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Real estate agents hope the listing of historic Lavender Bay mansion Idlemere, arguably among the lower north shore’s best waterfront homes, for sale in the $45-50 million bracket will encourage more trophy-home owners to test the market.
Sydney’s top-end market has been more of an underground one this year as the bulk of $20 million-plus deals are negotiated behind closed doors, thanks to a surfeit of cashed-up buyers and fewer than normal trophy homes for sale.
Historic Idlemere is owned by Kerry Paramor, wife of property veteran Greg Paramor, AO.Credit:Domain
Intensifying the run-up to Christmas is a delayed start to the traditional spring selling season, due to the recent long weekend and school holidays, and claims by agents that the shortage of homes for sale is keeping the high-end market afloat.
Idlemere has been home to Kerry and Greg Paramor, the property and funds management veteran who sits on the boards of Charter Hall and Sydney Swans, for the past 20 years. They bought the property in late 2001 for $7.25 million.
Agents have been circling the plum listing since the Paramors bought the penthouse atop Darlinghurst’s Top of the Town building in July last year for $10.5 million from property developer Duncan Hardie.
Alison Coopes, of her eponymous agency, launched the sales campaign on Thursday with a December 6 expressions of interest deadline.
The five-bedroom residence is set on a waterfront parcel of 1418 square metres in Lavender Bay.Credit:Domain
The historic residence is set on 1400 square metres and was built about 1880 for the chairman of the Rowing Association, Edwin Maximilian Dietrich, and sold in 1897 to prominent banker Sir Thomas Dibbs.
According to heritage records, the downstairs part of the house was rented by cricket great Don Bradman in the early 1930s when the house was owned by Alexander Allan, and plans to demolish it in the mid-1980s to make way for apartments caused an uproar before then environment minister in the Wran government, Bob Carr, stepped in to save it.
In late 1984, architects Philip Cox and Louise Cox were part of a syndicate with David Hunt who lodged plans to replace the historic house with a block of eight units spread over four levels, but local Mayor Ted Mack refused to approve the DA even before Carr stepped in with preservation orders.
Cox later claimed he had no intention of demolishing the house but had lodged the plans to prove the Valuer-General’s increased land values were wrong, given it could not be redeveloped.
Idlemere was saved from the wrecking ball in 1985 by then Minister for the Environment Bob Carr.Credit:Bruce Milton
The Bay View Street property claims top-shelf position on the Lavender Bay waterfront facing the Harbour bridge and a 30-metre harbour frontage that includes a boat shed with self-contained guest quarters, jetty and private beach.
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom residence was restored and renovated by heritage architect Clive Lucas in collaboration on the initial DA with architect Tim Allison.
Atlas’ Michael Coombs said there was mounting pressure on vendors to go to the broader market if they were serious about selling because there were just two months left of the year and it remained unknown how the high-end market would fare next year.
“And vendors who might have been sitting on the fence can see that, particularly on the North Shore, prices might not be what they were at the start of the year, but they’re not copping the losses of the broader market either,” Coombs said.
Buyer’s agent Simon Cohen, of Cohen Handler, said the current shortage of trophy homes was far and away the worst it had ever been.
That shortage of homes for sale comes at a time when the pool of buyers at that level has never been larger, with some buyers who have been looking to buy for more than $20 million for more than two years, said buyers’ agent Deb West, of SydneySlice.
“People are only selling if they are one of the three Ds: death, divorce or downsizing,” West said. “And the domino effect of that is there is nothing for downsizers to buy, which is impeding the market even further.”
The lack of listings competing in the open market also feeds a misconception among trophy home owners that buyers will pay any amount of money for their property, which is not true, said Cohen.
In recent months many of the top sales have all been negotiated off-market, meaning no marketing or public disclosures about the listing were available.
Among those sales was the Cremorne Point penthouse bought by Tesla chair Robyn Denholm for $27.5 million, an almost $30 million waterfront house in Point Piper sold by former rag trader-turned-importer Peter Placek, and a Bellevue Hill mansion sold for about $27 million to Stephanie and Garrett Jandegian.
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