The future cost of downsizing into luxury apartments became clearer last year with off-the-plan prices soaring across the nation. And the resale of tightly held established apartments reinforced the accelerated pricing arising from the demand of the baby boomer generation.
Tesla chair Robyn Denholm’s $27.5m harbourside Cremorne purchase in Sydney aptly topped the ultra-prestige resales.
Denholm, whose 1963 birthdate puts her in the latter years of the demographic cohort that sits between the so-called “silent generation” and generation X, secured a whole-floor, seven-bedroom penthouse, with six car spaces, on Milson Rd.
She paid the highest price ever for an apartment outside the Sydney CBD market.
It was in the 1913 The Ritz hotel building, which was converted into eight apartments in the mid-1990s by prestige apartment developer Simon Symond, who thought about everything luxury buyers needed, except EV charging stations given they just weren’t around. The apartment was sold off market in August through Ken Jacobs at Forbes Global by veteran developer Ken Stevens, who had bought it in 2011 for $8.1m. It comes with 490sq m of internal space, 154sq m of balconies, plus 368sq m rooftop decking.
Denholm resided nearby at Waverton, splitting her time at a Whale Beach weekender.
After taking on the Tesla chair when company founder Elon Musk stepped down, Denholm’s $505m wealth had her in 246th place on last year’s The List – Australia’s Richest 250, but John Stensholt’s forthcoming calculations could see her slip off given the share price decline.
Bondi makes waves
Last year’s second-highest sale of an existing apartment across the nation came in May, when Multiplex heir Andrew Roberts bought at Bondi Beach. Roberts, who now runs his own construction firm, spent $24m on the 190sq m Notts Ave penthouse.
The deal set Australia’s residential per square metre price at $126,000 when bought from Spencer Young, the hedge fund operative and retired polo player. Young had bought the top-floor, three-bedroom, four-bathroom unit of the Graham Humphreys-designed triplex in 2006 for a then-suburb $9m record.
The top 10 list was dominated by four sales in One Barangaroo Crown Residences, with a $23.5m resale ranking as the nation’s third priciest in 2022. It represented a quick $3.5m gain for the vendor, Catherine Huang, who had paid $20m for 353sq m apartment off the plan on its early 2021 completion settlement. It was sold to Zening Hu from Bella Vista, who directs Good Luck Holdings. Last year saw the settlement of James Packer’s off-the-plan purchase in the WilkinsonEyre-designed complex at $72,229,573.
Quay sales buoyant
The future pricing was at its most obvious when two sub-penthouses sold at One Circular Quay, the luxury Lendlease Sydney CBD project. The project was purchased by the listed developer, in partnership with the Japanese-backed Mitsubishi Estate Asia, from investment house AWH for $850m after years of uncertainty during which it passed through the hands of Chinese property developers Yuhu and then Dalian Wanda, headed by exiled billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
Demolition occurred in 2017, after a $500m site amalgamation, which included Gold Fields House.
Construction has begun on the 190-apartment, 59-level residential tower designed by the late architect Kerry Hill, along with a second tower to be a 220-room Waldorf Astoria hotel with a 2027 scheduled completion.
One Circular Quay’s penthouse comes with a mooted $140m-plus price guide, which will be the highest price ever. It would outdo the $140m off-the-plan sale in 2019 of the top three floors of Lendlease’s Tower 1 development at One Sydney Harbour around at Barangaroo South, which was the two-storey penthouse atop the Renzo Piano-designed building and a sub-penthouse directly below, which are set to be separate apartments. Last year also saw sales at Residences Two at One Sydney Harbour selling at just above and just below $50m.
South Yarra tops list
Melbourne’s priciest sale was an unconfirmed $16m for a recently completed South Yarra triplex apartment, with its priciest-ever established relisting remaining for sale at 150 Clarendon, East Melbourne.
The whole floor Clarendon St, East Melbourne apartment.
The penthouse is priced at $29m-$31m through Kay & Burton agents Ross Savas and Jamie Mi, who suggest the 1000sq m-plus floorplan with Stuart Rattle fit-out overlooking Fitzroy Gardens was the largest whole-floor apartment in the southern hemisphere. It had sold off the plan by Salta Properties at $19.35m, settling in 2009, to Hong Kong-based company director Margaret Lou.
Melbourne’s top off-the-plan apartment sale last year was at STH BNK by Beulah when a sub-penthouse sold for $35m. There were two other sales at about $30m in the project, which is destined to be tallest tower in Australia. The sale by the Malaysia-backed developer exceeded the record set in 2019, when regional media tycoon Antony Catalano spent $30m for a penthouse at Gurner’s Saint Moritz development at St Kilda Beach.
Realm still reigns
There was no off-the-plan sale last year of the $10m penthouse 3701/21 Grote St in the Woods Bagot-designed Market Square, Adelaide project, so the tightly held Realm high-rise again secured the city’s top-selling apartment deal.
It was a $3.9m apartment purchase by Michael Brixton, who directs the Mastec waste and recycling business. The Elenberg Fraser-designed apartment was sold by crash repairer Rocco Giglio and wife, Toni who had paid $2.68m off the plan.
New Farm harvest
Brisbane’s top apartment deal was an off-the-plan $11.3m sale at New Farm when Azure Group’s penthouse at One Five Six Oxlade Drive sold.
There had been a $10m sale through Place Bulimba agent Sarah Hackett to Singapore expatriates in Cutter’s Landing, New Farm with its four bedrooms commanding river and city views. The 1821/22 Refinery Pde home had been first sold in 2001 by ASX-listed Mirvac at $2,787,900 after combining two planned penthouses. Spanning 600sq m, it came with parking for eight cars, which suited its longtime owner, car enthusiast John Harris, who relocated to the tightly held Riyala, East Brisbane complex.
Queensland’s dearest apartment sales in 2022 were both OTP exchanges of Gold Coast penthouses. The Spyre Group sold its two-level penthouse at 10 Goodwin Tce, Burleigh Heads in its Glasshouse development for $20m to an interstate buyer.
There was a $19m sale of the five-bedroom, four-bathroom penthouse at 3519 Main Beach Pde, Main Beach. With about 750sq m space, it is in the Amani Tower by developer Greg Eastment.
Perth’s top sale in 2022 was the Claremont penthouse 1501/1 Airlie St in The Grove project that sold OTP in October at $16.4m. Developer Paul Blackburne secured the sale of one of the two top-floor offerings, having previously secured the city’s most expensive penthouse sale at $20m-plus at his One Subiaco.