The first proper crowds-and-all Great British summer of sport since before the pandemic began is almost upon us.
From Wimbledon to Silverstone, Wembley to St Andrews, all the major events are back on the calendar and being staged without restrictions for the first time since 2019.
And where there are people, there will be the need for overnight accommodation, which is where your home comes in if it happens to be located near a major sporting venue.
Profitable: Wimbledon homes rent for up to £16,000 a week over the tennis tournament
Letting out a house in the vicinity of a top event is bigger business now than ever before.
If you have a home within a 20-minute walk of Wimbledon’s All England Lawn Tennis Club in London SW19, you’re potentially looking at a weekly rent of £1,700 for a small apartment and £16,000 for a five-bedroom house with a secluded garden, according to Joanna Doniger, who runs Tennis London.
Owners get about 85 per cent of that fee — the rest goes to the agency as commission.
Doniger has been organising Wimbledon accommodation for players, media and sponsors since 1993 and personally inspects every apartment and house.
And we’re not talking a basic Airbnb here. The world’s top tennis players want exclusive accommodation and many say they enjoy Wimbledon because they get to use large houses with privacy, space for family and security staff, and features as good as they have in their own homes.
‘The owners move out and players move in for two or three weeks,’ says Doniger.
‘My clients want a full service structure, so if anything goes wrong or they can’t work something they get attention 24/7. They rely on me to sort problems quickly and efficiently.’
Even if your house does not run to the standards required by Rafael Nadal, you can still rent out to the hundreds of ground staff, hospitality workers, drivers and security personnel employed on site during the Wimbledon fortnight.
Tennis star: British No 1 Emma Raducanu
The same goes for other sporting events, in particular Silverstone’s British Grand Prix, which is set to see its largest summer crowd, of 350,000, over three days of practice and racing in early July.
So how much can homeowners expect to earn if they live within an exhaust fume of the circuit?
Research by personal finance website money.co.uk shows that the cost of Airbnbs in towns and villages nearby has soared by 235 per cent.
The average charge one week before the Grand Prix is £186 a night, accelerating more quickly than Max Verstappen to an average of £624 a night over the main race weekend.
Money.co.uk says this is the fourth biggest jump in Airbnb prices expected anywhere in the world this year.
The only places charging relatively more are those around various golf championships and the Kentucky Derby in the U.S., as well as this month’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Needless to say, the taxman will be interested in your extra earnings. But the good news is that if you let only a furnished room or a floor of your house rather than the whole property, the HMRC’s Rent a Room Scheme allows you to earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free, providing you’re still resident there. You can find more details at gov.uk.
If you’re letting out a whole property, the advice from experts is to use either an official short-lets service, such as Airbnb, or hire a lettings agent.
Going it alone and, say, putting an ad on Facebook can be demanding — some events have literally hundreds of applicants for well-located properties, making it difficult for a person letting for the first time.
However, the benefits to homeowners of living near a famous sports tournament go beyond just the high rental figure during the event — sometimes an entire city can be made more desirable if it’s the location for a major spectacular.
For example, house prices in Birmingham are expected to rise more than any other city in the UK in the next five years, buoyed by the 11 days and 19 sports on show at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, according to a new report from the property consultancy JLL.
It’s predicted that by the end of 2026, the price of the average home in Britain’s second city will rise by 4.9 per cent per year, while rental values will rise by 2.8 per cent annually.
The forecast cites the Commonwealth Games, being hosted at dozens of venues across the city in late July and early August, as being a key force behind this anticipated growth.
Nick Whitten, JLL’s head of UK residential research, says: ‘Birmingham is the next urban frontier for prospective buyers and investors. Thanks to the Commonwealth Games, along with other major developments, Birmingham’s cultural, economic, practical and professional offerings will all improve over the next five years.
‘If you were to buy a house for £500,000 tomorrow, you can expect it to be worth upward of £635,000 at the end of 2026.’
That’s evidence that the mantra ‘location, location, location’ can produce a gold medal return during major sporting events.
On the market… winning homes
Wimbledon: A five-bedroom three-storey home on one of the suburb’s most desirable roads with a 78ft garden and off-street parking. knightfrank.com, 020 4502 9545. £2,399,500
Silverstone: This detached 19th-century house at Towcester, Northants, near Silverstone, has been extended to four bedrooms and boasts a private garden. fineandcountry.com, 01604 309030 £800,000
St Andrews : A Two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in a converted hotel overlooking part of the historic Old Course — there is no better view. Savills.com, 0131 291 0073 £2,829,000