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Expecto Valueo: How Much Does Hogwarts Castle Cost?

David Cross

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235 articles, 24 comments

The Value of Hogwarts Castle

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I’ve been writing fictional evaluations for a while now, and almost every time I write one of these pieces I’ve been inundated with requests to tackle one of the most iconic children’s stories in history: The Harry Potter series.

To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to evaluate Hogwarts. Hesitant might actually be an understatement. I started trying to work on a Hogwarts evaluation a few months ago and ended up tossing it aside for another piece.

But the question of how much the castle would be worth keeps coming up.

Last week, after evaluating another British mainstay, Fawlty Towers, I asked my Facebook friends what they wanted to see. The overwhelming response was—you guessed it—Hogwarts, followed very closely by Castle Grayskull.

So, for everyone who’s asked for it, you win. I finally stopped being lazy and scared and figured out how much Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would be worth.

Just to warn you, there’s no way you can afford it. Seriously.

If Hogwarts were placed on the market today it would be worth about $204,102,000. What you’d get is a seven-level castle with towers. This price excludes some key features such as the quidditch field and Hagrid’s shack.

Hop on over to platform nine and three-quarters for an explanation.


What Did I Need, Other Than Magic

Whenever I, or one of the Movoto bloggers, takes on a novelty real estate blog post, there are a couple of things we need to know to get the job done. If you’ve read my other posts, you know what these are:

  • A location
  • Comparable properties
  • Some type of dimension

Two of the three criteria were, more or less, easy to come across, but it was that third that really got my griffon. More on that later. I’ll start with location.


Location: Now You Know Where to Finally Buy Butterbeer

The Location of Hogwarts School of Magic and Wizardry

Before I jump into all the numbers and logics and esta-sumptions, I’m going to thank all the diehard Harry Potter fans of the world for making my life much easier. Potterheads have devoted more time to figuring out the minutiae of the Harry Potter universe than I can imagine. If you think I’m making fun of them, I’m not. These guys and gals really went beyond the call of duty to figure out a lot of crazy questions. One of these was the probable real-world location of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

So where is Hogwarts located? Galloway Hills in Scotland. If you know anything about Scotland, which I didn’t until I started this project, this makes a lot of sense as the area is sparsely populated and what some might call “wild country.”

As I mentioned above, a lot of thought went into figuring this out. So much so, in fact, that I feel I’d be doing it an injustice I didn’t direct you toward the original post. The author describes in detail the logic for placing Hogwarts in Galloway Hills by using descriptions from the books, the possible speed of the Hogwarts Express, and the amount of daylight on Sept. 1 when Harry and company first left for the school.

The post’s main argument is that Harry and Ron, who at one point followed the Hogwarts Express in a flying Ford Anglia, were spotted by people in the county of Norfolk and Peebles, a small town on the on the border of England and Scotland.

Once I knew the location, I turned to finding comparable homes.


What’s Like Hogwarts?

Hogwarts Castle Drawing

The answer is nothing. But I still found the average cost of large homes (including castles) in Dumfries and Galloway, the county where Galloway Hills is located. Using five expensive homes in the area I calculated the average price per square foot at $493.

Finding both the location and the comparable properties (if such things can even exist) were easy. But then I hit the roadblock that kept me from attempting to evaluate the castle: Hogwarts’ dimensions.

Yeah, figuring them out was as difficult as I first assumed.

To get started, I went to Google and searched for maps, and while there are more than a few, none of them had any type of scale to go by. It might have been easiest to go ahead and pick a random number and use it to figure out Hogwarts’ square footage, but that’s like cheating on your Potions exam.

Eventually, I found the Hogwarts model used in the movies (done at a 1:24 scale). Through deduction I was able to calculate how many acres Hogwarts sits on, which is 27.7. If you multiply this by the by the average cost of property per acre, Hogwarts would be worth $22,675,000. Honestly, I thought this was pretty low. So, I decided to put my Sorting Hat on and actually figure out the castle’s square footage.

I went back to the drawing board. After staring at the ceiling for an hour, I realized that Hogwarts castle was a school—I mean a school filled with educators who care about how students learn. No one can tell me that Prof. McGonagall doesn’t want her students to ace her exams.

My brilliant idea: Figure out how much space a student should have in a classroom and use that to learn Hogwarts’ size.

What did I find?


Wizards Per Classroom

Another superfan already looked into this (seriously, almost everything Harry Potter-related has been done) and estimated that there are about 280 students in the entire school. The same fan argues pretty convincingly that there would be 20 students per classroom. I used this as a base to make my next assumption.

From here I found the out how much space in square feet a student needs for maximum potential.


Space Per Classroom

Wizards per classroom

There are a lot of studies that discuss the importance of space in classrooms. One study suggests that about 50 square feet per person (for elementary school students) works best. This means that each Hogwarts class is about 1,000 square feet. Some of you might find this extravagant, but I’ll remind you that Hogwarts is the cream of the crop when it comes to wizarding schools. Surely, the school’s classrooms are spacious, right?

Using this as my measurement I was able to assume that each floor consisted of 51,000 square feet, making Hogwarts absolutely ginormous. I multiplied this by the total number of levels (seven levels and a lower level). This gave me 408,000 square feet plus room for the various towers strewn about the school. With these added, the total jumped to 414,000 square feet, assuming there is another classroom’s worth of space at the top of each tower.

Whew! Harry and company really trekked around Hogwarts to get to all their classes. If only wizards had the ability to Apparate inside Hogwarts.

Come to think of it, this is probably why the Marauder’s Map was so valuable. Wandering through Hogwarts must have been like getting lost in a baffling city.


So, How Much Does It cost?

