Against the opinion of Lee Dixon, Lambourne’s business partner and a former Arsenal defender that “some people would perhaps rather have a doctor for a neighbour” there are a many advantages to have a famous football player moving to your area. A research from a buying agency specialised in finding homes for sports celebrities revealed that towns and villages in which footballers have bought properties have had bigger price increases than in similar areas.
There are many examples that can sustain this opinion. John Terry, the Chelsea captain owns a home near the club’s training ground in Cobham, Surrey. Since he moved there in 2004 the price of a detached property in the area has risen by 28 per cent. An even more impressive change in the value of the properties in the area they moved was given by David and Victoria Beckham. Since they became residents of Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire in 1999 property values have risen by 84 per cent. Five years ago, the Arsenal defender Sol Campbell bought his home in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Since that moment prices have gone up by nearly a third. The prices in the area where Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United’s young Portuguese winger, owns a flat have been growing too. Actually not only Alderley Road in Wilmslow, where Ronaldo’s property can be found is more valuable but the entire Cheshire, which is close to Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Blackburn, particularly in “Gold Trafford”,
the triangle that runs from Wilmslow to Alderley Edge and Hale.
An explanation for the rising prices of the properties in the areas where footballers are buying comes from Jeremy Lambourne, director of Oakhall, the same agency that came out with this finding. Lambourne says that “football players will very often improve an area because they spend money on their homes and bring in investment,” Not far from this opinion is Stuart Flint, who covers the smartest parts of Cheshire for Knight Frank who believes that “footballers are well advised these days and they understand the importance of maintaining their properties”.
But are any disadvantages in having a football celebrity as your neighbour? The same residents that benefited from the increased prices of their properties in Cobham, Surrey had to face the congestion created by the cars parked along the narrow roadside when John Terry held a party for his team-mates at his home. David and Victoria Beckham’s neighbours have had to suffer an invasion of paparazzi and fans since these celebrities became their neighbours. But generally footballers are not worse neighbours than ordinary people.
Another interesting finding about the properties where footballers chose to invest is revealed by by Country Life. Their survey’s results suggest that rather than always going for Dallas-style new-builds, footballers are increasingly buying country houses. The same magazine reveals that 20 prime country homes costing more than £2 million each have been snapped up by premiership footballers over the past three years. As Mark Hedges, editor of Country Life, says: “Like most people who buy these properties, footballers — despite what you may see on TV — are looking for somewhere with character that also has peace and quiet.”
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