This may be a moot point, but if I had £300m going spare, I still wouldn’t spend it on the most expensive house ever sold (if it ever sells) in Britain. I mean it. Even if a philanthropic billionaire dies and leaves me the full £321m – that stamp duty won’t pay itself – I wouldn’t tank it on a 45-bedroom mansion near Hyde Park.
Nor, it seems, would anyone else, given that the property has been on sale for several months and hasn’t shifted. I imagine people have been put off by the address: 2-8a Rutland Gate. That a implies a b. And that b implies a basement flat with a bloke who plays the bongos and likes to throw barbecues for his bongo-playing friends. I used to live above just such a man, and, after a few months, I would have buried him under the patio with no guilt whatsoever.
And all the swimming pools in the world won’t make up for the location. The house overlooks Hyde Park, which means it also overlooks some of the noisiest, most tourist-filled roads in London. Are 45 bedrooms really going to make up for the misanthropy and the air pollution?
Quite aside from anything else, it’s terrible value for money. You could get 1,200 of my one-bedroom flat (a couple of miles up the road, and the view is more train tracks than park, but still) for the same money. I hardly need to point out that you would then have 1,200 bedrooms rather than 45. Not looking so alluring now, is it?
I mean, sure, the decor apparently includes millions of pounds’ worth of gold leaf, but doesn’t that sound just a teeny, tiny bit vulgar? Most of us don’t feel the need to coat our homes in gold foil, because we’re worried it might then resemble the crown of a small child in a nativity play. And we are right.
One property expert has described it as “a trophy rather than an investment”, which is estate agent speak for “massively overpriced”. Besides, the point of a trophy is that it represents a victory. And tanking hundreds of millions of pounds is a victory only if you’re playing the board game Go for Broke. In real life, not so much.