15 Jan 2024 | 4 mins

Why 2024 could reset Australia’s most expensive home - Aust. Financial Review

Why 2024 could reset Australia’s most expensive home - Aust. Financial Review

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.

In what’s shaping up to be the most anticipated sale of 2024, Lendlease’s yet-to-be built One Circular Quay penthouse between the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge could reset the national residential record with expectations over $140 million.

Forbes

An exterior render of One Circular Quay, set to feature Australia’s most expensive penthouse.

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 of 2023 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 says. 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 thing 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 the recent mainstreaming of bitcoin could create the next wave of trophy home shoppers.

“It could well generate a second wave – some buyers will come from nowhere 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 $50 million offering of David Prior’s St Georges Roadcompound.

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 Ds – 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.

Forbes

The estate of the late David Hains is for sale with a $39 million to $42.5 million guide.