inconvenience of larger crowds (assuming the redesign increases capacity). Of course, although home owners are usually more vocal, larger crowds and increased house prices will certainly make renters worse off. The other caveat is that this research predominantly provides evidence relating to redevelopment of an existing stadium.

Completely new developments generate additional issues that are much harder to assess. The authors try to tackle this issue, by considering the impact on housing near to Arsenal's old ground (house prices fall) but I find this a little harder to interpret. I can see that a view of an attractive stadium might partially offset the inconvenience of matchday crowds but I find it hard to see why the removal of crowds from areas around the old ground shouldn't be positively capitalised in to house prices.

For those of you who want to read further, the underlying research paper will shortly be available as a SERC discussion paper.