It’s London’s turn to host the biggest sporting event on the planet and while there’s a lot to live up to after Beijing’s spectacular success four years ago, the signs so far suggest a vintage Olympic year is ahead.
Director Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony in particular - a celebration of British culture and its contribution to the world stage - is set to be spectacular: from Daniel Craig’s in-character appearance as James Bond, to hundreds of NHS nurses showing up, details are sporadically leaking through but exactly what’s going to happen is still tantalisingly unclear. Recent reports of the Queen dropping in by helicopter are to be taken with a pinch of salt, surely?
More certainly, the influx of Olympic visitors from across the globe will add to the already huge numbers of summer tourists that temporarily settle in the second most visited city on the planet, adding to the seasonal strain on London’s infrastructure and the city’s hospitality sector.
For most of these visitors, accommodation is fundamental but finding something comfortable, affordable and convenient isn’t going to be easy as the inundation of Olympic visitors coalesces with the huge number of traditional tourists.
If you are planning on staying in London in June, and still haven’t found somewhere to stay, here are three tips to help you find something fitting.Investigate short-term lets
Hotels are the default choice for most tourists, but many savvy London citizens are renting their properties to visitors over the Olympic period - and this option can provide a more personal and homely experience than a room in a large hotel.
Finding one of these properties is more nuanced: in many cases you can find and contact property owners directly through informal adverts placed on listings sites like Gumtree and Craigslist but there are also agencies that act as middle-men between property owners and visitors to offer Olympic rentals, such as Hampton International.Look further afield than London
It’s ideal to be located within easy reach of East London for the Olympic Park but many visitors - particularly visitors who’re not familiar with the area - may be unaware of the Olympic accommodation options outside London that still offer easy access in barely over an hour. And these options can be more affordable than premium-priced London counterparts.
Brighton, for example, offers a seaside situ on the south coast, a vibrant local culture and access to central London within under an hour on the fastest rail connections. And plenty of rooms are guaranteed to be available - some with a sea view.Check halls of residence
Many universities rent out rooms in halls of residence out of term, which is convenient: most students will have left to go home as the Olympics arrives in town.
Arguably this option is more of a last resort, or one for bargain-seeking visitors travelling in small numbers, but it’s definitely worth investigating: halls of residence rooms aren’t as stereotypically stark as is often imagined and, when compared with dingy rooms in last-minute budget hotels, they can be comparatively luxurious.
It’s almost certain that the 2012 Olympics is going to be great, but finding Olympic accommodation is a less certain affair. If you haven’t found anything yet then complementing your search by acting on the advice and information offered should help you find a place to rest your head within easy reach of the action.
LONDON — Natasha Corne is offering Olympic fans who attend this summer's London Games a piece of her back yard for around $24 a night, including a full English breakfast.
Corne, 36, a health-care worker, has bought a blue tent to house her guests and plans to set up a barbecue on the 1,750 square-foot (163 square-meter) plot of land in Eltham, southeast London.
"I've jumped on the Olympic bandwagon," said Corne, whose two-bedroom home is 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from the equestrian-event sites in Greenwich. "I haven't got a massive garden, but there's enough space to sleep eight."
The Olympic ritual of renting out space to visitors is under way in London after government cuts triggered the biggest drop in disposable incomes in more than two decades. Homeowners are trying to take advantage of a hotel shortage that's allowed some operators to charge as much as double the usual rate during the Games.
About 320,000 visitors will converge on the British capital in July, many of them competing with invitees of Britain and the International Olympic Committee for more than 140,000 hotel rooms, according to estimates by the British government's VisitBritain office.
"There are simply not enough rooms available across all price classes," said Konstanze Auernheimer, London-based director of marketing and analysis at hospitality research company STR Global. "That's why many Londoners see this as an opportunity to offer accommodation with a local flavor for less money."
Corne is one of several hundred people advertising alternative accommodation during the Games on Campinmygarden.com. Londoners are offering houses and apartments to rent on websites such as Londonrentmyhouse.com, Gumtree.com and Craigslist's London site.
A six-bedroom property in Hammersmith, about a mile from the Earls Court sports hall where the Olympic volleyball competition will take place, is listed for 2,500 pounds ($4,000) a week. A 10-bedroom Hackney Wick home, north of the Olympic Park, will cost 7,500 pounds a week.
