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In the game of snakes and ladders that is Sydney’s high-end housing market, it was the titans of corporate Australia who rose to the top in 2023, more often with their pockets stuffed full from their ASX gains. Chief among them, Alan Joyce.
The former Qantas boss earned his place as the poster boy of property chutzpah mid-year when as the Reserve Bank was handing down its fourth of five interest rate rises for 2023 he was cashing in $17 million worth of company shares to buy the sub-penthouse next door to his home at The Rocks. That would be $9.25 million paid in cash.
Former Qantas boss Alan Joyce with the Mosman house he bought for $19 million and sold a year later for $21 million.
Mercifully Joyce’s new spread is out of arm’s reach of the mystery scamp who egged his Mosman mansion soon after he paid $19 million for it last year, not that he’ll be worried about that. Less than 18 months after he joined Mosman’s high-end home owners he sold out of the neighbourhood for $21 million.
The tech bros and billionaires were largely AWOL after a busy few years (missing you Mike Cannon-Brookes), but Star casino’s former chief Matt Bekier was a good example of how a property market windfall could put the gloss on even the most mixed of corporate careers.
His Newtown converted warehouse that set a suburb high of $5.8 million in 2020 resold for $13.5 million. That’s some fancy renovation work right there.
Former Star casino chief Matt Bekier pocketed $13.5 million for his landmark Newtown home.Credit: Domain
Former Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan kept his eye on the ball. Not the rugby one. As the Wallabies were limbering up for their disastrous game play at the World Cup, McLennan put his real estate know-how to work by buying designer digs in Darling Point for $29.25 million. Lucky for him he still has his job as REA Group chairman, and has since snagged a $16.85 million buyer for his Lavender Bay property.
Telstra’s newly appointed director Maxine Brenner shrugged off a 17 per cent protest vote against her election to the board to instead focus on the pressing issue of finding a $30 million buyer for her Vaucluse home. After all, TPG Telecom’s chairman Canning Fok managed to score a $39 million house a few doors away.
But then, Fok’s buyer was Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow, who was no doubt giddy with relief that he’d found an out from his doer-upper in Point Piper thanks to his own $60 million unicorn buyer.
The S&P/ASX 200 was up 8 per cent since the start of the year, compared with the 10.2 per cent rise for Sydney’s median house value in that time. A detail clearly not lost on ASX chairman Damian Roche. He sold his Cremorne home for $11.2 million to Endemol Shine chief executive Peter Newman, who in turn has already found a buyer for his $4.5 million Annandale home.
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and his wife Lucinda joined the ranks of Sydney’s trophy home owners in Darling Point.Credit: Domain, Peter Rae
Meanwhile, Roche has decamped for Paddington, paying $13.5 million for Canva CFO Damien Singh’s terrace, which is now the most expensive house in the suburb given art dealer Richard Thompson is yet to complete on his $14 million terrace. Tick tock.
By the time Balmain-Rozelle locals had woken up to gridlock surrounding the Transurban-operated WestConnex, the company’s former chief Scott Charlton was gone, taking up the reigns at Sydney Airport instead, and set to take up residence in a newly purchased $8 million house in Mosman.
Headlines warning about a looming mortgage cliff failed to produce the housing market apocalypse, but still our banking senior executives tended to be sellers not buyers.
Investment banker Tim Burroughs got in early, securing an appointment to the Westpac board the same day he found a $30 million buyer for his Bellevue Hill home.
Tim Burroughs sold his Bellevue Hill property Monkton for $30 million.Credit:
ANZ’s Maile Carnegie was another seller pocketing almost $10 million for her Hunters Hill home, and Bank of America country head Joe Fayyad flipped his Bellevue Hill house for $21 million, more than doubling the $9.26 million he paid for it two years ago.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson spoke for many Australians when she rallied against the cost of living crisis, but not for all the same reasons as many home hunters lining the rental market queues.
Hanson’s concern wasn’t so much about soaring rents, but the plight of landlords and the neglect they have endured at the hands of the Albanese government. So concerned was she that the Maitland pub she bought in 2012 for $449,000 had to be sold. And it did, for $1.1 million.
Joining Hanson on the property market were a bevy of political types. Former prime minister Tony Abbott didn’t just sign up to join the board of Lachlan Murdoch’s Fox Corporation, but also bought a $1.425 million waterfront getaway for his summer vacay on the Mid North Coast.
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce has followed up his marriage to Vikki Campion by listing the Tamworth family home.Credit: Jamie Brown
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce wants $1 million for the  Tamworth family home he once shared with his former wife Natalie and four daughters, former Liberal premier Nick Greiner cashed in his Point Piper pad for $14.5 million, and former Liberal MP John Alexander is hoping to do the same on his Southern Highlands retreat if anyone has a spare $10 million-plus.
