James Packer's La Mer unchallenged atop Sydney's top 10 trophy home sales in 2015

James Packer's La Mer unchallenged atop Sydney's top 10 trophy home sales in 2015
Jonathan ChancellorFebruary 6, 2021

The casino tycoon James Packer and his wife Erica stood unchallenged when it came to the windfall price secured for their Vaucluse mega-mansion, La Mer earlier this year.

(1) No other Sydney trophy home sale came close to the $70 million paid for the six storey mansion, La Mer which was sold to the Hunters Hill-based billionaire Chinese property developer Dr Chau Chak Wing.

The surprise Packer exit was an imposing Alex Tzannes-designed architectural gem that had been updated from the original Guilford Bell-designed home.

It had the requisite gun barrel views back to the Harbour Bridge. 

Title Tattle wrote about the Packer sale in August. 

But despite all the record price excitement surrounding the August sale, which The Daily Telegraph broke exclusively, the prestige property market had its quietest spring in living memory, with just three spring selling season sales amid the top 10 for the year to date. 

The list of the 10 highest house sales across Sydney saw seven buyers of Asian descent, a marked escalation in the trend to foreign prestige home buyers.

"The La Mer sale has recalibrated the market from an international perspective as, currencies aside, the price spread between prestige and trophy is not as condensed," Christies International agent Ken Jacobs said.

Ken Jacobs' forecast was Sydney will see continued strong interest from off-shore buyers. But veteran agent Bill Malouf, who said it was the quietest spring he'd had in two decades or so, thought the prospect of official FIRB investigations into most top end sales had turned some of the Chinese buyers gun-shy.
The top 10 house sales are evenly split between harbourfronts and hillside, all but one - Cate Blanchett's Hunters Hill home - situated in Sydney's pricey eastern suburbs. Around $18 million was the cut off for entry this year to the trophy home list.
Last year's top 10 topped out at $39 million, with the 10th place price also at around $18 million. Mosman disappeared from the list this year, with its highest sales coming in at $16 million.

(2) Mandalay, a non-harbourfront at Point Piper sat in second place at $39.9 million this year. The Wolseley Road sale had set the prior record for a non-waterfront house in Sydney, until James Packer trumped it a three months later. 

Mandalay was sold by the Toorak-bound former tobacco executive Bill Webb with the five bedroom, five bathroom European style villa sold through Bill Malouf of LJ Hooker to road construction developer Phillip Dong Fang Lee and his wife. It had last sold in 2004 for $20 million. 

The three-level, 900 sqm property has an east wing and a west wing and comes with unobstructed views of the Sydney harbour.

(3) Then Treasurer Joe Hockey's dampening crackdown on illegal foreign ownership triggered the sale of Villa Del Mare, Point Piper at $39 million in May with the Wolseley Road six bedroom, eight bathroom luxury mansion sold at the same price as its had been bought in October 2014 without FIRB approval by Chinese real estate developer Xu Jiayin.

(4) The top harbourfront sale this year was at Gladswood Gardens, Double Bay at $38 million.

The Double Bay waterfront mansion of former Multiplex chief Andrew Roberts and his wife Andrea sold in April to the property tycoon and Malaysian-born Mulpha billionaire Seng Huang Lee and his wife.

Inspired by the work of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the contemporary home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms.

The 1145 sqm of land includes a jetty, an infinity pool and a large waterfront garden.

(5) Spring's highest sale was Leura at Bellevue Hill for an as yet unconfirmed $30 million. The buyer of the Victoria Road property was an unidentified Australian Chinese buyer who did not need FIRB approval. 

The Bellevue Hill trophy home Leura sold in November after having only six owners over the last 125 years.

The eight bedroom, eight bathroom heritage home sits on a 4260 sqm block with tennis court and a swimming pool.

The packaging company businessman Ken Allen and his wife, Christine sold the day before its scheduled private Ray White auction.

(6) The buyer at Wolseley Road, Point Piper which sold at $28 million was Qingling Wang from the longtime property developer Juliana Lim. It was a knockdown house close but not on the harbour, coming with plans approved for an Alex Tzannes-designed new home.

(7) Indah at Rose Bay sold at $27.08 million on Bayview Hill Road in May after a contemporary makeover of the five bedroom home to an expatriate.

The property was bought by UK barrister Georgina Black, the wife of Graham Edwards, chief executive of the UK’s property giant Telereal.

(8) Loch Maree at Vaucluse sold for around $24 million with its noteworthy Leonard French's stained glass windows a key feature.

The 2311 sqm holding was sold by entrepreneur Duncan Saville and wife Julie to cosmetic surgeon and hotelier Jerry Schwartz and his wife Debbie who have sold at around $18 million not far from their purchase. It had been on and off the market for many years.

(9) Actor Cate Blanchett sold Bulwarra at Hunters Hill for $19 million plus - almost $20 million - in September to Chinese buyers who currently own in Point Piper. 

The 1887 sandstone residence is set on one of the sandstone suburb's largest privately held blocks at 3642 sqm. 

The heritage home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a pool pavilion and a championship sized tennis court.

(10) Sitting on the list amid a few unconfirmed $18 million plus sales is the Wunulla Road, Point Piper waterfront home bought by the Bellevue Hill based South African billionaire and co-owner of Nandos, Dick Enthoven and his wife Karen.

This article was first published in the Daily Telegraph.

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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