Author Topic: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC  (Read 29125 times)

goldengrove

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6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« on: September 23, 2013, 09:08:44 PM »
So I'm not sure which I find more horrifying: the size of these castles or the price of NYC dwellings...

http://www.buzzfeed.com/benrosen/6-castles-that-cost-less-than-an-apartment-in-nyc

ichangedmyname

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 09:16:23 PM »
I'd buy a castle.

sol

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 09:48:00 PM »
Comments on that article point out that all of the NYC apartments are typos or joke CL ads.

What struck me most wasn't the high cost of NYC apartments, but the low cost of European castles.  It seems to me that equivalent properties in the US cost much more.

gooki

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2013, 09:51:39 PM »
Could quite easily fit 5 or so mustachian families in a castle.

Anyone want to go 1/5th?

Jamesqf

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 10:44:37 PM »
What struck me most wasn't the high cost of NYC apartments, but the low cost of European castles.  It seems to me that equivalent properties in the US cost much more.

I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.  Not that most of those at that link really qualify as proper castles.  I mean no moats, no outer walls, most without even crenellation... 

Stives

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 11:24:11 PM »
Could quite easily fit 5 or so mustachian families in a castle.

Anyone want to go 1/5th?

Oh my goodness YES. I have a new life goal: buy a friggin' castle.

I don't think it's too anti-mustachian, really: to own a castle. We all scrimp and save so we can enjoy ourselves in few ways... and for me it would be owning a dang castle.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 11:26:08 PM by Stives »

Albert

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 11:36:59 PM »
What struck me most wasn't the high cost of NYC apartments, but the low cost of European castles.  It seems to me that equivalent properties in the US cost much more.

I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.  Not that most of those at that link really qualify as proper castles.  I mean no moats, no outer walls, most without even crenellation...

Would it be more proper to call them palaces? In any case the asking price might not be so high, but the maintenance costs are likely to be sky high. That might even be a reason why the original owners are selling.

some1

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 03:03:07 AM »
I agree, it's the maintenance cost that kills you. In addition, almost all historical buildings are subject to very strict regulations asking you to maintain and use your castle in a certain manner. 

Daleth

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 09:09:32 AM »
What struck me most wasn't the high cost of NYC apartments, but the low cost of European castles.  It seems to me that equivalent properties in the US cost much more.

I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.  Not that most of those at that link really qualify as proper castles.  I mean no moats, no outer walls, most without even crenellation...

Would it be more proper to call them palaces? In any case the asking price might not be so high, but the maintenance costs are likely to be sky high. That might even be a reason why the original owners are selling.

Maintenance, shmaintenance. Use part of the castle to earn money (corporate retreats, artists' or writers' retreats, vineyards, whatever) and you're golden. Property taxes in France are almost nothing compared to here, zoning laws are extremely liberal as long as you keep the place looking pretty on the outside, public transport (especially the high-speed trains) is amazing, and almost everybody wants to visit France "someday," so earning money by letting people stay there a few times a year would be easy-peezy. If anyone here wants to buy a castle or other real estate in France, seriously, PM me. I'm not up for investing right now but I used to live there--was on track to naturalizing as a French citizen--and know the place backwards and forwards.

ace1224

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 09:50:20 AM »
i want a castle now

Mega

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 10:13:20 AM »
None of those castles come with serfs.

What is the point of having a castle if it doesn't have any serfs?


dragoncar

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 11:22:10 AM »
Forget the castle, get an island.

Some are really cheap: http://tynan.com/island

Reddit has a subgroup dedicated to building "reddit island."  Maybe we should have a serious discussion regarding "mustache island."


Ps. We can build a castle on our island if we like.

daverobev

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 11:43:31 AM »
I'd love to be part of a group effort to buy 100 acres and have dispersed RV/camping/log cabins or whatever!

50 people at $5k each?

Jamesqf

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2013, 12:51:06 PM »
What is the point of having a castle if it doesn't have any serfs?

True, and not just serfs.  You need your corps of men-at-arms, too.  (Though since this is the 21st century, I'll accept women-at-arms as well.)

