Instead of the “winter games,” they might be termed “the winter gains.” Parallel to the world’s greatest athletic competition in Vancouver, area businesses are also in contention for lots of gold. Just as athletes have been training for years to attain medals and fame, companies have been planning their Olympics marketing strategies for a long time.
In the real estate market, experts are contemplating the effects of the Olympics on the area. Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association CEO Peter Simpson is hopeful the event will spur some much-needed momentum. Except for 1962, 2009 might have been the weakest year in terms of housing starts on record, said Simpson. Only a spurt of activity last December saved the market from this dubious achievement.
Simpson said that the Games would bring significant attention to Vancouver, estimating that the events will be viewed by some three billion people worldwide. He hopes that the Games will stimulate not only tourism, but also relocation to the area.
Vancouver and its taxpayers have a large financial state in the Olympics. The athletes’ village alone cost $1.2 billion, and the city became responsible for its construction when the developer was a victim of the 2008 economic meltdown. Prominent condominium marketer Bob Rennie noted that due to the weak real estate market, there were no takers in 2009 for some 700 condos in the athletic village. Rennie directed that the condos should be relisted after the Games are over.
University of British Columbia economist Tsur Somerville does not believe the Vancouver real estate market will derive a significant benefit from the Olympics. In his analyses of six markets that previously hosted the Games, he concluded that he saw no evidence of a consistent effect on housing prices due to the Olympics.
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