Shameless Olympics tie-in: how many medals would Team GB need to have won to keep pace with house prices?

All anyone is going to be talking about for the next few days is Team GB’s success at the Olympics. And why not? The last two weeks have reminded us how much we love dancing horses, people who run very fast and four person kayaks.

So in the tradition of single issue organisations everywhere, we have our very own shameless Olympics house prices tie-up question: how many medals would Team GB have had to win in Rio to keep pace with house price growth since London 2012?

Imagine the scenario: on the flight home one winning athlete is lamenting house price growth and the fact that they are still having a crummy time in England’s private rented sector. They won a medal in London too and hoped that by Rio they might have been able to afford a place of their own, but no.

So in the warm afterglow of the closing ceremony, every one of Team GB’s medal winners agrees to club together, have all their winnings melted down and flogged to try and help one of their number onto the ladder. (How’s that for team work?)

Any school kid worth their Olympics trivia book will be able to tell you that gold medals aren’t actually made of gold. According to The Sun, the amount of actual gold in each gold medal is about 6 grams, with the rest made up of silver and copper, putting their current metal value at £387. Silvers are worth £236; bronzes, just £3.

So there’s no chance that even with their record-winning haul they’re going to be able to buy a place outright. But they might hope that they could get enough together cancel out house price growth and to let our renting athlete buy a place at 2012 values.

The question is: would they manage?

(Of course they would make more money if they didn’t melt them down and sold them as medals instead. But that would be cheating and this is a hypothetical scenario in the name of science.)

House prices weren’t exactly low back in 2012 when London hosted the Olympics, but since then they’ve gone up faster than a Mo Farah sprint finish and higher than a Johnson-Thompson GB record-smashing high jump. Average prices in England went up £50,000 between June 2012 than June this year, to take them to £229,000.

An initial tot-up using the medal table totals gives Team GB a combined total of £15,928, well short of the £50k they would need to keep up with house prices.

However, they have a final factor boosting their already mammoth medal tally: team sports. There may be no silver bullet, but could the women’s 100m relay team hold the, err, bronze bullets?

Take hockey, for example. On the medals table the women’s hockey victory just counts as one gold, but it actually contributes 15 medals to the team fund, at a total value of nearly £6000.

Taking all of the team events into account, then, the number of gold medals won by Team GB goes up from the 27 to 62. These get thrown into the pot with 46 silvers (up from 23) and 25 bronzes (up from 17).


But even with those team medals, house prices have gone up by much, much more.

In fact, Team GB need a further 39 golds to raise the funds they need.

Don’t lose heart for our hypothetical GB medal winner, though. They still have the Paralympics to come and a potential deal with any prospective GB champions.

Everyone else struggling with high private rents, unable to save and unable to call on a gilded athletics team, will have to look for another solution.