Ryder cup rental fails to tee off

KILDARE homeowners planning to make a killing by charging above-par rents to Americans during the Ryder Cup have been left in the rough. Local estate agents say reports of houses being snapped up for €35,000 a week, equivalent to more than €1.8m a year, are wildly exaggerated. The only…
What next for the stately home?
With prices falling and new taxes looming, sales of English country houses are in jeopardy, says Lucy Alexander of The Times.
It’s a situation that Francis Long, director of the high-end buying agency Hanslips, believes could be disastrous if combined with reductions in EU grants for farmers. Long quotes the National Farmers’ Union as saying that the European Single Farm Payment system is “in grave doubt from 2015.”
“A land tax, mansion tax and the withdrawal of subsidy could mean a notable increase in big estates being chopped up,” Long says. The result, he says, would be the opposite of what advocates of wealth distribution hope to achieve. “A lot of estates support the local community” he says, citing two examples in Berkshire, Englefield, owned by Richard Benyon, the MP for Newbury, and Yattendon, owned by Lord Iliffe, which subsidise housing and facilities such as pubs and post offices.
The likely result is, according to Long, a “wholesale foreign takeover” of our finest country houses. “If our landed estates go under the hammer, who will step in? Russians. Do you really think they are going to be pumping lots of money into the local community? Not a chance.”
But wouldn’t oligarchs be put off by a punitive tax regime in the same way as the English landed gentry? “It’s all relative,” Long says. “Would they rather have their money in a rather desperate bank in Damascus that might disappear overnight or in an English country estate? I was with a Lebanese buyer yesterday in Mayfair. He was a bit concerned about prices but he’d rather be here than in Beirut.”