Mega

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 12:55:00 PM »
What is the point of having a castle if it doesn't have any serfs?

True, and not just serfs.  You need your corps of men-at-arms, too.  (Though since this is the 21st century, I'll accept women-at-arms as well.)

I was hoping to conscript from among the serfs. We can give them special treatment, and sweet names, like Sir Ronald the Red for the ginger fellow.

Dulcimina

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 01:44:41 PM »
What struck me most wasn't the high cost of NYC apartments, but the low cost of European castles.  It seems to me that equivalent properties in the US cost much more.

I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.  Not that most of those at that link really qualify as proper castles.  I mean no moats, no outer walls, most without even crenellation...

Would it be more proper to call them palaces? In any case the asking price might not be so high, but the maintenance costs are likely to be sky high. That might even be a reason why the original owners are selling.

Maintenance, shmaintenance. Use part of the castle to earn money (corporate retreats, artists' or writers' retreats, vineyards, whatever) and you're golden. Property taxes in France are almost nothing compared to here, zoning laws are extremely liberal as long as you keep the place looking pretty on the outside, public transport (especially the high-speed trains) is amazing, and almost everybody wants to visit France "someday," so earning money by letting people stay there a few times a year would be easy-peezy. If anyone here wants to buy a castle or other real estate in France, seriously, PM me. I'm not up for investing right now but I used to live there--was on track to naturalizing as a French citizen--and know the place backwards and forwards.

Brings to mind this article: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/william-alis-ancestral-dorset-home-house-tour-194924

Quote
The short story is that William's family have lived in the house for many, many generations, but he and his wife, Ali, have just recently taken residence since his father passed away five years ago (his parents didn't move in until he was a teenager, so he didn't spend much time in it until recently).

Trading in a life and career in London, William now has taken over managing the family estate and works full time on the various rental and events businesses related to the house, while continually fixing, upgrading and repairing the old thing. It's a stunning stately home that has been touched in various ways and in various styles over the hundreds of years, all of which are largely still visible as you walk around.

    IMPORTANT LINKS

    DeansCourt.org - which links to all of the home's businesses including the shops, garden shares, and cottages for rent

    Sharland & Lewis - The shops, one of which is at Deans Court, are Ali Hanham's business and sell new and vintage off and online. The shopkeeper at Deans Court is an Apartment Therapy reader, which I love. :)

    Deans Court Weddings - a separate site with wonderful pics showing weddings on the property

    Farrow & Ball - who introduced us to the Hanhams, and who are responsible for sourcing all the paints and colors for the home.

    The Hanham Baronets - the family line as listed by Wikipedia

    Deans Court Gardens - great pictures here shot by Ben Pentreath last spring when he visited

Dulcimina

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2013, 01:49:23 PM »
None of those castles come with serfs.

What is the point of having a castle if it doesn't have any serfs?

I'll work in the gardens (imagine having hundreds of acres to play with, not just having to grow everything in pots on an east-facing balcony), but you better not call me a serf!

Daleth

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2013, 05:39:21 PM »
None of those castles come with serfs.

What is the point of having a castle if it doesn't have any serfs?

I actually saw a castle in Scotland for sale on eBay several years ago that did come with serfs. I mean, they didn't use that term anymore, but that's what they were: people who PAID YOU for the right to farm your land and sell the proceeds themselves. They do all the work but pay you for the privilege because they're working on your land!

Russ

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2013, 05:49:38 PM »
None of those castles come with serfs.

What is the point of having a castle if it doesn't have any serfs?

I actually saw a castle in Scotland for sale on eBay several years ago that did come with serfs. I mean, they didn't use that term anymore, but that's what they were: people who PAID YOU for the right to farm your land and sell the proceeds themselves. They do all the work but pay you for the privilege because they're working on your land!

People rent farmland here in the States too... or is this something different?

NumberJohnny5

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2013, 09:51:47 PM »
I'd love to be part of a group effort to buy 100 acres and have dispersed RV/camping/log cabins or whatever!

50 people at $5k each?

Sounds like a good idea. 100 acres for $250,000 should be more than doable in Tennessee. Might not be that bike-friendly, but build a convenience store and do weekly/monthly runs to Walmart and Sam's Club....