Once I found the size of Hogwarts I was able to estimate the total price. I multiplied the average cost per square foot for property in the county by the school’s square footage. This gave me Hogwarts’ estimated value: $204,102,000. This doesn’t even include all the amazing things you’d find inside the castle like a moving staircase and a bathtub the size of a swimming pool.

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posted on: April 2, 2013
5,239 views, 16 comments

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16 Comments

  1. zero

    what about the room of requirment?

    • Megan in response to zero

      That’s one of the tricky parts of valuing magical property – what to do with magical rooms? I’d probably say the the Room of Requirement is so unique it’d be priceless. I mean, what formula could you develop to valuate a room that gives you WHATEVER you want? Also, I think the size of the room changes depending on who enters it and what they are looking for. :/

  2. Jon

    I like your work with the valuation, but I definitely think you’ve underestimated the value of Hogwarts.

    I know that you refer to “an underground level”, I think you’ll find that the Chamber of Secrets was beneath the Hogwarts dungeons, suggesting multiple underground levels, although it’s unclear how many areas you may be unable to access without the abilities of a top Seeker to catch a winged key.

    You also need to take into account the considerable estate that surrounds the school, extending as it does from close to Hogsmeade Station to the edge of the Forbidden Forest and the banks of the lake, and including the covered bridge, viaduct, flying training grounds, quidditch stadium, boat house and groundkeeper’s hut, although I know you point out some of those structures weren’t included in the price.

    ;-)

    • shmike in response to Jon

      You can’t value the Chamber of Secrets, as it can’t be accessed by anyone other than Harry Potter and the Heir of Slytherin. Why would anyone pay for a dank, puddly basement with a rotting corpse of a giant snake that they can’t even get to?

  3. Mike

    I can see the listing now:
    ————————————
    Historic property available for immediate purchase. Recently renovated using eco-friendly demolition techniques (only one unicorn was killed in the process). Spacious landscape — local foliage will knock your socks off! A record 100+ homicides were committed on this property in the last year, but you can hire your own security detail*.

    Burn marks, blood stains, three-headed dogs, ghosts, trap doors, false walls, dungeons, trans-dimensional portals, deadly local wildlife, and disused time travel devices all add to this special estate’s unique character. Extra characters are not included, but may visit on occasion.

    * Note: the Muggles’ Association of Realtors is not responsible for your security detail hunting you down and sucking the life essence from you.

  4. Dee

    You have estimated the classrooms, but not the dormitories, common areas, moving staircases, Staff Quarters, Dumbledore’s area, Great Room/Dining Hall, and the Kitchen area where the house elves work to list just a few. I agree, this is definitely undervalued!

  5. MWaterlow

    I definitely think the square footage is low based on the items listed by others above, most specifically the living quarters of the staff, kitchens, chamber of secrets, room of requirement and surrounding property. But perhaps the real intangible here is the magical properties of the Estate which quite honestly would be very difficult to value indeed. But what a fun idea and great work! Thank you for the smile this morning!

  6. GBrisc

    But what about the price of stone, the grounds, the woodwork, the lake, and the rooms (bath, bed, class, office, kitchen)? I’d make its estimate much higher

  7. Tere

    I understand you couldn’t possibly consider and measure all the grounds, forest, hidden rooms, lake etc. But Jo has stated in multiple interviews that there are more than 280 students at Hogwarts.
    I found this open letter to Jo where the subject is adressed:

    Question: How many students are there really at Hogwarts?
    […]
    The biggest reason for the debate is that Jo said one thing in an interview and has strongly implied something else in both the books and her comments about the film.
    In an online chat with Scholastic on October 16, 2000, this exchange took place:

    Q: How many students attend Hogwarts, and how many students per year per house?
    A: There are about a thousand students at Hogwarts.

    This seems pretty straighforward. However, there are a number of references in the books which suggest a somewhat smaller number.
    […]
    UPDATE: Jo talked about this when she was interviewed by Melissa and Emerson. She seemed to settle on there being 600 students at Hogwarts.

    Here’s the whole letter :)
    http://www.hp-lexicon.org/jkr-letter-responses.html

    Oh, but this was so much fun to read, even if I can’t afford to buy it :P

  8. Josh

    I also think 280 students is a low estimating. Especially since Rowling has said close to a 1000.

  9. Hfm

    Ignoring the other questions about the assumptions (such as bedrooms, etc), I don’t quite understand the math here. If there’s 280 students total, with 20 per room, and 1,000 sq ft per room, I count 14 classrooms, so 14,000 sq ft (plus obviously some overhead for hallways, moving staircases etc.). How do you get to 51,000, let alone then multiplying by 8 floors?

  10. JWHARGIS

    Seems a stretch that Hogwarts is only twice the worth of Stark Manor. Back to the drawing board;-)=

    • Chris Kolmar in response to JWHARGIS

      Nah. Real estate is all about location, location, location. Higwarts is in the middle of nowhere Scotland. Tony Stark’s mansion is on a cliff over looking the water in Malibu. Makes perfect sense.

      • Sammi3 in response to Chris Kolmar

        Hogwarts is located near the magical land of Hogsmeade where no muggles live. It should be a bit higher than that.

  11. Shaun056

    I disagree with this on several accounts, for one the fact that only two hundred and eighty students attend Hogwarts. The exact amount wavers and it’s never been revealed how many there actually are. J.K.Rowling’s mathematics on the subject were never 100& brilliant. Secondly, the amount of students per year per house fluctuates. It’s never precise (evidently reflecting that not a certain amount of people show magical talent in any given year). Plus you are forgetting, the fact that Hogwarts has loads of tiny little roams we barely ever see, not to mention the grounds which are quite extensive.

 

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