Expats drive Melbourne’s luxury property market

by | Aug 22, 2016 | property

This article was first published via theaustralian.com.au on 20th Aug 2016 by 

Image: This replica French chateau in Brighton, a beachside suburb of Melbourne, comes with a $15.5 million price tag.


Wealthy expatriates are driving a resurgence in the top-end luxury Melbourne market where prices range sky high but agents say demand is currently unprecedented.


One of the highest priced houses on the market right now is 10 Glyndon Avenue, Brighton, a four-bedroom, four-bathroom replica French chateau that was built six years ago.


The house has been up for sale for six weeks at $15.5 million, with bids of around $12.5m being rejected. Sothesby agent David Colbran says overseas buyers, ­especially from China, are keen on the ­property.


“The atmosphere is pretty rarefied in this price range so you don’t see too many potential buyers,” Colbran says.


“There has been a lot of overseas interest; the Chinese buyers are very keen to look. It’s definitely one for the owner occupiers, not the investment buyer. In Brighton it’s the top-priced house and I’d say it’s in the upper echelon of the market across the city.”


Another house on the market is in one of the city’s fanciest areas. Mohonga is a house with a colourful history that comes with a renovation that matches its past.


The property at 268 Domain Road, South Yarra, was formerly owned by Paul Rand, a Melbourne identity who inherited a string of brothels from his mother.


Mohonga is a 1920s Hollywood-style Spanish Mission residence designed by renowned architects Irwin and Stevenson. It was sold four years ago and renovated for a year before its present owners moved in. The house sits on 870sq m of land and features sleeping nude artwork, private lift, a harp and in-ground pool.


Marshall White agent Marcus Chiminello says buyer interest has been unprecedented for the property even though it is expected to sell for at least $12m. Sixty people toured the property last weekend.


However, he says demand for the top end of the market houses is currently at unprecedented levels.


“It’s really booming at the moment. I would say it’s at the highest levels it’s ever been,” Chiminello tells Mansion.


“The appetite in this segment is mainly from people who are looking to scale up and that can be from the aspect of both the house and the location. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my time selling real estate.”


Chiminello says a growing number of cashed-up expatriates returning to live in Australia are starting to look towards the top end of the market.


“There are expats who are coming back from London or having worked in Asia and are looking to take advantage of the exchange rate at the moment,” he says.


The Penthouse at 20 Grange Road, Toorak, is expected to fetch at least $5m, while the nearby 7 Merriwee Crescent apartment sold recently for $2.95m.


Sothesby agent Greg Herman says there had been a spike in buyers returning to Melbourne, especially from Europe.


“The expats are coming back from Europe and London. There’s been the Brexit vote, European companies are starting to move their headquarters and workers are moving out of London,” Herman says.


“Australia is in a position to capitalise on that. Europe is being seen as quite dangerous now whether it be London or Paris.


“In the Melbourne market, there’s no shortage of stock so that has been pushing up the prices.”