Dr. A

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2013, 08:06:53 AM »
I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.

Au contraire, from my hometown: http://www.luxist.com/2008/02/06/searles-castle-estate-of-the-day/

Complete with crenellated walls, 36 fireplaces, and a dungeon... of course it was constructed in 1888, so it wasn't exactly built to defend against medieval hordes...

It recently sold for $15M.


blake201

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2013, 08:37:37 AM »
So I'm not sure which I find more horrifying: the size of these castles or the price of NYC dwellings...

http://www.buzzfeed.com/benrosen/6-castles-that-cost-less-than-an-apartment-in-nyc

Fortunately NYC is a big place. We're saving up for an apartment that will be very nice and run $180,000 or so.

I second that... we aren't ready to buy yet but we have done some open houses and seen some nice two-bedroom apartments in Queens and Brooklyn for $200,000-$250,000.

Albert

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2013, 11:37:19 AM »
I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.

Au contraire, from my hometown: http://www.luxist.com/2008/02/06/searles-castle-estate-of-the-day/

Complete with crenellated walls, 36 fireplaces, and a dungeon... of course it was constructed in 1888, so it wasn't exactly built to defend against medieval hordes...

It recently sold for $15M.

Yeah, the robber barons of the Gilded age built a fair number of mansions which could be classified as castles. Without the history, though.


Jamesqf

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2013, 11:51:18 AM »
Au contraire, from my hometown: http://www.luxist.com/2008/02/06/searles-castle-estate-of-the-day/

Complete with crenellated walls, 36 fireplaces, and a dungeon... of course it was constructed in 1888, so it wasn't exactly built to defend against medieval hordes...

Which pretty much eliminates the actual castle aspect, does it not?  Though it is a pretty nice house.

kyleaaa

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2013, 12:09:37 PM »
Property taxes and maintenance on castles like that in Europe are insane, so in reality, the NYC apartment is probably far, far more affordable. Still, it's a fun story.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2013, 12:11:13 PM by kyleaaa »

Daleth

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2013, 04:34:10 PM »
Property taxes and maintenance on castles like that in Europe are insane, so in reality, the NYC apartment is probably far, far more affordable. Still, it's a fun story.

Like I said upthread, no, property taxes are not insane (not in France anyway). They're surprisingly low. In France there are two different taxes that are both property taxes (much as we have city tax, school tax and sometimes an additional layer of "county tax" or something for our property taxes):

(1) "Taxe foncier" (property tax) is calculated roughly like so: Take the amount that the property could rent for per year; discount that amount by 50% to account for the cost of ownership (maintenance etc.); multiply that figure by 0.2% (for a primary residence) or between 1.2% and 1.7% (for a second home or investment property), and voila, that's your tax. So if you have a castle that you could rent out for $200k/year, cut that in half ($100k) and multiply by, say, 1.7%--that's $1700 a year. But then there are various exemptions and discounts available--for instance if you're a landlord and you're doing work on the property so it can't currently be inhabited, or if you've tried to find renters without success and it's been empty for more than 3 months, you get massive discounts.

(2) "Taxe d'habitation" (residence tax) is calculated similarly, except that the amount that the property could rent for is calculated based on figures that have not been updated since 1970! So you take the amount the property could've rented for in 1970, and then you multiply that number by the local tax rate (it varies somewhat from town to town but is along the lines of 5%) to determine the tax, and then you get various discounts (for instance there's a 10%-15% tax reduction for each dependent, e.g. child, that you have living with you). If the property is unusually valuable for the area, there's a tiny additional tax of either 0.2% (main homes) or 1.2% to 1.7% (second homes or investments), the same numbers as mentioned above.

Some links:
http://www.french-property.com/guides/france/finance-taxation/taxation/local-property-taxes/fonciere/
http://www.french-property.com/guides/france/finance-taxation/taxation/local-property-taxes/#9.1.

Jamesqf

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2013, 09:06:28 PM »
Property taxes and maintenance on castles like that in Europe are insane, so in reality, the NYC apartment is probably far, far more affordable.