Independent MP Kylea Tink sold out of Northbridge for $6.35 million, freeing her to join the renters of Lane Cove, and Labor’s rising star Andrew Charlton put down more permanent roots in his Parramatta electorate when he bought a second property there for just shy of $2 million.
Even before Kyle Sandilands and “Jackie O” Henderson made radio history signing a new contract with KIIS FM reportedly worth more than $200 million they had found ways to spend it.
Kyle Sandilands has paid $14 million for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house in Vaucluse.Credit: Domain
Jackie bought a knock-down rebuild on the Clovelly oceanfront for $13.25 million, and Sandilands got out of the rental market buying a house in Vaucluse for $14 million.
Best-selling novelist Liane Moriarty paid $19.5 million for a Mosman mansion, and her mate Nicole Kidman expanded her hold on Lavender Bay’s Latitude building by $7.7 million when she bought her sixth apartment in the block.
Seven’s Larry Emdur secured a $1.9 million sale of his Berowra Waters retreat this week. It’ll swell his coffers nicely with the $2.78 million he scored in August for his Kangaroo Valley holiday home. And hours after Emdur’s sale logged on property portals The Project’s former host Carrie Bickmore sold her Byron Bay getaway for $4.3 million.
Jackie O Henderson bought a knock-down rebuild on oceanfront reserve at Clovelly.
The Cricket World Cup failed to interrupt the property plans of some of our best players. Steve Smith listed his glamorous Bronte digs for $7 million, now discounted to $6.7 million.
Knocking everyone for six was Mitchell Starc and Alyssa Healy’s play of the year, paying $24.5 million for the luxury Charlotte Park equestrian estate at Terrey Hills from the parents of Swans co-captain Callum Mills (known as Darren) and Simone Mills. Good thing Starc’s play for India’s Kolkata Knight Riders topped out at a record $4.43 million this week, making him the most expensive IPL player ever.
Tennis champ Lleyton Hewitt and his former actor wife Bec made a grand return to Sydney, paying $10.3 million for fairly schmick acreage at Glenhaven from none other than former Parramatta Eels great Nathan Hindmarsh.
But in the game of snakes and ladders, for every ladder on the board, there is a risk of sliding down a snake. Ask former billionaire mining magnate Nathan Tinkler. His bid to sell his resort-style mansion on the beachfront north of Coffs Harbour looked like a done deal in August. It wasn’t the $30 million he’d hoped for, but at $25 million it was still a ripper deal.
What was listed with $30 million hopes earlier this year by Nathan Tinkler is now listed for $15.9 million.Credit:
If the buyer just hadn’t failed to complete on the deal.
Since then, things have been a little awkward. City of Coffs Harbour council wants its $105,000 worth of outstanding rates, more caveats from outstanding creditors have accumulated on title, the local market has come off, buyers are reticent … and you start to see why the asking price is now $15.9 million.
The receivers for missing fraudster Melissa Caddick are also yet to sell. The Edgecliff penthouse she purchased nominally for her parents was listed in spring with $5.5 million hopes only to be pulled from its October auction.
Fraudster Melissa Caddick bought the Edgecliff penthouse for her parents to live in.
The latest price guide remains a secret, but Bruce Gleeson, a principal at the court-appointed receiver Jones Partners, did say that while “no acceptable offer has been received so far … we remain confident of a sale in the near future”.
Michael Teplitsky’s bid to buy arguably the best property development site on Sydney Harbour for $115 million came to naught. Instead, businessman John Roth has bought out his stake to take up the grand scheme instead.
Not everyone got to play their hand. Heiress Francesca Packer Barham is yet to land her hoped-for $32 million for her Horizon sub-penthouse and tech entrepreneur Patrick Grove is still patient almost eight months into his campaign to sell his $70 million Darling Point house.
Francesca Packer Barham’s sub-penthouse in the Horison building is listed for $32 million.Credit: Domain
Freight boss Arthur Tzaneros isn’t sweating it on his $45 million Vaucluse home despite paying $61.5 million in Bellevue Hill, and chicken heiress Jessica Ingham awaits her $15 million buyer for her Finger Wharf pad.
For those still waiting for a buyer, let Mortgage Choice co-founder Peter Higgins be a beacon of hope to you all. Thirteen years after he listed his Marara estate in Avalon Beach for $40 million, inflation and a buyer finally caught up with him in April and he sold it for just that amount.
Thirteen years after Peter Higgins listed the Marara estate at Avalon Beach for $40 million it sold.Credit: Graphics
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