A typical London hotel room during the Olympic Games will cost 210 pounds a night, according to Hotels.com, a website advertising more than 145,000 hotels around the world. That compares with an average rate of about 103 pounds at the same time last year.
By renting a furnished room, homeowners can make about 4,000 pounds tax-free, according to Claire Evans, a director at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. It costs 20 pounds to place an advertisement on Londonrentmyhouse, while Campinmygarden is free.
The swell of visitors is prompting some residential property brokers in London's East End, where the 246 hectares (608 acres) of wasteland and disused railroads made way for the Olympic Park, to contact tenants before their leases are up and ask whether the space will be free during the Games.
Alan Harvey Property Services mailed renters of the properties it manages four months before the opening ceremony. It's offering two-bedroom apartments near Newham, London's poorest neighborhood, for 2,500 pounds a week during the Games.
Those prices are as much as five times higher than typical rates, according to Jane Ingram, head of the rental unit at brokerage Savills. The landlords are risking a void in rental income during and after the Games by seeking temporary tenants, she said.
"We don't know if they're ever going to get that, as it's so inflated," Ingram said. "There's a lot that people need to think about that they haven't necessarily considered because they've got excited about the pound signs."
The returns for those turning their gardens into campsites won't be huge, according to Susan Goode, who's renting her garden about 10 miles east of the Olympic Park in Romford, Essex for 8 pounds a person per night. She hopes to earn a few hundred pounds to pay for repairs to her garage roof.
"It's a bit of fun," Goode said. "If people want to stay, I can earn a little bit of money. I'm not going to make mega-bucks."
The competition from private individuals doesn't appear to have hurt hotel companies. The Lanesborough, a luxury hotel near Buckingham Palace operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, is fully booked for the Games, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based company. That includes a suite for 14,000 pounds a night, the most expensive in London.
Intercontinental Hotels Group, the world's largest hotelier and the official hotel provider for the Games, has about 86 percent of its rooms in London booked. More than 90 percent of Starwood's city center hotel rooms have been sold, said Michael Wale, senior vice president for northwest Europe.
Travelodge, London's biggest hotelier, opened its 500th British property in Stratford, home of the Olympic Stadium, last month and plans to open another six in the city before the event begins.
Room rates are unlikely to rise further as hotels lower or remove the minimum number of nights required for a booking, according to Seamus MacCormaic, director of market management for hotels.com.
"Demand isn't as strong as hotels may have expected," he said. "They're testing the water but still holding on to rates."
The Olympics run from July 27 to Aug. 12 and the Paralympics last 12 days starting Aug. 29. About 8.8 million tickets to events will be sold and will attract more visitors than other Summer Games in Europe, according to a study by Oxford Economics. About 250,000 people traveled to Barcelona for the 1992 Games, while Athens had around 150,000 tourists in 2004, the researcher said.
The first of Natasha Corne's guests, a family of four, are due to arrive on the busiest day, when Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle unveils his William Shakespeare-inspired "Isles of Wonder" Olympic curtain-raiser. Corne already has her mind on the day after.
"I'm not looking forward to cooking eight breakfasts in the morning," she said. "But I'll do it with a smile."
_ With assistance from Matthew Boyle in London and Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles.
Source: Deseret News
In the middle of a rush for tourists and athletes to secure a place to stay in London after the high prices and low availability, a company makes available numerous houses and rooms for rent during the forthcoming Olympic Games in London.
London – Feb 19, 2012 – The competition has already started because finding a place to stay during the 2012 Olympic Games has become a marathonic activity for thousands of athletes and tourists coming to London. With soaring prices and plunging availability, future visitors from all over the world are participating in a race to secure a good place at a good price.
Even though the city recently put back on sale thousands of hotel rooms that were reserved for officials and media, it hasn’t been easy for many visitors to find a place to stay. Moreover, many Londoners are leaving their homes to make them available for rent and get that extra cash that would be very helpful in this time of economic crisis. However, property owners are not finding it easy to rent out their homes and flats due to difficulties to connect these owners with potential tenants.