Would you like to argue that NYC property tax rates aren't insane?  While I have no direct experience, a quick search suggests that an apartment would be taxed at 5.87% of its value.  Then there's an 8.875% sales tax.  And NYC also imposes its own income tax, in addition to federal and state income taxes.

dragoncar

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2013, 12:23:52 AM »
Property taxes and maintenance on castles like that in Europe are insane, so in reality, the NYC apartment is probably far, far more affordable.

Would you like to argue that NYC property tax rates aren't insane?  While I have no direct experience, a quick search suggests that an apartment would be taxed at 5.87% of its value.  Then there's an 8.875% sales tax.  And NYC also imposes its own income tax, in addition to federal and state income taxes.

I'm not really seeing that:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/property/property_bill_calculate.shtml

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2013, 07:46:57 AM »
As an apartment owner in NYC, I can tell you that we actually have quite low property taxes compared to the surrounding areas. This is, in fact, offset by city income tax if you are a high-income individual, but works out well if you own property but have little income.

The key to understanding the city property taxes is to ignore the headline tax rate, and notice that the "assessed value" is always calculated to be far below the market value. My 1100 square foot apartment is only a couple of thousand dollars a year in property tax, significantly less than the equivalent starter ranch home in one of the suburbs.

Jamesqf

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2013, 11:34:42 AM »
My 1100 square foot apartment is only a couple of thousand dollars a year in property tax, significantly less than the equivalent starter ranch home in one of the suburbs.

I'm not sure that proves anything beyond the fact that insane property tax rates are contagious :-)  I live a long way from NYC, and pay about half as much in property tax, on a place that's far from a "starter home".  No state income tax, either, and a lower sales tax rate.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2013, 11:36:52 AM »
My 1100 square foot apartment is only a couple of thousand dollars a year in property tax, significantly less than the equivalent starter ranch home in one of the suburbs.

I'm not sure that proves anything beyond the fact that insane property tax rates are contagious :-)  I live a long way from NYC, and pay about half as much in property tax, on a place that's far from a "starter home".  No state income tax, either, and a lower sales tax rate.

Yes, supply & demand economics tells us that it should be cheap to own land in places where other people don't want to. :-)

dragoncar

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2013, 06:49:06 PM »
My 1100 square foot apartment is only a couple of thousand dollars a year in property tax, significantly less than the equivalent starter ranch home in one of the suburbs.

I'm not sure that proves anything beyond the fact that insane property tax rates are contagious :-)  I live a long way from NYC, and pay about half as much in property tax, on a place that's far from a "starter home".  No state income tax, either, and a lower sales tax rate.

Yes, supply & demand economics tells us that it should be cheap to own land in places where other people don't want to. :-)

Somebody call the ICU and tell them we have a burn victim on the way!  (Assuming the victim lives anywhere near a competent burn unit)

Jamesqf

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2013, 08:28:15 PM »
Yes, supply & demand economics tells us that it should be cheap to own land in places where other people don't want to. :-)

Yet that same economics tells us that it should be cheaper (per capita) to provide a given level of government services in a place with more people, due to economies of scale.  Yet NYC (and surrounding, densely populated areas) seem to extract several times as much in taxes from each homeowner.  The actual cost of purchasing a house or apartment is irrelevant here: what matters is the tax paid by people owning similar property and/or in similar economic circumstances.

Also note that there's a difference between wanting to live in a place, and being able to arrange work &c so that you actually can live there without being independently wealthy.  As for instance I think a lot of people would like to live on a beach in Hawai'i, and many could afford the downpayment on a place there.  But how would most of them find work that would allow them to keep up with the mortgage?

Somebody call the ICU and tell them we have a burn victim on the way!  (Assuming the victim lives anywhere near a competent burn unit)

An excellent example.  In NYC a burn victim might need to be transported a couple of miles to reach a burn unit, which (there presumably being more burn injuries due to the greater population) should be able to make more effective use of its facilities.  Hereabouts, a burn victim might need to be transported 50 or 100 miles (often by expensive helicopter) to reach a burn unit.  Yet taxes are lower...
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 08:33:30 PM by Jamesqf »

Jack

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2013, 09:12:56 PM »
As for instance I think a lot of people would like to live on a beach in Hawai'i, and many could afford the downpayment on a place there.  But how would most of them find work that would allow them to keep up with the mortgage?

