Laurie Sutton the kingpin of Sydney property as he swaps Mosman for Kalua in Palm Beach in record-setting sales

Laurie Sutton the kingpin of Sydney property as he swaps Mosman for Kalua in Palm Beach in record-setting sales
Laurie Sutton the kingpin of Sydney property as he swaps Mosman for Kalua in Palm Beach in record-setting sales

Retired car dealer Laurie Sutton is the undoubted kingpin of Sydney property in 2012. No sooner had he secured a near-record $20 million Mosman price, than he’s reputedly gone and bought Kalua, the Joye family’s plantation-style Palm Beach trophy home.

It too has sold at a record price for the suburb, according to well-placed chatter, as the neighbourhood expressed keenness over the weekend to welcome Laurie Sutton and his wife, Di, to Sydney's northern beaches millionaires’ playground. Word had crept out after the venture capitalist underbidder with existing Palm Beach connections was advised a sale was iminent.

It's suggested the undisclosed sale price fell a tad short of its ambitious $25 million expectations set when Kalua was listed last September, perhaps closer to $23 million or so.

But nonetheless, the Joyes’ sale realised a remarkable compound capital gain on the home of about 14% per annum over 33 years of ownership, which bettered the Suttons’ 12% annual gain for their Mosman home, which was owned for a similar lengthy period. Its the second highest price ever paid for a beachfront holiday home in Australia, the highest being the $26 million Ilyuka estate at Portsea in late 2010.

Kalua is the 1920s Ocean Road holiday home best known as having been the prestige Christmas holiday rental for international luminaries including Nicole Kidman, John Cleese and James Murdoch.

Sutton and his wife will be the 1920s beach bungalow’s third owner. It was last sold by the Hordern retailing family to the more entrepreneurial Joye family, the current vendors, for $330,000 in 1978.

It’s a five-bedroom, six-bathroom house with three-bedroom guesthouse along with studio cabana, pool and tennis court on its 5,500-square-metre dress circle block overlooking Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour.

It was listed by Ken Jacobs and Darren Curtis at Christies International in conjunction with LJ Hooker Palm Beach agents David Edwards and Peter Robinson, who are under instructions not to speak with the media about any detail of the sale. Its not yet marked as sold on their websites.

There’s no confirmation whether Sutton took up the offer of taking 60% vendor financing.

"Unquestionably the most significant and coveted landholding in exclusive Palm Beach, Kalua is a beachfront sanctuary of international stature beyond compare," Jacobs said on its marketing launch.

"It is secluded amid magnificent sprawling grounds … a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as one of the eastern seaboard’s most prestigious residential offerings," Edwards added.

Kalua was one of the first properties in Palm Beach, guaranteeing its historical significance. Folklore has it that the Hordern family sent their architect by sea to Oahu, Hawaii, to copy “stick by stick and stone by stone” the impressive Dillingham plantation residence.

It was subsequently named Kalua, meaning “double” in Hawaiian. At the time of construction there were no roads into Palm Beach so all materials, including soil, had to be barged in from Newport.

By coincidence the vendor, businessman Ian Joye and wife Maggie, now spend much of their time in Hawaii, where they are building a beach home at one of the most exclusive private beachside resorts in the world, Kukio.

Palm Beach's top sale was $15 million, when businessman Doug Shears bought a beachfront on the Pittwater side of the peninsula.

Sales of prestige Palm Beach listings have ranged from $4,800 per square metre to $13,000 over recent years.

Sutton’s 5154-square-metre Bay Street Mosman holding – the suburb's largest harbourfront estate – was bought by Ying Li. The residence, which had been the Sutton’s home for almost 35 years, was bought from the Pick a Box presenters Bob and Dolly Dyer in 1977 for $376,960, when the Dyers headed to Queensland. Its price is now confirmed at $20 million.

The Bay Street tropical holding is like Hawaii meets Hamilton Island on Middle Harbour and despite renovations over the past three decades, there are still traces of the Dyers' day, including the imposing sandstone fireplace in its living room that overlooks Quakers Hat Bay.

For the past few years the Suttons have been based at Darling Point in a Katsura Imperial Villa-inspired Michael Dysart design house after buying from nightclub entrepreneur Barry Wain, who secured $18.5 million for his Lindsay Avenue house with eight-car garaging.




Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.


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