BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- The whole world has turned its eyes to London to watch the 2012 Olympic Games, providing publicity that can boost a city's image -- and property values -- for years to come.
"Hosting an Olympics can definitely be a positive, especially for smaller communities that hold Winter Games," says Julie Reynolds of Realtor.com, which recently found that five of the six U.S. cities that have held Olympics saw above-average price gains over the past year.
Atlanta (1996 Summer Games), Los Angeles (1932 and 1984 Summer Games), Salt Lake City (2002 Winter Games), Lake Placid, N.Y., (1932 and 1980 Winter Games), and Squaw Valley, Calif., (1960 Winter Games), all saw median asking prices rise more than the 2.7% U.S. average in the 12 months ended June 30. Only St. Louis (1904 Summer Games) trailed the nation as a whole.
Reynolds says big cities such as St. Louis generally get less of a boost from the Olympics than tiny markets such as Squaw Valley.But she says some locales large and small have managed to hold on to gold-medal gains for years by using facilities built for the Games for other purposes. "Smart towns find that they can use infrastructure built for world-class Olympic events to drive such things as tourism," Reynolds says, noting that Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park -- built for the 1996 Games -- has especially become a hub of local economic activity. Here's a look at real estate in all six American cities that have hosted Summer or Winter Games over the years. All pricing figures reflect median asking prices as of June for properties listed on Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' official listing site.