Life Homes

Saturday 23 August 2014

Living near a stadium brings your home's value to low places

How much does living near a Croke Park or major concert venues and affect your home's value?

Eithne Tynan

Published 11/07/2014 | 02:30

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Garth Brooks at Croke Park earlier this year
Concert-goers at Marlay Park
Litter on match day

On Tuesday the top item on RTE Six One news was the cancellation of all five Garth Brooks concerts.

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The item comprised almost the entire first half of the national news (12 minutes) for the day and preceded news of half a million people being left homeless after a world disaster in Japan.

Garth Brooks at Croke Park earlier this year

With the cancellation of Brooks' concerts, interested parties have been warning of irrevocable damage to the economy, and citing astronomical sums of money.

Dublin Chamber of Comm- erce estimated the economy would forgo €50m from lost tourism, and added that was a "conservative" estimate.

The Licensed Vintners' Association reckoned the cancellation would "cost" Dublin pubs €15m.

Then there's the exchequer's projected €2.4m loss in VAT on the tickets.

Concert promoter Peter Aiken claimed the cost his company would suffer would run into seven figures. And with €26m-worth of tickets sold, Brooks himself would "be out millions", Aiken added.

Concert-goers at Marlay Park

Meanwhile, a good many of the residents of the vicinity of Croke Park have claimed Mr Brooks and his ilk also costs them money – to the tune of 20pc of their home's property values.

And if that fall in values is applied to all of the supposedly sound-affected 26,700 households in the area surrounding Croke Park – in a location where the average home price is estimated at about €300,000 – then this amounts to a combined loss of real estate values to those homes in the order of €1.5bn.

If this is what they fear the price of increased concerts at Croke Park might be, then no wonder residents rejected mediator Kieran Mulvey's recommendation of a cool €500,000 'Garth Brooks legacy fund' to improve the area.

The trend for sports venues to cash in by adding concerts to their afternoon sports fixtures is the big reason behind the formation of the Irish Stadium Communities Association – a non-profit group established to lobby for neighbourhoods in the vicinity of stadiums in the 32 counties.

The association campaigns against "the curtailment of the civil rights of residents during major stadium events" and estimates that neighbouring property values can decrease by one fifth or more.

Sign on a house

Independent Dublin city councillor Nial Ring, who has been active on behalf of the residents of the neighbourhood in the Garth Brooks dispute, was born and raised in Ballybough and has his constituency office "about a hundred yards" from Croke Park.

He says the most common complaints among locals relate to the noise levels from the stadium during concerts, the traffic restrictions, and the problem behaviour of concert-goers.

"One concert everyone can live with, two okay, but three, it gets to be a bit of a nightmare. What really annoys people is the lack of respect for the neighbourhood – people going to the toilet in their gardens, and throwing cans and bottles. They finish something and they just throw it in the nearest garden."

There are, of course, noise restrictions for Croke Park concerts, as with other venues. For instance, U2 was fined €36,000 for breaching those restrictions during its three Croke Park concerts in 2009. There was a maximum 75-decibel limit and the band exceeded it 12 times. U2 stumped up its €36k fine and then reportedly trousered €19.4m from the concerts.

Residents protesting before the All-Ireland football finals

It shows just how the goal posts keep on moving and just how much the artists and their promoters are prepared to keep pushing them on.

"With the noise, everybody can hear the music, whether they like it or not," said Ring. "You can certainly hear the noise up to two or three miles away."

Ring said the problem is with concerts, not with sports events.

"If you're beside a stadium, of course you have to expect crowds. People are used to that. Croke Park is there 100 years. But for the first 80 years there was never a concert in the place. It's only the phenomenon where it's become a money-making machine for the GAA that's causing the difficulties."

But can living near a stadium or concert venue – and undoub-tedly having to contend with noise, litter, traffic congestion, parking restrictions and 'anti-social behaviour' – really do that much damage to values?

We decided to ask some professional valuers.

Frank Fleming, senior negotiator with Gunne estate agents in Fairview, believes the advantage of being close to the city centre in Drumcondra tends to outweigh the disadvantage of proximity to Croke Park.

But he backs the residents' fears that values would plummet if the stadium were to pack in more concerts going forward. "If they were to open it up and say, 'we're going to have 20 concerts a year', that obviously would impact on prices straight away. Absolutely it would."

Fleming also said that living virtually in the shadow of the stadium would have a negative effect. "If you compare, say, Clonliffe Road with Alphonsus Road or Iona Road, the other side of Drumcondra, there certainly would be a difference in price. If you're very close to the stadium, I'd say your property would be worth less – maybe about 10pc less."

By contrast, Fleming worked as an estate agent in Perth, Australia, and said the district of Subiaco is very much sought-after, despite being the home of the Subiaco Oval football stadium, where concerts as well as matches are held.

"You'd get nothing there for less than half a million, and up to three million for a three-bedroom apartment. It's a trendy place to be – people love it."

Fleming's experience is backed up by British research which suggests that, contrary to perception, proximity to a football stadium has actually boosted property values ahead of market norms in recent years.

While proximity to stadia in the UK traditionally brought values down at the height of hooliganism in the 1970s and 1980s (Liverpool's local authorities were once selling terrace homes near Anfield for £1 each if you committed to maintaining your purchase), in recent years, huge investment into stadia and surrounding infrastructure and transport links, have according to Halifax, boosted values in Premier Stadium postcodes at double the national rate of inflation.

Properties in the vicinity of Old Trafford in Manchester, Anfield in Liverpool and the Emirates Stadium in London increased by 135pc compared to 68pc nationally in a 10-year period.

Lansdowne Road was demolished in 2007 and reborn as the Aviva Stadium in 2010 – against the wishes of 33 residents' groups and individuals, who opposed plans for the 50,000-seater stadium in their community.

The residents' grounds for objection included noise, loss of light, litter, and the lack of a clear limit on the number of sporting events to be held there annually. They claimed their human rights would be infringed.

Famously, the An Bord Pleanála hearing into the matter in 2006 heard from the chairman of the Pembroke Road Residents Association that the stadium would benefit only "the prawn sandwich brigade" and "dollybirds who haven't a clue what a rugby ball is".

Meanwhile, residents near Marlay Park in Rathfarnham have been conspicuous by their silence amid this concert furore. And yet eight concerts were scheduled for Marlay Park in the space of less than a month, including tomorrow's Arctic Monkeys performance.

Tom Ryan is chairman of Marley Grange Residents Association. He believes the reason the events are passing off without controversy is that there is diligent liaison between the community and the city council.

"We send out a newsletter to the residents so everyone is aware of the timetable, and we have a meeting with the council before the concert and we cover everything, like making sure that there's security at the front of the estate so people going to the concert don't park in our estate.

"It's very well policed, and it's very well cleaned up afterwards. They monitor the noise levels and they give them to us afterwards."

So perhaps the GAA could learn something here?

As regards property values, Ryan doesn't think they are negatively affected.

"I think the fact that you have Marlay Park there at all is such a big boost. An awful lot of people will have bought their houses here because of it. It was one of the main reasons we bought here – having 214 acres of parkland across the road."

What it shows is that a massive public park amenity draws in residents and increases values, unlike proximity to a stadium venue.

Ryan is also philosophical on the subject of anti-social behaviour.

"I was out for a walk there on Friday, when Kings of Leon played. There were a few young lads but really they were no worse than we were back in the '70s. You can get to middle-age and sort of think young people nowadays are all gurriers, but they're not any different than we were."

Fans on match day for the All_Ireland football finals

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