Movie characters have often been featured living in some of the world’s most iconic – and expensive – locations around the world.
But could they have actually afforded them? A UK mortgage advice website recently conducted some research to find out – and according to onlinemortgageadvisor.co.uk’s managing director, Pete Mugleston, there were some characters who were in well over their heads.
“As we immerse ourselves within fantasy worlds of cliffhangers and ‘happily ever afters’, it’s easy to forget how unrealistic these scenarios would actually be in the real world,” he said.
“We wanted to find out if, behind those rose-tinted glasses, they would be hiding a low credit score and needing a mortgage with bad credit.”
In order to calculate the debt, onlinemortgageadvisor.co.uk looked at the following for each character: estimated income before tax, property value, monthly mortgage payment (based on a 30-year deal, 4 per cent interest rate and 10 per cent deposit) and monthly rent (if not buying).
Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’ Diary
Location: Borough Market, SE1, Central London, United Kingdom
Monthly income before tax: £1563 ($2824)
Rent: £2000 ($3614)
Property value: N/A
Job: Entry level publicist
Debt: £437.50 a month ($790)
Likelihood of eviction: 40 per cent
Not only are most of Bridget Jones’ 30s caught up in a love triangle with love rat Daniel Cleaver and the quietly handsome Mark Darcy, her job doesn’t even cover her rent, Mr Mugleston says.
“While Bridget doesn’t live a particularly glamorous lifestyle, she somehow still manages to afford her spacious period flat in the middle of Borough Market, as well as regular nights out and copious packets of cigarettes,” he said.
Mr Henry Brown, Paddington
Location: Primrose Hill, SE1, Central London, United Kingdom
Monthly income before tax: £3569 ($6450)
Monthly mortgage payments: £14,270 ($25,789)
Property value: £3.35 million ($6.05 million)
Job: City of London risk analyst
Debt: £10,701 a month ($19,339)
Likelihood of repossession: 85 per cent
In the movie Paddington, based on the fictional Paddington Bear, the Brown family resides in a grand townhouse in Primrose Hill, London.
“While on the surface it may be believable that Henry’s salary is sufficient to provide for a family of four plus a bear, when you consider the cost of a mortgage for such a grandeur property, plus a live-in housekeeper, things don’t add up,” Mr Mugleston said.
William Thacker, Notting Hill
Location: Notting Hill, Central London, United Kingdom
Monthly income before tax: -£1565 (-$2828)
Monthly mortgage payments: £19,488 ($35,219)
Property value: £4.575 million ($8.27 million)
Job: Book store owner
Debt: £21,052 a month ($38,046)
Likelihood of repossession: 80 per cent
Hugh Grant was downright adorable in this classic ’90s rom-com that follows the romance between bumbling bookshop owner William Thacker and “the most famous actress in the world” Anna Scott.
But Mr Mugleston said his research uncovered major issues with the practicalities of William Thacker’s life.
“First, how does the owner of a loss-making book store land himself a mortgage in the first place? More specifically, a mortgage in one of the most affluent areas of London?” he said.
“Totally unfeasible. If this movie was recreated in 2019, it would more likely be called ‘Dagenham’ or ‘West Croydon’.”
Miranda Hillard, Mrs Doubtfire
Location: 2640 Steiner Street, San Francisco, US
Monthly income before tax: $US7500 ($10,992)
Monthly mortgage payments: $US17,831 ($26,133)
Property value: $US4.15 million ($6.08 million)
Job: Interior designer
Debt: $US10,331 a month ($15,141)
Likelihood of eviction: 50 per cent
In the film, Miranda Hillard is not only paying the mortgage by herself, she’s also paying her ex, Daniel Hillard (aka Mrs Doubtfire), a wage of $1200 a month.
“The address for the Hillard house is in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, and this area is not cheap. In fact, it’s a little too upmarket, even for a high-end interior designer,” Mr Mugleston said.
“If her bank account were as beautifully decorated as her house, we’d be shocked. There’s no way she could afford this house.”
Dana Barrett, Ghostbusters
Location: 55 Central Park West, New York, US
Monthly income before tax: $US8333 ($12,212)
Monthly mortgage payments: $US143,225 ($209,910)
Property value: $US33 millionD ($48.36 million)
Job: Orchestra cellist
Debt: $US134,891 ($197,696)
Likelihood of eviction: 100 per cent
“It seems fitting that a talented musician like Dana would live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, but on her wages this idyllic scenario turns into a real horror story,” Mr Mugleston said.
“The most skilled classical musicians don’t earn enough money to be living this lifestyle. In fact, with a loss of around $134,891 US a month, demonic possession is the least of her worries.”
But not all our favourite on-screen characters have been living beyond their means. Mr Mugleston said there were a couple of characters who lived in properties better suited to their earnings.
Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
Location: East 73rd Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York
Job: Newspaper columnist
Monthly income before tax: $US5142 ($7536)
Rent: $US2037 ($2985)
Somewhat surprisingly, the sex columnist who wore Manolo Bahniks and chain-smoked has a monthly income that easily covers her rent for her New York apartment.
Because of that, she is deemed to have no monthly debt and no chance of being evicted.
Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
Location: Manhattan, New York
Job: Wall Street investment banker
Monthly income before tax: $US28,000 ($41,036)
Rent: up to $US4500 per month ($6595)
Although his apartment was based on a fictitious building in Manhattan, New York, the estimated cost back in 2011 for a luxury NYC apartment was $4500 per month.
Patrick Bateman earned big but lived within his means, so he had no monthly debt and no chance of being evicted.