Where to find your own fairy­tale cas­tle

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

is ev­i­dence that the younger gen­er­a­tion is favour­ing clas­sic his­toric homes over more mod­ern prop­erty. They’re at­tracted by the good value, the bet­ter con­struc­tion meth­ods, the char­ac­ter and the sense of sta­bil­ity.”

A re­cent re­port by Pan­tera, the prop­erty agency, found that 26 per cent of Ger­mans un­der 30 would like to live in a cas­tle. “Many buy­ers are also look­ing for bet­ter places to in­vest their money these days, and his­toric prop­erty keeps its value. In Ger­many, you can also write off the cost of ren­o­va­tions of a his­toric home against in­come tax for 10 years,” says von Schenck.

In ad­di­tion to Cas­tle Sil­berer, En­gel & Völkers is cur­rently list­ing a six-bed­room, baroque-style “mini­palace” in Salzkam­mergut, Aus­tria, dat­ing to 1899. It has a fab­u­lous and or­nate en­trance, lovely pe­riod dé­cor and, though ex­tended, is of a man­age­able size, though the price tag won’t be man­age­able for ev­ery­one at €5mil­lion.

A 90-minute drive from Ber­lin sits Schloss Bären­klau, con­sid­ered to be one of the youngest palaces in Bran­den­burg with a date of 1928. The neo­clas­si­cal man­sion, priced at €3.9mil­lion, has ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect of a palace, from stone col­umns to a grand stair­case, huge fire­places, vaulted ceil­ings and a park of four hectares.

Many his­toric prop­er­ties aren’t widely mar­keted, so it’s worth check­ing out por­tals such as Lux­u­ryEs­tate for avail­able cas­tles and palaces across Eu­rope. It lists a large num­ber in both Aus­tria and Ger­many, in­clud­ing a baroque cas­tle with moat in Aus­tria at €2.4mil­lion and a ren­o­vated 13th-cen­tury Ger­man cas­tle in the Ruhr area for €790,000.

The most pop­u­lar his­toric prop­er­ties are neo­clas­si­cal in style and date to the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies. Homes with a park or shoot­ing es­tate within 90 min­utes of a main city such as Mu­nich or Frank­furt com­mand high prices, although bet­ter value can be found in more ru­ral ar­eas of eastern Ger­many, where von Schenck says it’s pos­si­ble to buy a coun­try es­tate for less than €1mil­lion.

He also claims Aus­trian prop­erty is more pop­u­lar with both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­vestors. “Aus­tria has the ad­van­tage of be­ing a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, and is pop­u­lar with buy­ers from across Eu­rope, Amer­ica, Rus­sia. This keeps prices higher, es­pe­cially in ar­eas close to ski des­ti­na­tions.”

The high­est de­mand for cas­tles and sprawl­ing, or­nate man­sions in Aus­tria is in Vi­enna, where some of the grand­est res­i­dences were built in the late 1800s. “There is a long tra­di­tion of build­ing palaces in Aus­tria,” says Su­sanne Thomanek, Sotheby’s lo­cal agent. “This is partly be­cause the in­dus­tri­al­ists of the time weren’t aris­toc­racy, so used lav­ish homes as an en­try to so­ci­ety.”

Prices for the most ex­pen­sive Vi­en­nese prop­erty have peaked for the past few years at €1,860 per sq ft, but it is now al­most im­pos­si­ble to find a com­plete palace avail­able for pur­chase. Most of those in Vi­enna’s First Dis­trict, over­look­ing the fa­mous Ringstrasse, have been split into apart­ments that are pop­u­lar with in­ter­na­tional buy­ers who love the space, clas­si­cally or­nate fea­tures and cen­tral lo­ca­tion.

Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Real Es­tate has sev­eral in­cred­i­ble apart­ments in his­toric Vi­en­nese palaces for sale, in­clud­ing a two-storey ren­o­vated gem with fab­u­lous views and pe­riod fea­tures, a snip at €35.26mil­lion. By con­trast, the agency’s Ger­man of­fice is cur­rently list­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary me­dieval cas­tle com­plex with 23 bed­rooms, a ruined tower and chapel in 2.4 acres near Wies­baden, in the Rhine Val­ley, for €2.9mil­lion.

Thomanek says buy­ers need to be aware of the com­mit­ment in­volved in own­ing a his­toric home, and that the up­keep – let alone the restora­tion of these of­ten-crumbling palaces – can be around €93 to €186 per sq ft. “Buy­ers are keen to have some­thing au­then­tic but own­ers of old build­ings have a big re­spon­si­bil­ity,” she says. “They’re buy­ing his­tory.”

Main, a cas­tle near Wies­baden, €3.9m, with Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Real Es­tate

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