How much it costs to keep a Californian palace running: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could face eye-watering bills up to $4.4 million on their new Santa Barbara mansion
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion in California could cost as much as $4.4million a year to run. The pair are purchased the sprawling property, which sits on 5.4 acres of land, from a Russian businessman with a $9.5million mortgage after the price was knocked down by more than $10million.
The ‘palatial’ 14,563-square-foot home, located in upscale Montecito, was bought for $14.65million on June 18. But the mansion comes with eye-watering bills of its own which could stretch as high as $4.4million per year… so what exactly makes their new property so expensive? Click through to find out…
MORTGAGE: $480,000 PER YEAR: Harry and Meghan bought the luxury property after securing a $9.5million mortgage, it is believed, implying that they made a down-payment of more than $5.2million. At typical interest rates provided by Bank of America, the couple would have to pay $40,000 a month or $480,000 a year in order to repay the mortgage over 30 years.
The couple have bought the property despite still owing the British taxpayer £2.4million ($3.1million) for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage, their former home near Windsor Castle. Reports said yesterday that Harry and Meghan purchased the home with help from Prince Charles, but a source told DailyMail.com said that the couple ‘feel proud to have struck out on their own and they are saying they bought it without any help from his family. At their peak Harry and Meghan’s combined wealth had been estimated to be around $43million.
PROPERTY TAX: $68,000 PER YEAR: Finance technology firm SmartAsset estimates that a $14.7million home in Montecito, California would be liable for around $68,000 per year in property tax. The tax is based on the purchase price of the home, but is also affected by other variables such as the rate of inflation.
The home was built in 2003. The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool.
It also sits on a private road in an exclusive area of Santa Barbara, home to many celebrities.
STAFF: $300,000 PER YEAR: Harry and Meghan have not revealed what kind of staff they will employ, but a full-time staff of cooks, gardeners and housekeepers would come with a hefty bill. Christopher Baker, who runs a firm that supplies domestic staff in California, told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that a staff for A-list celebrities can cost $200,000 to $300,000 per year, or even more. Pictured: Harry’s former private secretary and ‘right hand man’ Ed Lane Fox who announced he was quitting ahead of the royal wedding.
In February this year it was revealed that Harry and Meghan were axing 15 staff and closing their Buckingham Palace office – in a sign that the couple and their son Archie were unlikely ever to return to live in the UK. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex broke the news to their team in person in January following the announcement that they were stepping down as senior working royals. Pictured: Meghan’s former personal assistant Melissa Toubati who quit after the duchess reportedly ‘left her in tears’.
UTILITIES: $24,000 PER YEAR: According to cost-of-living database Numbeo, utility bills for a 900 sq ft home in Santa Barbara County are typically around $200 per month. Harry and Meghan’s mansion is more than 10 times larger, suggesting a possible bill of at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year. Justin Rubinstein of real estate firm Compass told Business Insider last year that utility bills of $2,000 to $3,000 a month were typical for large mansions.
‘Landscaping is always important because who wants to spend $10 million on a house and have an unappealing facade or front yard?’ Mr Rubinstein said. ‘Depending on the size of the property, this can easily eclipse $100,000 per year.’ The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool. It also boasts a two-bedroom, two-bath guest house, perfect for Meghan’s mother Doria, who is acting as one-year-old Archie’s nanny. Doria has already been to the house, TMZ reports.
According to Zillow, the house has been updated with the latest Lutron lighting systems and Crestron, including iPad control. Mr Rubinstein says owners of large homes should think about setting aside money for maintenance emergencies, because ‘eventually, there will be a flood, or an electrical issue, or a roof repair’. ‘Whether you save money each month for that, or you just risk it and wait for something to happen, it’s definitely an invisible cost.’ Jennifer Leahy, of Douglas Elliman, which sells properties costing up to $9million in Connecticut, said that houses around 12,000 square feet or larger can incur costs of around $10,000 a month in upkeep.
SECURITY: $3.3MILLION PER YEAR: Reports earlier this year claimed that Harry and Meghan had hired $9,000-a-day security firm GDBA to protect them in Los Angeles. If GDBA were hired for 365 days a year at that rate, Harry and Meghan would be left with a $3.3million bill for security alone. GDBA is run by Gavin de Becker, a security expert and former presidential adviser who was previously hired by Jeff Bezos as a private investigator.
The firm offers ‘highly trained, highly screened’ security guards who control access to the homes of the rich and powerful, boasting that its thousands of clients include ‘over 90 of the world’s most prominent families and at-risk individuals’, said to include Tom Hanks and Madonna. Actor Michael J. Fox describes GDBA as a ‘secret service for famous people’.
Earlier this year the couple had been holed up in a Beverly Hills mansion owned by Hollywood tycoon Tyler Perry with their son Archie after moving over from Canada, DailyMail TV revealed. A source also said the Sussexes have experienced ‘unimaginable’ levels of intrusion from the press while living in the Beverly Hills mansion during the coronavirus pandemic, including paparazzi-operated drones illegally flying within 20 feet of their house to snap photographs. At least five such incidents have been reported to the LAPD.
TOTAL: $4.4MILLION PER YEAR.
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