Iceland saving money by selling ambassadors’ houses

londonISK 850 million (USD 6.5 million) flowed into the Icelandic state treasury when the country changed its ambassadorial residence in London to a smaller house with cheaper running costs.

The old ambassador’s house was sold for ISK 1.7 billion and the new one bought for ISK 850 million.

The sale of the diplomatic residence in New York also returned the Icelandic state ISK 570 million and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is currently renting a house in the city while a suitable new residence is found.

The ambassadorial residences were put on the market at the beginning of 2009 along with those in Oslo and Washington DC; but those houses did not sell quickly and were then taken off the market again.

RUV reports that the goal of the sales was to raise money for the Icelandic government in difficult economic times and it is not clear whether or not any further diplomatic properties overseas will be sold.

Icelandic ambassadors do not just live in their houses; but also receive guests and hold receptions there. Iceland owns 12 ambassadorial residencies, as well as one in Tokyo which also houses the embassy.