In Australia, sellers of top-end real estate lean towards the 'off-market' sales method, where discretion is paramount. Many among the rich and famous don't want it known that they're selling, or buying, says buyer's agent Rich Harvey, managing director of Sydney-based www.prestigepropertybuyer.com.au. The market is ripe for 'cherry pickers', analysts say.
Prestige comes at two price points: A$3 million to A$10 million (HK$23.96 million to HK$79.89 million), and A$10 to 50 million-plus. He describes sales as 'patchy', saying prices have dropped 30 per cent since the global financial crisis. 'A lot of prestige buyers are sitting on the fence, while vendors, if they can, are also waiting to see what happens,' he says.
But there are 'some excellent opportunities for buyers', Harvey says. 'There are plenty of properties in Mosman [Sydney]. Where the vendors were asking A$10 million to A$12 million, they are now entertaining offers around A$8 million. In the luxury market there's only a limited supply of properties with iconic harbour views or absolute beachfront positions.' Maitraya, Western Australia's southern coastline, 20km from Albany, is among the most spectacular. Set on more than 500 acres of private and secluded bushland, Maitraya commands panoramic views of the Southern Ocean, nearby islands and mountains. The residence - sleeping up to 16 people, plus four to five in a separate cottage - has 11 bathrooms, an indoor heated pool, spa, sauna and gym. The lavishly appointed grounds include access to a safe swimming lagoon and local surfing beach, private gazebo, lake, tennis court, putting green, and a sealed landing strip for aircraft. The bulk of the property is a working cattle farm. It is also self-sufficient with solar power, own water supply, and fruit and vegetables, and freshwater lobsters produced onsite. Owner Rick Fenny says he will consider offers from A$30 million. Maitraya is being sold through Unique Estates.
Buyers in Queensland's north will find prices have fallen 30 to 40 per cent, says Robert Taylor, CEO of PRD Whitsundays. One iconic property is Mandalay Coral Gardens, Airlie Beach, where the vendor has declined an offer of A$15 million.
Built on the waterfront overlooking the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the property is a 10-minute helicopter transfer from Hamilton Island airport, or accessed via road. It features sliding glass walls and terraces opening up the house and infinity pool to views of the Coral Sea. The home's private marina has a floating dock with a 22-metre yacht berth, and nearby helipad. The masterpiece of more than 1,350 square metres, plus caretaker's residence, is set on more than 4,800 square metres of waterfront land.
On Sydney Harbour, where agents say prestige home prices have 'taken a belting', properties don't come much finer than 21 Hunter Street, Dover Heights. The clifftop home is set on 1,080 square metres of land in a cul-de-sac. It has four en suite bedrooms, an office and four bathrooms. Offers of about A$6.5 million to A$8 million are invited through Unique Estates.