Next month, one of the country’s top real estate agents is embarking on a journey through Asia with details of nearly $500 million worth of prestige Australian real estate in his briefcase.
He is not alone, as top Australian prestige agents take their messages to the world about the country’s appealing luxury homes.
“There’s now just so much interest from overseas in our property,” says Nicolette van Wijngaarden of Unique Estates, who is the selling agent for a $10 million, six-bedroom home in Port Douglas that she says has great appeal to buyers both in Australia and overseas.
“Global issues are seeing buyers looking at Australia as a safe haven – safer than Europe – some people are put off the US by what’s happening politically, and we’re still consistently being voted one of the most livable countries in the world. That lifestyle factor is so important.”
Sydney, Melbourne and upmarket resort towns like Port Douglas in Queensland are also assuming a much more conspicuous position on the global stage, with a great deal more awareness among high net worth individuals in New York, London, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
For instance, a spectacular new estate on Towers Road in Toorak owned by entrepreneurs and arts patrons Daniel and Danielle Besen which is said to be worth well over $30 million, is attracting offers from potential buyers in Asia, the Middle East, the US and Britain, as well as from Australia.
“We’ve had inquiries coming from everywhere since the word came out that it was going to be on the market,” says Marshall White director Marcus Chiminello.
“These days, 95 per cent of our homes are put on the international market and promoted globally, and the presence of international buyers is increasing, now making up about 10 per cent for us.”
Daniel and Danielle Besen’s stunning Toorak property is raising interest from luxury home buyers around the world. Photo: Domain.com.au
That strength of interest in Australian property overseas convinced Sydney LJ Hooker director Bill Malouf to visit Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in November for a series of one-on-one meetings with prime buyers about a selection of homes, each worth between $38 million to over $100 million.
“I’m meeting buyers face-to-face and making presentations to private clubs of high net worth individuals about a number of estates, penthouses and waterfront homes,” Malouf says.
He is selling a palatial harbourfront Sydney mansion in conjunction with Ken Jacobs the managing director of Christie’s International Real Estate.
Set over four levels and with 2200-square-metre interiors meticulously built by Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond, it is being marketed with the ultimate discretion.
Jacobs racks up at least four overseas trips a year where he speaks on the Australian property market and taps into a range of events for high net worth individuals.
“Last November, the arts side of Christie’s in Hong Kong had their auctions with a lot of high net worth clients, so the real estate arm had a press conference there to talk about the market and different nuances of the market,” says Jacobs.
“Another time we’ll be asked by Australian banks to go over to a Hong Kong launch to talk about the market and build relationships.
“This year, we also had meetings in Switzerland, and we met a Russian client who was selling there and was looking to invest in various parts of the world.”
Kay & Burton director Ross Savas says with overseas buyers representing 50 per cent of sales, international relationships are key.
“We’ve really ramped it up in the last 20 years and invested very heavily in it, not only in financial terms but in thousands and thousands of man hours too,” Savas says.
“We go half a dozen times a year and visit high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals.”
Ground covered includes Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London, with both expats and international buyers in mind.
Meanwhile, international agency Sotheby’s looks to its Australian affiliates for properties that are in demand by its clients worldwide.
“Every Australian property we promote is vetted by Sotheby’s in New York and then earmarked for international exposure, which might happen on price, aesthetic or even if the owner might be known internationally,” Pallier says.
“People have a real fascination with Australia.”