The good news is that a London-based accommodation company has just put available numerous houses and flats throughout London to help visitors find a room to stay. The company has released a website called The Games Accommodation (http://www.thegamesaccommodation.com), where users are able to see all the properties including their photos, locations, and prices. Users can go online, search for availability and immediately book a room.
All the properties are fully furnished and ready for people to move in. All of them are located in easy access areas of the city, with public transportation within walking distances to make commuting to venues and tourist attractions hassle-free.
This new website comes in a moment in which the Olympic Games are just around the corner and thousands of people are still looking for a place to stay. The company has also said that new properties are constantly being added so they are able to meet the huge demand, as the city’s expectations to receive large amounts of visitors are quite high. About The Games Accommodation
The Games Accommodation (http://www.thegamesaccommodation.com
) is an online platform that allows users to easily search and immediately book properties and rooms. They are committed to provide high-quality and safe accommodation in London, helping visitors to get the most out of their journey through the UK.
Lena Corner to rent her house
It's now less than six months to go until the Olympics and the burning question on many Londoner's lips is: have you rented your property out yet? And if not, why not? According to some over-enthusiastic reports some of us in the capital are heading for a property "gold rush".
Rents on London homes, it is claimed, could be four- or five-times higher than normal. And the millions of visitors due this summer apparently come bearing fistfuls of cash clamouring to rent your house in Stratford, flat in Bow or one-bed apartment in Blackheath.
After all my attempts to get hold of tickets to the Games failed, I decide to have a go at cashing in on this gold rush.
I've got a slightly down-at-heel three-bed house in Stoke Newington, Hackney, an "Olympic borough", just four stops from the stadium. It's got ugly PVC front windows, no downstairs loo and a front door you have to kick to get open but, still, I thought it's worth a shot. When the man from Foxtons estate agents breezed in he took a quick look around and declared I could rent it for £3,250 a week. As I stood there greedily planning how I'd blow this windfall, he started filling me in on a few costs. Firstly they would take a massive 26 per cent of this amount in fees. They would also charge an additional £1,000 administration fee which I'd have to pay up front (this covers cleaning before and after and I'm not sure what else). I'd also have to get an Energy Performance Certificate which Foxtons could supply for £75. And on top of all that, I'd have to pay tax on the rental income too. All this before I'd even begun to think about the paperwork, the legal forms, the tidying away of my personal belongings and the shifting of my family to my mum's house. I began to wonder if it was going to be worth the effort.
Still he managed to coax me to sign on the dotted line and I thought if nothing else it would allow me gauge if the price was as pie in the sky as it sounded. The following week they sent around a photographer. "Did you forget I was coming?" she said, taking one look round the sitting room.
Then I heard about Accommodate London, the people who set up Tennis London, which successfully cornered the market in letting out people's homes in the Wimbledon area during the tennis fortnight. Joanna Doniger, who started it back in 1993 is an old pro and currently has 300 Olympic properties on her books and is charging a much more palatable 15 per cent in fees.
Doniger is much more downbeat about my prospects. She reckons I could possibly get £300 per night (£2,100 a week) for my house. "I think people are being pretty unrealistic about pricing," she says. "Half of London didn't get any Olympic tickets so they want to get out of town and rent their houses out. Plus we are in the middle of a recession – corporate companies aren't spending money on this sort of thing. Ultimately it could be a way of making a bit of money to go on holiday, but it's not going to buy you a car or change your life." The areas where properties are shifting, she tells me, are Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, Stratford and Victoria Park. "And there seems to be a market for bigger houses with say five to six bedrooms," she says. Doniger wouldn't even take my house on, she says, because of bad transport links (the nearest station, Dalston, is a 10 minute walk away). When I tell her there's also a bus which will get you to the stadium in 25 minutes she laughs. I try Knight Frank, which was quoted in the media as saying it was a "unique, exciting, buzzy time" for short Olympic lets. They have Sol Campbell's Chelsea townhouse on their books for £75,000 a week. Jemma Scott, head of residential corporate services, tells me she usually deals with people of a "high net worth", and from them she is receiving an overwhelming amount of enquiries. "The kind of properties we are dealing with are in Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge," she says.
"And for those the clients expect to turn up with a suitcase and receive the standards of a seven-star hotel." Not a shabby family home in Stokey then.
