Property scams not just the plot of Oscar winning Blue Jasmine movie

It's one of those great movie moments highlighting the deft art of property spruiking.

Cate Blanchett's Oscar winning role as Jeanette "Jasmine" Francis, teaming up with Alec Baldwin playing Hal Francis, Jasmine's husband in Blue Jasmine, directed by Woody Allen.


Photo: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Hal is giving Jasmine's sister, the US$200,000 lottery winners Ginger and Ginger's husband, Augie, some investment advice.

"Well if you like, I think Hal could probably help you do better," Jasmine proffered, encouraging them to ditch the idea of starting a construction company.

"The first thing you gotta know is how not to give half your money to the government," Hal, quick as a flash, advised.

"Suppose I put you in a venture that was very low risk, but very high yield. I am not talking about 6 or 7%, I am talking about 20%, would that be profitable enough for you." The bait was out.

"He's developing a group of hotels in the Carribean," she casually let them know.

"It would be great for them. They could make a killing," Jasmine added as though her husband needed any prompting to take their US$200,000 prize pool winner as victims.

Our property contrarians Jonathan Chancellor and Margie Blok had been chatting just the other day about the study published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience journal which traced the part of the human brain responsible for gullibility. It's the ventromedial area of the prefrontal cortex.

According to University of Iowa researchers the spot is responsible for the mind to assess what one reads or hears and considers it as being true or false. The academics theorised that the young and the old were more susceptible to being conned than the middle-aged, like us.

We'd throw in professional cricketers too! Remember the high profile victims of Kovelan Bangaru, the now jailed rogue, who made his big-noting reputation when the AFR revealed in 2004 that his penthouse in The Rocks was going to have a revolving dining room floor and the toilets would determine whether a man or a woman was approaching, and raise or lower the seat accordingly!

Kovelan Bangaru, the Streetwise mortgage boss, and director of the impressive sounding, Colosseum Group, had even taken possession of a Mercedes-Benz Maybach after seeing one in the window of the Harrods department store in London, declaring it his 129th Mercedes.

Another survey on gullability showed that younger, less educated and poorer were most likely to fall prey to scams – along with richer folks earning more than $200,000 a year. That study revealed that Australians and the British were more sceptical than the Americans.

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It certainly happens... Look at the dire situation that Geoffrey and Brynne Edelsten have got themselves into with their Carribean joint venture. Not sure just where the fault lies but it's a real mess. That casino resort picked up for a song in the Dominican Republic isn't as excitingly exotic as first envisaged. 


Photo: An idyllic Dominican Republic beach resort, but is it a good investment? Source: Stock 

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It's typically nearer to home that many Australians get caught when buying somewhere exciting, especially Fiji and New Caledonia. Sometimes Bali. Utmost caution is required to avoid losing it all.


Of course actor Cate Blanchett has always been quite savvy when it comes to her own property dealings. Possibly because her widowed mother was something of a small time property developer in Mebourne.

Only recently Cate Blanchett and her husband, Sydney Theatre Company artistic director Andrew Upton, spent $1.92 million on a waterfront apartment in Elizabeth Bay, intending it as an investment for their three sons, Dashiell, 12, Roman, 9, and Ignatius, 5.

No doubt as insurance for unforseen circumstances that beset her family life when her father died when she was eight.

Apparently Blanchett and Upton actually hoped to buy two adjoining two and three-bedroom apartments in the Billyard Avenue block, which had been marketed with $1.6 million-plus and $1.8 million-plus price guides through Jason Boon of Richardson & Wrench Elizabeth Bay.

However having bought the two-bedder for $1.92 million, Blanchett sensibly failed to secure the three-bedder which sold for $2.435 million to metals producer BCD Resources director, Clive Carroll.

The screen star Cate Blanchett's childhood home was at Eaglemont (pictured below), in Melbourne’s north east.

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It was a 1930s Lower Heidelberg Road home, marketed as La Maison Des Jardins.

It was up for 2012 auction (pictured above) when passed in at $1.9 million, but  sold soon after at $2.35 million.

The now spruced up French provincial-style five-bedroom house set in Paul Bangay gardens is vasty different that during the Blanchett tenure. It was reportedly owned by the Blanchett family for about 22 years until the early 1990s.

The 1,486 square metre property on the edge of the Walter Burley Griffin-planned estate fetched $755,000 in 1998 and at $415,000 in 1991. That was just shortly before she took the first professional steps in her stage and screen career. Blanchett had attended Ivanhoe East Primary School and later Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar, then NIDA in Sydney, graduating in the class of 1992.

As for her current home the actress Cate Blanchett, after a six month search, spent $10 million for Bulwarra, a two-storey 1877 sandstone house in Hunters Hill in 2004.

Previously Blanchett and Upton had spent almost a decade in London and the UK's Brighton before moving back to Sydney.

It was Islington in London, 7 Canonbury Grove, which was swapped for an 1820s Regency style home in Brighton, 23 Lewes Crescent which was bought for £1.3million.

They say author Lewis Carroll saw a white rabbit bounding down the tunnel on the grounds of the estate in the 1860s, inspiring him to write Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.

Anyway Bulwarra, set in 3740 square metres of grounds, with a tennis court and pool, was a six-bedroom house bought from the veteran stockbroker Jim Dominguez and his wife, Suzanne. The Dominguez couple had been there since in 1982 when they paid $700,000.

Telling agents she had up to $15 million to spend, Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton had previously inspected properties at Tamarama, Point Piper, Darling Point, Mosman and Vaucluse, mostly with the SydneySlice buyer's agent, Deborah West.

After deciding on the Hunters Hill riverfront, they set about furnishing with bits and pieces from the then Surry Hills, but now Redfern interiors outlet Chee Soon & Fitzgerald, as I recall Jonathan often begrudgingly recollect they got all their snappy purchasing done while he was still awaiting guidance, umming and aahhing, about fabrics for his breakfast table chairs.


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