Domain’s Lucy Macken points out how the Sydney downsizers are pushing up apartment demand
Downsizing in property parlance has long referred to the empty-nester trend of moving from a family home to a smaller – and often less expensive – apartment.
Not any more. Downsizing among the well-heeled has been upsized dramatically judging by some of the most notable apartments sales this year.
Take former Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters and his wife, Helen.
Records show that three years after his retirement, the couple have traded in their four-bedroom house with a pool in Bellevue Hill – which had an asking price of about $5.5 million – to buy a four-bedroom apartment with pool access on the waterfront in Darling Point for $10.15 million.
The purchase — through David Malouf, of LJ Hooker Double Bay — marked a decent upgrade for the couple into what was marketed to meet tight eastern suburbs downsizer demand.
Thanks to that pent-up demand, the only thing being downsized in many of these deals is the effort that owners have to put into maintaining the home, said CBRE director Ben Stewart.
“People don’t want to hang out in the house like they used to,” Stewart said. “They want to travel more, they want to eat out, and they don’t want to spend their weekends mowing lawns.”
It is far from the only Sydney-style downsizer on records.
Sydney University chancellor Belinda Hutchinson is now a registered resident of the two-storey penthouse bought in a company name that set a Point Piper apartment record in June at $20 million.
It sits atop the block of three designed by the late architect Ercole Palazetti, who was commissioned by property developer Phillip George and his wife, Jane after they were unable to find suitable downsizer digs in the east.
It was a similar scenario played out in Mosman when millionaire businessman John Kinghorn sold his five-bedroom waterfront mansion in Mosman for about $12.5 million to buy a waterfront apartment with four bedrooms in the same suburb for $10.22 million.
Audio king Peter Freedman, of RODE Microphones, was trading up from a $5 million pad in the Ikon at Potts Point when he set a suburb high in November to buy one of the tower’s penthouses for $16 million.
Orthopaedic surgeon and human rights activist Munjed Al Muderis set a Lavender Bay high of $10.5 million in July when he bought into the Blue at Lavender Bay development off the plan as an upgrade from his $3 million pad in Milsons Point.
Sydney clocked up its second-highest apartment sale this year when veteran venture capitalist Bob Blann bought a whole-floor spread of about 515 square metres in the Crown Resorts tower off-the-plan for about $40 million.
It is set a few floors above the $60 million spread bought by James Packer last year, to replace the $70 million mega-mansion in Vaucluse he and former wife Erica sold in 2015.
The third highest apartment sale stands at $27 million for the Opera Residences penthouse set in 2017 when businessman and philanthropist Robert Salteri and his wife Kelly bought it, replacing their $21 million family home in Northbridge.