Toorak mansion fetches $20m as market picks up
Michael BlebySenior reporter
Helen Stamoulis, widow of the late Rich Lister Spiros Stamoulis, sold a five-bedroom Toorak mansion previously occupied by her daughter Melina last week after eight months of trying, in a rising market for top-end properties that is now seeing buyers snap up harder-to-sell properties.
The 20 St Georges Road home that shares a boundary with the neighbouring property’s driveway and has an undersized tennis court sold off-market below the $20 million to $22 million asking range, market sources said.
Selling agent Marshall White’s Marcus Chiminello said the home sold for “around $20 million”, but declined to comment further.
Buyers at the top end are following the lead of mid-range housing markets, with a growing intensity for property that pushed prices up at their fastest pace in 17 years in February, and which data provider CoreLogic’s daily index shows are up a further 2.6 per cent in Sydney and 1.6 per cent in Melbourne over the first three weeks of March.
“Most people – especially in the last six weeks – have made more out of their house than they would out of their day job,” Melbourne buyer’s agent David Morrell said. “We haven’t seen that since the ’80s.”
Heavy rain across Sydney failed to dampen the auction market, with CoreLogic reporting a preliminary clearance rate of 87.5 per cent based on the reported 891 results of 1048 auctions scheduled over the week to Saturday.
The initial clearance rate was in line with the previous week’s 87.4 preliminary rate – later revised down to 84.3 per cent – even as the number of homes going to auction picked up by one-fifth from 806 a week earlier.
But much of the action in the NSW capital is also happening off the auction markets, with vendors being offered prices they are willing to accept without waiting out a four-week campaign.
In Sydney’s inner western suburb of Haberfield, a two-bedroom semi-detached house sold for $1.91 million on Wednesday night after just one inspection last Saturday.
The vendor of the 254 Hawthorne Parade house had initially wanted to get $1.75 million for the home but raised the asking price to $1.85 million, McGrath Inner East Leichhardt agent Michael Tringali said.
“I didn’t think she’d get $1.75 million,” Mr Tringali said. “I thought it would be about $1.6 million. Before we launched, she said, ‘The market is going crazy where I’m going to buy, so can you increase the asking price to $1.85 million?’ Then a buyer came in and offered over the asking price.”
Rising prices are also prompting interest in off-the-plan sales, especially those that benefit from state and government incentives such as HomeBuilder that end this month.
In north-western Sydney’s Norwest, developer Sekisui House on Saturday sold 75 of the 330 apartments to go on sale in stage three of its two-tower Lumia project in the developer’s masterplanned community The Orchards.
In Melbourne, which posted a preliminary clearance rate of 78.9 per cent, based on the reported results of 1319 scheduled auctions – down from the previous week’s initial 80.3 per cent – the pace of price rises is also making owners wary to sell, out of concern they may not be able to buy back in.
In inner-southern Port Melbourne, Greg Hocking Real Estate agent Simon Gowling said the owners of a single-fronted Victorian home on Ingles Street who had been planning to put their property on the market now had withdrawn it from sale.
“They knew they would get a great price but the more expensive property they were going to buy would be out of reach for them, so they may as well sit and wait, build equity up and borrow more down the track,” Mr Gowling said.
Melbourne and Sydney dominate the country’s auction market. The third- largest city for auctions, Brisbane, reported a preliminary 73 per cent clearance rate based in the initial results of 151 scheduled auctions.
Canberra, with 96 scheduled auctions, reported an 85.1 per cent clearance rate and Adelaide, with 92 auctions, had a preliminary clearance rate of 77.5 per cent.
Melina Stamoulis put the St Georges Road home – title records for which show it was owned by her mother Helen – up for sale after last year acquiring a newly built house on Irving Road in Toorak for $10.75 million.
Melina Stamoulis is the surviving sister of developer Harry Stamoulis, who paid a then-record $24 million in 2010 for the former Ballieu family residence at 39 St Georges Road and subsequently built a new mansion, estimated to cost $70 million, to replace the Federation style house.
Ms Stamoulis is also a director of the family’s private investment and development companies, as well as a director of the family company that owns Melbourne’s Greek-language 3XY Radio Hellas and Ta Nea Newspaper.
She and brother Harry are the two surviving children of their mother, Helen, and late father, who emigrated to Australia at the age of 12 and was an Australian champion at Greco-Roman wrestling before founding his soft drinks company and subsequently moving into property investment. Their sister Nafsika died in 2004, aged 24.