The Queen's 'property portfolio' soars 10 per cent in value to £12 billion

The Crown Estate made £39 million from residential lettings in 2015...

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The Queen’s property portfolio value rose nearly 10 per cent to £12 billion this year with the Treasury scooping a record £304.1 million in profits.

The Crown Estate, which owns most of the shops, offices and apartments on Regent’s Street as well as much of St James’ Street, contributed more than £30 million pounds more to the public coffers this year than in 2015.

The monarch has one of the largest property portfolio holdings in the UK and this year the Crown Estate, which manages it, achieved a market beating return up 6.7 per cent on 2015 following the £1.5 billion it invested in regenerating Regent Street and St James’ Street.

In 2015/16 it earned £92.6 million in revenue from West End retail and £75.4 million in revenue from central London office rents and £39 million from residential lettings in the capital. 

“Even with Brexit, the ultra-prime properties that The Crown Estate holds are unlikely to decline in value that much, and in addition, the Crown Estate is run like a large commercial landowner and developer,” Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Mayfair estate agent Wetherell, said.

“In recent years, properties in ultra-prime London locations have been refurbished and leased as ultra-luxury residences, bringing in more revenue. So it’s highly doubtful whether there will be a long term dip in profits or payouts to the Royal Household and the Sovereign.”

The amount of money the Queen receives from the property portfolio is set at 15 per cent of The Crown Estate’s profits meaning that this year she got £43 million and if it stays the same she can expect to receive £45 million next year, compared with £31 million in 2012.

The property portfolio and its profits have not been managed by the British monarch since George III surrendered control of it to Parliament in 1760.

News of the upsurge in profits comes ahead of a review of the amount of money the Queen receives from the Treasury, known as the Sovereign Grant.

The grant, which is paid every two years and reviewed every five, was set at 15 per cent in 2012.

This year the Queen spent 30 per cent of the Sovereign Grant on property maintenance of her estate which is “deteriorating at a faster rate than they have been able to respond to,” according to Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Alan Reid.

During a briefing to launch the report on royal spending, he said: "In 2015-16 spending on property maintenance amounted to £16.3 million and that's 30 per cent of our total expenditure - that's an increase of 39 per cent compared with spending on property maintenance last year."

Sir Alan said a “significant amount” of this year’s grant would be used to tackle a backlog in essential maintenance.

“Given the poor state of repair of many of the Royal Palaces, and all the tourist generating expenses of this year, its arguable that a pay rise for Her Majesty is long overdue,” Wetherell said.

The Queen’s occupied Royal Palaces such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are not managed by the Crown Estate and her private homes, including Sandringham House and Balmoral which have been handed down from previous generations, are wholly in her control.

Buckingham Palace is due to undergo £150 million refurbishment including new plumbing and wiring, with some rooms having been last decorated in 1952. The palace declined to confirm whether the funds for these renovations will be taken entirely from the Royal Household's principal revenue stream. A range of costings and timeframes for the required work are expected to be published.

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