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The slowdown in the broader housing market does not appear to have dented demand for trophy homes after theatre director Michael Kantor – the nephew of media baron Rupert Murdoch – and his wife Silvia sold their Melbourne mansion for more than $24 million at a private auction on Thursday night.
Another luxury home, the late Melbourne businessman John McMurrick’s Toorak property, also sold above expectations this week, for more than $19 million.
Namarong, the Kantors’ six-bedroom Victorian-era Italianate residence set on 3370 square metres in Armadale’s leafy Hampden Road, came to market in April with price expectations of between $22 million and $24 million.
The Kantors bought Namarong, which was completed in 1868 for a Melbourne shipping merchant, for $9 million in 2009 from art dealer Rod Menzies.
Before that, it was owned by former Toll Holdings boss and Rich Lister Paul Little, who bought it from a Catholic order in 1986.
Michael Gibson, who marketed Namarong alongside his Forbes Global Properties colleagues, Robert Fletcher and Ken Jacobs, said two local parties had emerged ahead of the expressions of interest campaign closing next week.
“Someone put in a bid, and so we go to a satisfactory position where we could hold a private auction,” Mr Gibson told The Australian Financial Review.
“Two parties bid for the property at the auction, and it sold above the quoted range, which was great for the vendors and a very solid outcome.”
Mr Gibson declined to identify the buyer but said they were Melbourne business people.
He said the top end of the Melbourne market was not showing the signs of slowdown occurring more broadly elsewhere. Combined capital city values fell 0.3 per cent last month as Sydney house prices dropped 1 per cent and Melbourne’s 0.7 per cent.
“The market at the upper end remains very strong. There is enormous interest in it as seen by the fact that we have multiple buyers on each property we are selling,” Mr Gibson said.
“In fact, there appears to be a shortage of supply.”
This view was reinforced by the sale this week of another Melbourne mansion, the Toorak home of the late Mr McMurrick, who co-founded insurance brokerage firm Freeman McMurrick.
The Financial Review understands it sold for more than $19 million – well above its price guide of $17 million to $18.5 million. The six-bedroom home on St Georges Road includes a pool, a cinema and a six-car garage. It was marketed by Richard Mackinnon and Fraser Cahill of Marshall White and is labelled as “Under Offer” online.