Inside the $52 million Villa Igiea, Vaucluse - the 2015 runner up trophy home sale

Inside the $52 million Villa Igiea, Vaucluse - the 2015 runner up trophy home sale
Inside the $52 million Villa Igiea, Vaucluse - the 2015 runner up trophy home sale

Casino tycoon James Packer's $70 million Vaucluse sale easily took line honors last year as the priciest trophy home ever sold in Sydney.

But Villa Igiea, the magnificent European style villa not too far away in the pricey neighbourhood, cruised into second place when sold on New Year's Eve by Dr Wayne Burt, its entreprenurial expat owner during the final business hours of 2015 across international time zones. 

He has worked at Macquarie Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bain Capital, and is best known for founding Austar Communications, the regional pay-television company sold to Liberty Global.  

Its unconfirmed $52.5 million price possibly places it in second spot on Sydney's all time prestige sales list. 

The hillside mansion, inspired by the grandest of villas in Palermo, Sicily, dates back to the 1920s when built for the Grace retailing family.

Investment banker Dr Burt and his Swedish wife Helene lived there for six years with their four young children but are now based between Switzerland and Ibiza.

It has become one of Sydney's leading short term luxury rentals, occupied by Texan billionaire Jim Clark and his wife, Kristy Hinze-Clark as their Sydney to Hobart race-winning bolthole.

Secrecy surrounds the buyer, but it was quickly understood not to be the renters, who knew of the listing as the Clark's have been house hunting.

Unconfirmed reports has it bought by interests associated with  “Jim” Shangjin Lin, managing director of property developer, Aqualand.

The on-off-on sale, signed off without any Foreign Investment Review Board requirement, comes after Packer's $70 million sale in August which helped re-align top end pricing.

Neither Packer's La Mer or Villa Igiea ever hit the open market - and by coincidence La Mer is briefly a summer rental as the former co-owner Erica Packer stays on after the title was transferred into property developer Dr Chua Chak Wing's name mid-December.

The bullish Villa Igiea price was secured by Ken Jacobs at Christie's International and Brad Pillinger at Pillinger Properties, who has had a hand in its sale three times.

"What a remarkable year when all four top sales were hillside, not harbourfront, two in Vaucluse and two in Point Piper" said Jacobs, who also secured the Packer sale. 

Villa Igiea was the long-time home of the late TNT transport tycoon Sir Peter Abeles and then his widow, Lady (Kitty) Abeles.

Its first update came during the McWilliam family’s ownership, then its contemporary refurbishment by Paris designer India Mahdavi which featured in the April 2013 Vogue.

Dr Burt had paid $17.37 million in 2005, then adding an adjoining 800 sqm property with house in 2009 costing $4.9 million, which was anticipated as a tennis court block.

For a time James Packer was interested in buying Villa Igiea but instead bought La Mer for $17 million in 2009, expanding his holding at a cost of $12 million before his rebuild of the 1972 Guilford Bell-designed home.

Sydney's third highest sale in 2015 was Mandalay at Point Piper which fetched $39.8 million.

Set above Hermit Bay, Villa Igiea was built on its 2200 sqm block in the Riviera Liberty style to a design by Neville Hampson, the architect who also designed Boomerang at Elizabeth Bay.

Villa Igiea, which had enough space to host Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt's wife, and their six children, could command up to $70,000 a week.

Pics courtesy of Vogue magazine

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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