As most of us tighten our belts in the great Covid recession, the global super-rich are going on a property-buying spree.
During the lockdown, Venetian Times, a British aristocrat’s waterfront fortress on Corfu, sold for €12 million (£10.7 million) — a record for the Greek island. In New York, while Covid-19 raged around the city, two $30 million (£22.5 million) flats sold sight unseen in the 84-storey Steinway Tower, the world’s skinniest skyscraper. Meanwhile, according to the Italian press last week, Gallinara, an idyllic Mediterranean island close to Monte Carlo that has served as a hideout for popes and a fortified Nazi base, has been bought for €10 million by the son of a Ukrainian tycoon.
And Enness Global, a mortgage broker for high net worth buyers (those looking to borrow more than £5 million), has recorded a 44 percent increase in sums being borrowed between the first and second quarters of 2020, jumping from £1.3 billion to £1.8 billion.
Why, though, do the super-rich need to take out a mortgage? “Private banks love lending to people who don’t need to borrow money,” explains Islay Robinson, chief executive of Enness Global.
Robinson has just purchased a £28 million house in Chelsea for an American buyer doing just that. “In times of global catastrophe and recession, the wealthy must stay liquid. The more cash they have at their disposal when assets become distressed, they can take advantage of opportunities,” he says.