Interview Freiherr von Schenck

Interview Freiherr von Schenck How many castles and historical properties are sold every year in Germany?

On average, there are around 20 to 30 transactions of castles and historical estates in Germany every year. Engel & Völkers brokers an average of five castles a year, sometimes more, sometimes less.

What are the advantages of buying a castle in comparison to “normal” residential real estate?

When buying a historic building, especially one that requires renovation, there are certain tax advantages, the possibility of amortisation via the so-called Denkmal-Afa (restoration of listed buildings). Therefore, the buyer can write off a large part of the investment. The market for historical estates is currently experiencing high demand, not least as a secure investment, so-called „concrete gold“.

How are castles used?

In the first instance, private buyers view them as cherished projects. Investors and project developers have completely different motives. They search for historical properties for economic use as a restaurant, hotel, convention or seminar centres, holiday apartments or event space. As high-value rental housing in urban centres is becoming more and more limited, investors are increasingly investing in castles in order to turn these into living space.

Who are the buyers?

The buyers come from Germany and from abroad. Medium sized companies buy an object in order to renovate it as well as international buyers who already own several properties. We have interested buyers from ex-Soviet countries such as Russia, or from the Middle East, as well as the US, England or China. The majority of interested buyers are Germans. Besides castles, there is a high demand for manor houses, mansions, country estates or forts, often even old monasteries. The main areas of interest are Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Spain, France and Switzerland.

What are the purchase motives?

Purchase motives vary as much as the interested parties. Often private buyers with an entrepreneurial background buy this kind of property to fulfil a dream. For them, the purchase is a very emotional choice. Often, a pronounced respect for tradition is part of this desire, buying a piece of history with the castle and living life as lord of the manor. Often, the property should serve as an ancestral home for the following generations, a long-term investment. Some celebrities buy this kind of property as a place for retirement.

How much does a castle cost on average?

For castles in a good condition, the purchase price lies between six and 20 million Euros. Property requiring renovation often changes hands, and frequently costs a lot less. Historical estates don’t always cost as much as people think. Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy a manor house steeped in history than an apartment in a big city. Of course, in such cases the renovation and follow-up costs are much higher.