So I turn to the web. Rent for the Games (rentforthegames.com) is a Canadian company that was set up in 2006 prior to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. "All the hotels have been booked up by the IOC and lack of accommodation was a real issue," says founder and CEO Martin Schoenberg. "We came along at the right time offering the right service."
Schoenberg and his team are now hoping to take their specialist Olympic knowledge and apply it to London and other Games following that. Schoenberg says a good ball-park rental figure is £1,000-£1,500 per bedroom, per week. Currently he has 100 properties available on the site and has already rented out more than 40, including a mansion in Wimbledon and a four-bed in Cambridge Heath for £3,500 a week. Time is on my side, he tells me. If their experience at Vancouver is anything to go by, things only really start hotting up four to five months before the Games actually start, so there's still time to get signed up.
It now seems there is quite a collection of people, in Hackney at least, who didn't get tickets and are now also looking to rent out their properties.
Kelly Stainton asked Next Move to come and give her a valuation on her four-bed house in Clapton.
"They told me that the demand is not yet proven and so are giving much more conservative estimates than have bandied around in the press," she says. "I'm not sure it's going to be worth the effort."
Another had interest from a prospective tenant who was coming from abroad and offered them her four-bed house for £4,000 per week, despite being quoted at £5,500 (Foxtons again). After a brief silence he came back with an email saying they had managed to find a hotel close to the Games site.
Perhaps London's dearth of hotel rooms has been exaggerated. It's estimated there are around 135,000 rooms within 50km of the Olympic Park. But that certainly doesn't account for where all those extra millions of visitors are planning to stay.
Right now one thing's for sure – it's not at my house. I've now put it on Gumtree, Craiglist and Crashpadder and heard not a peep out of any. It's been "heavily marketed" with Foxtons since November and the only contact I've had is a courtesy call to say I've had no offers. Perhaps we are being optimistic about prices.
Perhaps I should have tidied up for the photographer. Or perhaps I've just been a little bit too greedy.
Source: The Independent
Forget Poundbury. A tramp round the monumental Olympic village on Monday in chill sunshine allowed time to reflect that here, covering 67 acres, stands a 3.2-million-square-foot laboratory the size of St James's Park. A place where 6000 humans will fill 2800 homes by late 2014, to begin the biggest experiment in mixed-community living ever conducted in Britain.
Today Mayor Boris Johnson revealed which councils get to fill the nearly 700 flats reserved for the poorest families. More than half will come from Newham. In 12 months an equal number of subsidised flats for those on household incomes up to £60,000 will come to market. As will the 1400 private flats for those who can afford £1000 per month or more in rent.
Six months later, in mid-2013, the experiment begins with the staged handover of the homes from the Olympic Delivery Authority. This comes after a nine-month post-Games race to make the flats fit for the less athletic to inhabit. Those conducting the experiment say they are sure that, by mid-2014, the 11 eight-storey blocks in East Village, as it is to be called, will be filled.
Inhabitants will have a ready-made school for 1800 children and a ready-made town centre in the shape of Westfield Stratford. But this is not a sales pitch, for little of the village will be for sale.
The 1400 private flats (and land for 2000 more) were bought for £557 million by Jamie Ritblat's Delancey, with backing from Qatar. These will be rented. Join the queue on the East Village website.
The 700 flats left, after the councils take their 700, are reserved for those who cannot afford to buy - a whole flat at least. Some will be for rent, some for part-sale. Elliot Lipton's First Base, plus East Thames and Southern housing associations set up a joint venture called Triathlon Homes. That paid £268 million for these "affordable" homes, with a £110 million government grant and a £158 million bank loan.
Trouble is, you won't be able to get near the place until January 2013. That's when a "tenure blind" joint marketing suite will be set up on site by Delancey and Triathlon. Take it from me; you will need good eyesight to spot which flats are private, and which are subsidised. "We think the Village will have wide-ranging appeal'" says Barry Jessup of First Base: "from high flyers to local families."
Property sector interest is different. Could the East Village become a mixed-use template to build mixed communities where the property owner rents rather than sells, just as is normal with office blocks? Sceptics say not. The £825 million the taxpayer has received for 2800 homes and land is at least £200 million less than it cost to build the village and all its infrastructure.
