Despite 2020 being headlined by the first recession in almost three decades, Australia’s property sector has made it through the year remarkably unscathed, particularly premium property markets.
Widespread predictions early in the year had house prices dropping by as much as 20% off the back of the coronavirus pandemic, but prices have behaved to the contrary, rising almost everywhere.
The biggest house sales of 202001:03
Chief economist at realestate.com.au Nerida Conisbee said prestige markets have “powered ahead” because, despite the COVID-led recession, there is still a lot of money around.
“Some parts of the economy have actually benefitted from COVID,” Ms Conisbee said. “The tech and mining industries have done very well, for example.
“Job losses have primarily affected people who work in hospitality and tourism. Most white-collar workers have kept their jobs while working from home.
“Very low interest rates are also helping home buyers. You can actually get mortgage rates under 2% now, so money is the cheapest it has ever been.”
Waterfront properties are unsurprisingly sought after in Vaucluse, Sydney. Picture: Getty.
Ms Conisbee added there is also a lot of foreign investment in Australia’s prestige property markets.
“Australia is seen as a safe place to put money. There are also expats wanting to come home, particularly from Hong Kong and the US. There’s a lot of money coming from overseas.”
Prestige buyers are drawn to the big blue
Data from realestate.com.au revealing the top Australian house sales in 2020 illustrates a strong waterside theme.
Ms Conisbee said water views are just one of many features that can add value to a property.
“These can include features of the actual home such as a swimming pool or a particularly nice kitchen; proximity to amenity such as a great school or retail precinct; an attractive streetscape or particularly nice water views,” she explained.
The waterfront home in Mermaid Beach, Queensland reportedly sold for $22.6 million in August 2020. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
Managing director at Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty – Double Bay Michael Palliersaid the Sydney Harbour views from the mansion at 42 Vaucluse Road, Vaucluse are picture perfect.
The spectacular home sold for $24.6 million – $10.46 million above the written reserve – in September 2020, setting a new Australian record for a house sold under the hammer.
“As you walk through [the house] you can see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in front of you. It just captured that beautiful Sydney experience for so many buyers, locally and overseas,” Mr Pallier said.
“The home is also elevated, you walk in and the land drops away below the house and that picture postcard view is right there. That’s what I think drove the price up.”
The beachfront beauty at 187-191 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach was a top sale in Queensland this year, according to the realestate.com.au analysis. It was snapped up by billionaire developer Bob Ell for a cool $22.6 million after just a week on the market.
Principal at Amir Prestige – Paradise Point Amir Mian said there aren’t many homes on the Gold Coast where your backyard is the beach.
“Properties like this one right on the beach, a beautiful home – they’re not that common. So, when they come up, they do get snapped up,” Mr Mian said.
“Now with the coronavirus, people want to live the lifestyle and not just have their money sitting in the bank. That’s getting a lot of people to actually go and start living the dream, and this home is actually a dream.”
Here are the most expensive sold listings on realestate.com.au for each state and territory in 2020.
NSW: Harbourside mansion
42 Vaucluse Road, Vaucluse
The Vaucluse mansion takes in Sydney’s iconic harbourside landmarks. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
Harbour views don’t get any better than at this exclusive Vaucluse abode.
Spanning approximately 1085sqm of land, this palatial home is set against a spectacular 180-degree Sydney Harbour backdrop, taking in the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, City Skyline and North Sydney.
The luxury five-bedroom, five-bathroom mansion boasts a tennis court, indoor/outdoor heated lap pool, lush tropical gardens and expansive balconies. It’s truly fit for royalty.
The home sold for $24.6 million in September 2020.
VIC: Regal city residence
2 Lascelles Avenue, Toorak
The lavish five-bedroom, four-bathroom family home in Toorak. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
This lavish family home in blue-chip Toorak sets the scene for a Great Gatsby-esque soiree.
The five-bedroom, four-bathroom property has been sympathetically renovated, maintaining its original c1935 design. There’s something for everyone with breathtaking gardens, a pool and north-south tennis court.
If the regal sitting room with gas fire, formal dining room, library and six-car garage aren’t enough to impress you then perhaps the fitted home cinema and temperature-controlled wine cellar will do the trick.
The entertainer’s dream sold for $14.75 million in October 2020.
QLD: Beachfront haven
187-191 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach
The home offers the very best of Gold Coast living. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were on an exotic island in this blissful beachside home in Mermaid Beach.
With about 30 metres of direct ocean frontage and a patrolled beach, this five-bedroom, five bathroom home offers the very best of Gold Coast living.