I'm honestly surprised that a bunch of big computing/tech companies -- especially Asian ones, since it's a foothold on USA soil that's still relatively convenient to Asia -- haven't opened offices there just because their employees would want to move there and could afford it.

Back on topic: If I were going to buy a castle, I'd want it to be fortified. What's the point of a castle if you can't use it to defend against the rampaging hordes?

Of course, I'd rather have the modern American equivalent: a nuclear missile silo.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 09:16:23 PM by Jack »

dragoncar

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2013, 10:23:21 PM »


Of course, I'd rather have the modern American equivalent: a nuclear missile silo.

Oh, you can get a half floor in one of those for only $1.5 million: http://www.survivalcondo.com/

capital

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2013, 03:05:48 PM »
As for instance I think a lot of people would like to live on a beach in Hawai'i, and many could afford the downpayment on a place there.  But how would most of them find work that would allow them to keep up with the mortgage?

I'm honestly surprised that a bunch of big computing/tech companies -- especially Asian ones, since it's a foothold on USA soil that's still relatively convenient to Asia -- haven't opened offices there just because their employees would want to move there and could afford it.
It's hard to build an in-depth labor & job market from scratch. Employers are unlikely to open an office where there's no pre-existing pool of employees to hire out of, and employees won't move to a place where there's only one employer. Compounding that, Hawaii is really far from the rest of the US and in a very different time zone, which makes it hard to do business with and hard for employees with family back on the mainland. California similar climactic and lifestyle virtues, in many ways.

ch12

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2013, 04:26:21 PM »
I was briefly interested in tossing in my lot for Chateau Blavou, simply because it is gorgeous and I think that with 10 bedrooms, a caretaker's house, and a guest house the estate could probably support 7 families at least. I engaged in a 21 Balloons fantasy where the Mustachian families living there took turns cooking for a week at a time. Hey, we'd be Mustachians, and we'd have the time. We'd have enough community to have cool people to hang out with and few enough people that we could closet ourselves away.

But I can see that a mini ERE city in the form of a French estate isn't to be. It's a bit funny, but I've got quite a bit of family in France. Comtesse de Vogue (probably not spelling that right) was my aunt's godmother and her husband's family had a business renovating their chateaux and renting rooms in them out like hotel rooms. I think that those are in the Loire Valley, but I'm not sure.

I'm seeing that this thread transitioned over to talking about islands and someone wondered why companies didn't just plunk down somewhere tropical. I can haz cheezburger (referred to employees as "cheezburger") actually ran the numbers on setting up shop on their own private island. I had this conversation with one of their software engineers. Over the short term, it was cheaper/neck and neck with their cost of operating in NYC. Over the long term, though, it was expensive to put in infrastructure like hospitals and schools. The nearest hospital to their proposed island was just too far away, even for medevac helicopters. So they remain in NYC.

Albert

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2013, 04:39:01 PM »
On the surface it might seem easy for a tech company to move to a tropical place like Hawaii. Actually I suspect it would be very expensive, for some industries virtually impossible. There is no infrastructure, no supply chain (for companies dealing with non-virtual goods), no readily available local pool of employees, inconvenient time zone, huge travel expenses. You'd have to import most of your higher level employees and pay them a premium for being far from families and taking a risk with only employer in town.

MrsPete

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Re: 6 Castles that Cost Less than an Apartment in NYC
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2013, 06:51:40 PM »
What struck me most wasn't the high cost of NYC apartments, but the low cost of European castles.  It seems to me that equivalent properties in the US cost much more.

I don't think there's really much of anything in the US that would be equivalent to a castle.  Not that most of those at that link really qualify as proper castles.  I mean no moats, no outer walls, most without even crenellation...
We have Biltmore House in the NC mountains.  It's not actually a castle because it contains no defenses, but it might be the best we could offer on American soil.