Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Wemmel > Blog > High interest in grand country estates and historic townhouses

High interest in grand country estates and historic townhouses

Stately homes and wine-growing estates set in unique natural surroundings rank amongst the most sought-after places to live in the world – for people from all over the world fascinated by their remarkable heritage. “The Covid-19 pandemic has given strength to the trend of aspiring to the country way of life, and has meant that truly exceptional properties such as châteaux, manor houses and wineries are now in even greater demand. Such properties rarely come onto the market and are highly desirable among those with a keen eye on such heritage estates,” says David Scheffler, CEO of Engel & Völkers in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, adding: “Historic properties in towns and cities are also extremely sought-after. Homes steeped in history are both a lifelong dream and a lifetime’s work, often owned by many generations of the same family for a long period indeed.” Over recent months, Engel & Völkers has seen an increase in client interest in the premium segment for stately homes in rural regions, as well as townhouses with a unique and noteworthy past.

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- “Château de Mazelieres” near the French commune of Nérac is on the market with an asking price of 2.95 million euros. (Image source: Engel & Völkers Market Center Paris)

France: Traditional castle for wine lovers and connoisseurs

Wine estates make for prestigious investment properties and allow owners to make a special kind of dream a reality. The 17th century “Château de Mazelieres” is currently on sale for 2.95 million euros. It is situated near the French commune of Nérac, which was the court of King Henry IV during the Renaissance period. The property has interiors spanning a total of 1,834 square metres, complete with eight bedrooms and six bathrooms. It is surrounded by abundant nature, on a plot of around 57 hectares that forms part of a wine region. This area of southwest France enjoys a warm climate with a Mediterranean feel. The hillsides face in such a way that ample sunlight and a good grape harvest are guaranteed. “Every château is a reflection of a long tradition, with a unique history that is continued with the arrived of a new custodian. Brokering exclusive estates like these requires expertise that only experience can bring, especially when it comes to potential concepts for use, renovation work required, and collaborating with the local heritage office,” says David Scheffler.

Belgium: Resplendent mansion with French grandeur     

In the heart of the Belgian city of Antwerp is a historic mansion dating back to the late 19th  century, currently on sale with Engel & Völkers for 12.5 million euros. The property is currently used as both a private residence and a boutique. It affords a mix of splendid architecture and French charm. An elegant reception area, prestigious office spaces, and a showroom can be found on the first floor. The interiors span over 1,890 square metres in total and include five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Lofty ceilings with cornicework, whimsical marble accents, ornate parquet floors and beautifully restored murals all contribute to the special ambience within.

Belgium: Park residence in picturesque natural surroundings 

Not far from the Belgian capital, in the municipality of Overijse, Engel & Völkers is brokering a historic residence dating back to the early 20th century. The stately home, refurbished in 2004, comprises seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The 750-square-metre living space was designed by the Belgian interior designer and art dealer Alex Vervoord. The estate includes a magnificent 50-hectare park, lined with over 4,000 yew trees and featuring a beautiful lake. “Stately homes set in private parkland grounds are genuinely rare on the real estate market. They offer unparalleled luxury and uncompromised privacy, as they allow owners to enjoy the great outdoors without having to leave their property,” David Scheffler says.

Luxury retreats ideal for finding self-fulfilment    

Acquiring and then restoring and maintaining historic properties and country estates involves a great deal of responsibility, which goes hand in hand with an exceptional level of passion, expertise, and a love for detail. “Our clients in this special market segment come predominantly from China, the USA and South America. Among European prospective buyers, the French make up the largest group at over 60 percent,” says David Scheffler, describing the typical buyer profile for castle and vineyard owners. While country estates with vineyards are usually acquired by wine-loving investors like professional producers and traders, 17th and 18th century châteaux are particularly popular with French clients. Besides this potential for appreciation in value, the emotional returns from residing in such historic walls and being a part of preserving real history is what truly matters for many owners. The limited number of such property listings coming onto the market means that prices for grand country estates and historic townhouses are set to remain stable in the future. 

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