Over the past few years the wealthy appear to have been moving away from buying large country estates and mansions in favour of turnkey luxury properties that are low on maintenance. I assume that they simply don’t want the bother and expense of keeping such large establishments going, and I have noticed many a dream property stalling on the market in search of a buyer. If people don’t want these places, who is going to want the substantial collections of art and antiques that have traditionally filled them? And if they don’t, does that mean prices will fall along with demand? That sort of thing can be a bit of a worry if you’re in a business like mine.
Now, however, the pandemic has clearly led to a rethink and only this week I have been reading about how rich city dwellers are all set to find themselves a comfortable country retreat, with all the amenities that go with it, as a sanctuary against a repeat performance of these unprecedented times. It’s an irony that as the rest of the property market is expecting to see falls of up to twenty per cent in value, the very top end may well enjoy an increase in demand.
It’s a shame that tragedy is the cause of this about face in attitudes, but if it means the preservation and revitalisation of a major part of our cultural tradition, then I, for one, will be focusing on the silver lining rather than the cloud.