The luxurious in-ground, tiled pool at the centre of the home allows you to cool off in private. There is also a spacious basement with space for at least seven cars, a gym, cold room, sauna and even a private bedroom for your dog.
The home reportedly sold for $22.6 million in August 2020.
WA: Breathtaking riverfront abode
140 Victoria Avenue, Dalkeith
This Dalkeith oasis is only 10 minutes from the Perth CBD. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
You would never know you’re just 10 minutes from Perth CBD in this Dalkeith oasis.
Set on lush grounds featuring frangipanis, a long, tree-lined driveway and a rainforest microcosm with a series of waterfalls, the beautiful home is hidden from the outside world.
For thrill seekers there are canoes, kayaks, dinghies and paddle boards housed in a boat shed as well a jet ski, wakeboards and waterskis.
The home reportedly sold for $14 million in April 2020.
This five-bedroom property has spectacular coastal views. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
You can feel the sand between your toes just thinking about this beautiful Henley Beachproperty.
Set on approximately 1443sqm of land with the beach at your doorstep, the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home offers spectacular 189-degree coastal views and road-free access to the golden sands of Henley Beach.
It offers resort-style living just a hop, skip and a jump away from the vibrant Henley Square & Grange.
Without doubt, this is one of the most exceptional homes on Perth’s southern coastline and is expected to set a new record for the suburb of Waikiki.
Located high on an elevated 5226sqm block with a notable glass dome, the landmark property at 5 Shelton Street in Waikiki is a unique proposition, well away from the area’s plethora of modest 3×1 homes and median house price of $350,000.
Built in 1995, the abode dubbed Bayview hosts five bedrooms in the main residence and a three-bedroom annex, as well as a stunning indoor swimming pool, a temperature-controlled 3000-bottle cellar that comes with a private tasting area and two fully-equipped outdoor bars.
Selling agent Daniel Ialacci, from Ray White Rockingham Baldivis, said the property was a standout and expected it to break all previous sale records in the area.
“There are a couple of high-end properties and then there’s this one,” Mr Ialacci said.
“This property is definitely in a league of its own, which is why it’s probably attracted so much attention.”
Set over three levels, the floorplan spans 1166sqm and includes a spacious atrium foyer, elegant spiral staircase and rear sunroom that takes in spectacular views over the hinterland and Darling Range. The top floor is a professional office.
Mr Ialacci said the indoor pool, complete with a dolphin mosaic, was built inside with the sellers’ grandchildren in mind, with an open view from the kitchen and living area.
The estate is securely gated and has CCTV and roller shutters to the windows.
“Everyone who walks in says they love the size of the property and the panoramic vistas, which are some of the best I’ve ever seen,” Mr Ialacci said.
“The home is a real icon and everyone in the local area knows it. There is nothing even close to what this property has to offer in the area.”
The current residential sale record for Waikiki is $2.5 million, which was achieved in 2009.
The property was passed in at auction last Wednesday 9 December and Mr Ialacci is now taking offers.
Designed by renowned architectural firm Oakley and Parkes, this timeless, heritage home in leafy Forrest perfectly melds the old with the new. The original handiwork of renowned Melbourne architects Percy Oakley and Stanley Parkes, the home has been modernised through a series of renovation and refurbishment projects that have stayed true to the history of the 1920s gem at 58 Dominion Circuit. The majestic gardens and impeccable styling was picked up by ‘House & Garden’ magazine, which featured the abode.
one of Canberra’s most exclusive heritage precincts and had taken out several awards for its high-calibre renovations.
“It’s done in a very sophisticated and classic style with the best quality materials, while keeping it sympathetic to the architecture of the time,” Mr Sanfrancesco said.
“The end result is a magnificent family home in the inner south of Canberra with all the modern luxuries we like in 2020.”
The five-bedroom property, which includes a separate study and library, has retained its heritage features, including French doors, sash windows, high ceilings and two original fireplaces, while integrating with new technology.
High-end technology includes electronic weather protection outside, hydronic heating to the wall panels and bathroom floors, surround sound, electric blinds, touch lighting and security.
With seamless interaction between indoor and outdoor components, the house offers an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven, fireplace, heated swimming pool, outdoor shower, spa, sauna and a series of garden rooms.
Outside, the formal gardens include hedging and avenues of established trees, with crepe myrtle and cascading wisteria among roses and camellias.
The charming property will go to auction on 17 December at 6pm.
Watch the Latest Housing Market Update across Australia and Perth. The housing and economic data is derived from the CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index for the month of November, released in December 2020.
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