The 1996 Summer Games breathed new life into Atlanta's once staid downtown, says Realtor Debra Johnston of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty. Johnston says construction of the downtown area's Centennial Olympic Park as a hub for the Games "took a totally urban, 9-to-5 environment and made it into live/work space. Now a whole bunch of
Hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games put tiny Lake Placid, N.Y., on the map, says Roby Politi, a former mayor who runs local realty firm Merrill L. Thomas. After all, the town went down in Olympic history as the site of 1980's "Miracle on Ice," when the U.S. hockey team famously beat the heavily favored Soviets in the middle of the Cold War. "Lake Placid is probably the one place people associate the most with the Olympics," Politi says. "Los Angeles also hosted two Olympic Games, but does anyone remember that?" The broker says Lake Placid has maintained most of the 1980 facilities, and keeps the Olympic momentum going by regularly hosting world-class summer and winter sporting events. The U.S. Olympic Committee also has its main Eastern U.S. training facility in 2,500-population Lake Placid, which is some 290 miles north of New York City in the Adirondack Mountains. All of that has helped the community's real estate sector, which consists primarily of vacation homes. Median list prices rose 7% in town over the past year to reach $464,450, according to Realtor.com.
The City of Angels hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Games, but Realtor.com's Reynolds thinks that was too long ago to have much effect on home prices in a community as big as Los Angeles. "You definitely see the biggest impacts on the smaller cities," she says. Still, Reynolds was a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles during the Games and says the community did a good job of reusing the athletic facilities afterward for local sporting events. "They spread the Olympic events out throughout city and were able to use the infrastructure long after the Games ended," she says. According to Realtor.com, median Los Angeles list prices rose 6.1% over the past year to reach $350,000.
Utah broker Sandy Straley of SunView Homes believes the 2002 Winter Games helped Salt Lake City weather the Great Recession by bringing in lots of winter-sports tourism. "Salt Lake City hasn't been hurt as much as other big
St. Louis hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics so long ago that Realtor.com's Reynolds doubts the Games had any economic impact that remains to this day. "I think the
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe some 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, Squaw Valley was developed in the 1950s specifically with an eye toward capture the 1960 Winter Games. "There's no question that the Olympics put Squaw Valley on the map," says local broker Bill Deitz of Tahoe Luxury Properties. "We're a very different community because of the Games." Now a vacation destination for winter-sports enthusiasts, Squaw Valley maintains its 1960 slalom and giant slalom courses "so you can pretend that you're an Olympic skier," Deitz says. The town also attracts summer-sports lovers with mountain camping and hiking, as well as water sports on Lake Tahoe some two miles away. "Squaw Valley has done a good job of parlaying the energy behind the Olympics and carrying it forward into the future," Deitz says. Median list prices for the community (which is officially known as Olympic Valley, Calif.), rose 10.7% over the past year to hit $602,500, according to Realtor.com.