Crown portfolio values jump

THE Queen has given the recession a royal kicking as the valuation of her property portfolio has jumped&nbsp; &pound;500m over the past six months.<br /><br />Crown Estates, which manages urban, rural and marine property has reported a lift in its portfolio value to &pound;6bn, due to a boost from the jump in farming land values.<br /><br />The group said its rural estate had enjoyed a positive year, despite the poor conditions in the UK economy. Revenue was &pound;26.7m for the year to 31 March 2009, up 18.9 per cent on the previous year. <br /><br />The property value of the rural estate is &pound;919.5m, an increase of 1.9 per cent over 2007/08.<br /><br />The group said the relative buoyancy of the global food market, together with the advantages of a mixed portfolio of well-structured businesses ensured a robust <br />performance for the rural estate despite the downturn and huge volatility in commodity prices.<br /><br />And the group said revenue from its Windsor Estate &shy;&ndash; which includes the Great Park, farms, Ascot Racecourse, the Savill and Valley Garden was &pound;6.3m &ndash; rose 8.5 per cent on the previous year, when sales were adversely affected by the foot and mouth outbreak which caused Windsor Great Park to close its gates to visitors for a period.<br /><br />The group said it is ramping up its development programme to take advantage of cheap asset values in the downturn. <br /><br />Roger Bright, chief executive of the Crown Estate, said: &ldquo;Overall values have gone down over the last 18 months, but ours have held up better than many others. <br />This is because of the diversified nature of the portfolio, which includes agricultural land and the marine estate.&rdquo;