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AFR: Why 2024 could reset Australia's most expensive home


A national price record, downsizer demand for off-the-plan projects, lithium and bitcoin-backed buyers and wealthy Chinese pushing up prices in holiday home markets are just some of the luxury property trends on the cards for 2024.

AFR Weekend spoke to Australia's leading agents and buyer advocates to crystal-ball the year ahead - which is set to deliver more suburb records underpinned by continued price growth and short supply.

Expect records, but slower growth

Eye-watering Sydney penthouses aside, experts agree 2024 will be defined by a shortage of top-tier properties in blue -chip locations.

Pillinger's Brad Pillinger - who sold Australia's most expensive property of2023 with Bellevue Hill's $76 million Leura estate -says he expects prestige prices to creep higher this year.

"There will be continued growth, but it might be a slower rate than the last three years, " he said. The veteran eastern suburbs agent reckons cash rate fluctuations won't dictate prestige prices. "Interest rates don't tend to rock the very top end."

But tight supply should underpin more record prices.

"They [records] will be eclipsed, that's my gut feel," he says. There are certainly properties worth more than those [that hold the records], and it's a matter of time before they come on."

Forbes Global Properties agent Ken Jacobs - who handled the $100 million sale of the Fairfax family's Fairwater estate to tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes in 2018 - agrees the prestige market is primed for another year of big deals.

The Sydney-based agent says a record could be set by a relocating foreigner.

"China, Europe and America are all having an interest in Australia's trophy market," Jacobs says. "Just one or two people from any of those regions could potentially set the record.

"We are seeing more interest coming back from China, equally we are seeing there are high net worth Europeans who want to buy outside of Europe because of the concern of uncontrolled immigration in Europe."

But the right listing can transform wealthy locals into active buyers overnight, he adds.

"The right property will create the buyer," Jacobs said. 'A lot of the trophy home owners won't sell as there's nothing to go to but If the right thin comes up then it will transform them to instant buyers."

Lithium, bitcoin fortunes fuel 'next wave'

In Melbourne, Kay & Burton chairman Gerald Delany - who sold late Rich Lister Ron Walker's Toorak estate for about $61 million to lithium boss Nic Wakim - said 2024 would have more out-of-the-blue buyers.

"You've seen tech people, now a lithium fortune," Delany says, adding there cent mainstreaming of bitcoin could create the next wave of trophy home shoppers.

"It could well generate a second wave - some buyers will come from no where and have enormous wealth as a result. You never know where the next buyer will come from."

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based buyer's agent David Morrell says two 2023 carry-over trophy listings to watch in 2024 are both in Toorak, with the Albany Road estate of late billionaire David Hains guiding about $42 million, along with the circa $50million offering of David Prior's St Georges Road compound.

Morrell says he isn't expecting an early rush of listings in Melbourne's top suburbs, pointing to trepidation around global conflict. It is up to the three D's - death, divorce, downsizing - to drive trophy listings in the year ahead.

"Unless you have the need to [sell], it's probably the most cautious time I've seen in a long time," Morrell says.


Off-the-plan projects to boost luxury supply

Prestige buyer's agent Deb West, of Sydney Slice, says a lack of large luxury apartments is preventing downsizers from listing the family home.

"People can't trade up or trade down - and people aren't selling [the family home] because there's a lack of large downsizer apartments, and that's stopping younger families from trading up because there's nowhere to go," she says. The trophy home queue is long.

"There are a lot of cashed-up buyers, people are taking one to two years to find a family home, and they will pay a premium if the right property comes up," West says. "There are surprising numbers of buyers with budgets between $10 million up to $60 million."

West says some relief will come as off-the-plan luxury apartments and town house projects come online.

Wealthy downsizers are snapping up boutique developments, with 250-square metre-plus floor plans, however, a two- to three-year construction lag is creating a bottleneck, she says.


Yet-to-be built luxury apartment project Redan Lane is being snapped up by wealthy Mosman downsizers.

Sydney examples include Redan Lane on the Balmoral sloped in Mosman - which clocked two circa $19 million off-the-plan sales before its official launch - and Double Bay's Ode project with $24.9 million paid for the off-the-plan penthouse well ahead of its 2025 completion date.

This article was originally published here.

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