The subprime mortgage crisis has hit. America is homeless, broke, foreclosed, and in the midst of a financial crisis. Similar to when there were rumors of the draft resurfacing, many of us are saying, “I’m moving to Canada.” However, I urge you to look beyond our friendly northern neighbor to a more majestic and—dare I say—regal era. From the rolling green pastures of France, to the sparkling coastline of Mexico, why live in a cramped, rat-infested junior one-bedroom when you can reign high in your very own castle?
South Africa v. San Francisco – $500,000
In South Africa, for half a million dollars, you can purchase a genuine castle complete with armor, high security, and a golf course. Stradford Castle, nestled in South Africa’s most gorgeous lake, is engraved with words of wisdom from ancient dukes and holds precious hand-crafted stained glass.
In San Francisco, for 500K you’ll afford a junior one bedroom with a spacious sleeping alcove. If you crane your neck out the bathroom window, you may even get a “peek-a-boo view” of the Bay Bridge.
France v. Los Angeles – $500,000
Half a million dollars in France will get you five-bedrooms, or one quarter, of a nineteenth century chateau. This chateau is encircled with a rushing river, lush landscape, gardens, sauna, and swimming pool.
In the concrete jungle suburb of Los Angeles, Downey, your half a mil will buy this lovely four bedroom two-point-five bathroom home. It is encircled with growing weeds, a dead tree, and your own garden hose.
Ukraine v. New York – $1,800,000
In Ukraine, you can buy a Medieval Castle for just $1,800,000. This majestic palace is reminiscent of a luxury hotel and boasts an impressive European patrimony.
If you prefer, you can take your 1.8 million dollars and dump it into a converted two bedroom loft in Chelsea, New York. At least this apartment will provide easy access to the subway.
Dominican Republic v. Boston – $1,150,000
In the Dominican Republic, $1,150,000 will get you a Caribbean mountaintop castle with glittering pastoral views on a fifty-acre lot. Your humble abode will include thirty-three archways, a turret leading to the observation room, a twenty-four foot galleria, two living rooms, and service wing. Don’t forget the 1,500 square foot guest house (a short walk away) and the personal well.
In Boston, the same $1,150,000 will get you three-bedroom, two-point-five bath suburban colonial. This house includes grass, a sprinkler system, and a microwave oven.
Italy v. New York – Just Under $1 Million
In Sabina Hill, Italy, $927,600 will buy you the Castle of Stimigliano. This antique piece of art has been blessed by the Italian society of preservation and bestowed with the name “Belle Arte.” It is restored, yet maintains of the aura of pastimes.
In New York’s West Village, for just $41,400 more, at $969,000 you can purchase a two-bedroom apartment. Not even a house—an apartment—in a building, with other people who live in their own apartment (not in your maid’s quarters).
Mexico v. San Francisco – $1.5 Million
In Mexico 1.5 mil will get you an eleven-bedroom hacienda, complete with maids’ quarters and a fruit orchard with orange, tangerine, and lime trees. This castle also includes an expansive swimming pool, a well for water, and of course, a private chapel.
In San Francisco, that same 1.5 mil will get you a two-bedroom home with an attic, dryer, and breakfast nook.
Sweden v. Orange County – $830,000
In Motala, Sweden, $830,000 will make you the owner of Castle Sjoskum, a famous white palace, custom-built by an affluent Swedish sea captain and crafted by the hands of renowned British architects. With 6,500 square feet and three stories, this palatial estate will make you sleep like Queen Elizabeth.
In Orange County, California, just $19,000 more, or $849,900 will buy you a three-bedroom, two bath, one-story home. There’s even a spot to park your RV.
It’s a tough call—a palatial estate that could have been Princess Diana’s stomping grounds, or a studio above a Moroccan restaurant in Manhattan? I’m going with the castle.