Second most expensive villa in Knokke sold to pay off fines

Second most expensive villa in Knokke sold to pay off fines
Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

The Villa Fairway, the second most expensive villa in the chic seaside town of Knokke-Heist, has been sold for €14 million by its 92-year-old owner to allow him to pay off a court-ordered settlement.

Former owner Pierre Salik, a Brussels businessman, tried to sell the house for €15 million, but it remained on the market unsold for two years until he dropped the price.

The house, a former hotel, has 4,000 square metres of floor space, 12 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and a huge garden that gives direct access to Het Zoute golf club.

Salik was accused in 2020 of tax evasion and giving bribes to police officers in Monaco. He was ordered to pay damages by the court to avoid prosecution. The €14 million raised by the sale will go entirely to paying off the damages.

The new owner, who has not been named, is said to be a rich Dutch property magnate,  who currently lives in a more modest villa opposite Villa Fairway.

The purchase price means Villa Fairway is now the second most expensive in one of the most expensive towns in Belgium. Top of the list is Fort Sint-Pol, owned by property magnate Bart Versluys and worth an estimated €30 million. Versluys has plans to install a museum in the property.

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Meanwhile the property market in Knokke appears immune to economic conditions in the rest of the country.

Last year saw the sale of no fewer than 388 properties – houses and apartments – each with a sale price of more than one million euros, or 23% of the entire category in Belgium. According to one real estate agent speaking to De Tijd, the rich have no desire to allow their money to gather dust in the banks.

However the sums quoted at the top of the market are still exceptional. The median price paid for a house in 2020 was €1.9 million, while the median price for an apartment was a mere €1.38 million.

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