Whenever the real estate market takes a hit, luxe pundits sing a familiar tune: that the luxury market is insulated or that the best of the best is recession-proof. It seems however that no one is thoroughly immune, perhaps that the dropping tide pulls down all boats-even those in Her Majesty’s service.
Zoopla, a UK property website that assesses and releases estimates of the value of residential property both on the market and off to casual browsers and serious buyers alike, announced that Buckingham Palace dropped in value by $100 million over the past year. The Queen’s weekend retreat Windsor Castle, too, dropped by about $15 million dollars, in the same time frame.
Valued at $1.8 billion last year, Buckingham Palace is the sine qua non of the British Monarchy. The 52 bedroom home to the Royals in central London has been the official royal residence since Queen Victoria lived there full time in 1837. King George III purchased the 40-acre parcel in 1761 for 1/45,000th of its current estimated value of $1.7 billion.
The tourist destination has its own cinema, swimming pool, and Post Office and is most certainly not on for sale at any price. Though if it were, realtors would be eager to highlight the possibilities for entertaining-each year 50,000 guests attend soirees from garden parties to banquets.
The Palace which has seen the Royals through empire and defeat, through coronations and revolutions, through World War and private scandal, is surely a national treasure whose value resides in symbolism and sentiment far beyond its Zoopla price-but it’s nice to know that Her Majesty is feeling the credit crunch, too.