Spring sees jump in trophy home sales in 2019's top 20

Spring sees jump in trophy home sales in 2019's top 20
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 7, 2020

Spring selling season brought a belated revival in prestige sales across Sydney, in a year when few of the big sales were on the harbour.

With just three weeks to go, 2019 will have recorded the cheapest tally of Sydney trophy home sales of the past seven years. My tally is $385 million, with a $15 million sale sufficient to qualify for the top 20.

Despite the 2018 downturn, last year there were 20 sales at $20 million or more, grossing $675 million, up from $550 million in 2017.

This year’s top five sales in 2019 all came in spring.

The top trophy home sale was $40 million in Point Piper when Westpac board member Steve Harker sold his harbourfront to entrepreneur and start-up investor Gabriel Jakob, co-owner of the Early Learning School company.

The low-key Harker sold on extended settlement terms, with the actual price only to emerge some time next year. Harker had owned the home since 1993 when he paid $2.01 million. The $40 million was nowhere near 2018’s top sale, the $100 million Fairwater on the Double Bay beachfront.

The low level of activity mimicked the overall vendor hesitancy across the entire market, with also an absence of international buyers in the market. Rose Bay was the surprise hot spot with four sales, followed by traditional streets of gold on the Point Piper peninsula­. Vaucluse and Darling Point, Mosman and Manly also had two sales each. There were eight true waterfronts on the list, along with a few waterfront reserve homes and those with harbour views.

The most intriguing sale was Bomera, the Italianate non-waterfront clifftop mansion at Potts Point that sold for $34 million. Its harbour views are often blocked by navy vessels berthed at Garden Island.

Leanne Catelan, daughter of late property data pioneer Ray Catelan, had bought it for $12.5 million in 2013 after it was renovated by property developer­ Jorge Fernandez, who had been guided in its restoration­ by former PM Paul Keating. I previously tipped Bomera as the perfect bolthole for steel baron Sanjeev Gupta — and, sure enough, he’s just downsized to Bomera from his Barford, Bellevue Hill $30,000-a-week rental.

Bomera (pictured top) was technically bought by a trust created under the local company directorship­ of society stockbroker Les Owen.

The second highest sale was when plastic surgeon Michael Miroshnik sold his Vaucluse non-waterfront home, designed by Kaintoch Design Studio, for $38 million to Sunny Ngai, whose family makes Quilton toilet paper.

On the pricey northern peninsula, Palm Haven, the Phillip Cox-designed beachfront home at Palm Beach sold to the property developing Roche family for $20.5 million. The trophy home (pictured below), bought as a weekender, ranks as the third-most expensive sale all time in Palm Beach.

Spring sees jump in trophy home sales in 2019's top 20

Amid the big hits, there’s also been plenty of misses. It was reported in August­ there had been a $60 million offer from a Hong Kong buyer for Ganeden, but the sale of the Vaucluse home of lawyer John Landerer hasn’t eventuated.

There were upsets too. Entrepreneur­ Alex Ma thought he secured $30 million for his Vaucluse home in March, but it appears not to be proceeding to settlement.

And there’s plenty of unsold stock that appears stuck on the market with pricing issues­.

This article first appeared 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.

Editor's Picks