But how about this? On Wednesday, Canary Wharf Group announced it had paid £90 million for full control of the 16.8-acre Wood Wharf site, to the east of its own fully infrastructured estate, which has planning for 1600 homes. The Qatari investors in East Village also own a quarter of the company that controls Canary Wharf. Only connect?Centre would prefer hubbie to hub
In property, "hub" is code for "what the hell else can we do with this dammed White Elephant". On Wednesday, the Olympic Park Legacy Company announced a shortlist of three smallish and untested firms to take possession of the one-million-square-foot Media and Broadcast centre after the games. One group wants to turn it into a fashion hub, another into a sport and retail hub and the third into an IT… well, you've guessed. This white elephant might die sometime before 2020.Change is in the Eyre… but finished product is still a mystery
At 10am precisely on Monday February 6, mounted soldiers of the King's Troop will clip-clop out of St John's Wood Barracks behind a military band, jingling their way to a new home in Woolwich.
A few days later, Malaysian billionaire, T Ananda Krishnan, will wire the bulk of the £250 million he agreed to pay the Eyre Estate last October for the five-acre barracks, owned by the Eyres since 1732.
Representatives of the 50-odd beneficiaries of the Eyre Estate, led by Jim Eyre, of architects Wilkinson Eyre, were reportedly a little teary when contracts were exchanged on October 21 at the Barbican offices of lawyers, Linklaters. Dry those eyes. Your agent, Cluttons, got you top price.
A price that means "Tak", as Krishnan is known, will need to sell the private units for £2500 per square foot.
Not that Tak needs to worry that much. The Malaysian of Sri Lankan extraction and who began his career as an oil trader after graduating from Harvard, is worth $9.6 billion (£6.2 billion), according to Forbes. He has interests around the world: a tiny slice of that is a 20% holding in Johnston Press, owners of the Yorkshire Post. So, a very busy man.
But those who know the highly active 73-year old, say the last thing he will do is simply get on and build the 133 homes designed for the Eyre Estate by architect John McAslan. For a start, the man who made his pile in energy and telecoms will need to appoint a big name to run Visionary Properties, the Jersey-registered company set up to build the 76 private and 57 affordable homes.
Then a development adviser who actually knows how to build high-priced homes will be required. That's because it is unlikely to be London Square - the developer staffed by former Barratt executives, which helped Tak formulate his bid.
A new team will probably suggest trying to find a cheaper spot to build the affordable units. Why? Two reasons. Getting £2500 square foot for the 357,400 square feet of sellable space adds up to nearly £900 million. The trouble is the 50,000 square feet of affordable homes are worth a 10th of that which clips more than £100 million from the end price. Finding another site makes financial sense, if the planners agree.
Tak might also be persuaded to build fewer, larger, units; something very à la mode at the moment. "When you are paying millions, you don't want to have your neighbours peering through the window," says one involved. So it could be that the burghers of St John's Wood will see something dramatically different emerge in a year or so.
Source: Evening Standard
Property rental prices in London are notoriously high but, even by the capital’s standards, shelling out £37,500 a week is steep. That’s how much it’ll cost you to rent this five-floor house in Greenwich, south London, during the Olympics this summer.
The £162,500-a-month price is justified, estate agent Knight Frank claims, as the Georgian home is in an ideal location for Olympic fans.
The Grade II-listed building has two reception rooms, three bathrooms and a temperature- controlled wine cellar.
Its original features include a 17th-century York stone floor, exposed wooden beams and log-burning fireplaces.
Michael Woda, a senior negotiator at Knight Frank, said the appeal of the property lies in its closeness to Greenwich Park, which will stage equestrian events.
‘We have had a growing number of calls from homeowners hoping to rent out their homes during the Games,’ he added.
Since London was confirmed as the Olympic host, many websites have sprung up offering owners the chance to rent out their homes.
But the high price tag for the end-of-terrace means it is more likely to attract corporate customers and sponsors.
The owner, believed to be a businessman who has an interest in the area, is currently giving the lower floor of his 343sq m (3,692sq ft) house a lick of paint.
If there are no takers to rent it, perhaps selling it may be an option.
The property is said to have fetched £225,000 in 1997 but is now valued at about £2.5million.