THE top end of the real estate market is set to take off.
Peak property research group RP Data has forecast price rises of 10-15 per cent in Australia’s most expensive homes this year.
Wealthy Aussies and overseas buyers, buoyed by the country’s healthy economy, are tipped to return to the prestige market, according to the researcher.
Vicky Innes, of Byron Bay Property Sales, has already experienced the boom. She recently achieved a record sale price per square metre for a 434sqm house in Marine Parade, Wategos Beach.
The three-bedroom beach house sold for $5.5 million, and is being renovated by its new owners for a holiday home.
But only time will tell if buyers are willing to cough up the mountain of cash being asked for Byron Bay’s most expensive property.
Villa Gabrielle at 144 Lighthouse Road has a price tag of $12 million.
The villa, which boasts ‘resort style sophistication, impeccably styled to offer every conceivable luxury’ and uninterrupted views across the bay, is on the market through LJ Hooker.
There are at least half a dozen other properties with a price of $6 million-plus in Byron Shire, on the coast and in the hinterland.
Among them is Cedar Springs at Possum Creek, built by Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan, for which offers of more than $7 million are sought.
Also priced at $7 million is a contemporary home in Federal named Amileka – winner of the 2008 Architecture Award from the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Country Division, and a 2009 Master Builders Association Regional Award.
Both properties are being sold by Unique Estates’ Nicolette van Wijngaarden, who has just sold another $7 million home, Emerald Valley Villa at Goonengerry. The buyer was from Hong Kong and will use the 32-hectare property as a holiday retreat.
More than 30 per cent of the inquiries at the top end came from overseas, Ms van Wijngaarden said.
As well as houses, Unique Estates has listed a 92 hectares of land at South Ballina for $8 million.
Byron agent Ed Silk confirmed the mid–to-high-range markets were very strong in Sydney and Melbourne.
Changes in foreign investment rules meant more Asian buyers were able to buy here, Mr Silk said.
There also was a pick-up in demand from expatriates, who thought the bottom of the market had been reached.
Nationally, 72 homes priced at more than $5 million each sold in the December quarter.