How footballers choose their homes

The House & Home supplement of the weekend Financial Times included an analysis of how footballers (and elite sportsmen more generally) choose their homes.   Not surprisingly, some of them have got their fingers burnt, but their buying habits can also have a major impact on local property markets.

The House & Home supplement of the weekend Financial Times included an analysis of how footballers (and elite sportsmen more generally) choose their homes.   Not surprisingly, some of them have got their fingers burnt, but their buying habits can also have a major impact on local property markets.

According to the Pink ‘Un the arrival of Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham marked the beginning of a spurt of super home building in the area that continues today.   An estate agent is quoted as saying that before then homes of more than 5,000 square feet were rare, but new builds are now up to 12,000 square feet.    A six bedroom family home is currently on the market for £4.5m.

In Barcelona, players and coaching staff from FC Barcelona account for five to 10 property sales above €2,5m a year.   The right house has to be close to the training ground or Camp Nou and offer privacy and security, preferably through a gated community.

However, some of the alterations that footballers make can be a problem when it comes to selling the property.   Not everyone wants huge home cinemas or big games rooms, least of all a basement converted into a slot machine arcade as in one notorious example.

When Newcastle’s property market turned sour following the financial crisis, many footballers took a hit. Local estate agent Duncan Young told the FT, ‘They were young, inexperienced in buying property, and didn’t know much about the area,’   Many paid top prices at the peak of the market and then splashed more cash on fancy interiors and extensions.

One home north of the city is on the market for £2.95m.   The footballer owner invested £4.5m in the property.   Another sold his home for £1.6m last summer, having bought it for £2.7m.

It’s all a long way from the days of the maximum wage when players were regarded as artisans.  In order to smooth transfers and to help attract the best players it was customary to provide ‘club houses’ which were made available at a favourable rent.

These were usually relatively modern semi-detached properties.   Charlton even built a couple of them next to The Valley.   However, I recall reading one football memoir where a player was suddenly told he was being transferred.   The club house he was offered was in a disgusting state, his wife said she wasn’t moving to the shock and horror of the club’s management at this unusual rebellion.

It’s all different now.  One service that agents provide to their cosseted clients is finding them suitable rented properties, particularly if they have a loan move.   Moves around the country can be disruptive to family life and many managers, knowing that their stay at Borchester Rovers is likely to be a short one, leave their families elsewhere.

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