Afterpay boss’ quiet $26 million buy caps benchmark year for Toorak

Key points

  • Melbourne’s standout sales this year were two Toorak homes that traded for $80 million and near-$75 million.
  • Crypto king Ed Craven bought two Toorak pads – the record-breaker and another residence for $38.5 million.
  • But there has been some easing among the $5 million to $10 million market, agents said, and less of an appetite for renovation projects. 

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It’s a sign of the new benchmark for Melbourne’s prestige property market that a $26 million sale was able to slip under the radar this year, even when the new owners are Afterpay co-founder Anthony Eisen and his interior designer wife Samantha.

All eyes were on two record-breaking sales nearby in Toorak, one at $80 million and another at close to $75 million, defying the broader property downturn.

This Toorak house reset records when it sold for $80,000,088 to Ed Craven.Credit:Louis Trerise

The Eisen family’s new home transacted quietly in Samantha’s name for $26.01 million, public records show.

The Toorak residence is set on a large block of close to 2000 square metres, marking an upgrade from the Brighton pad they bought for $6.2 million in 2017.

Afterpay co-founder Anthony Eisen.Credit:Eamon Gallagher

The more expensive the home, the less likely its buyers were worried about rising interest rates during 2022.

But not every luxury home is immune, especially properties that need work or fall into the sub-eight figures bracket, and the market at this level can be property-specific.

Marshall White’s Marcus Chiminello said the highest end of the market was strong due to more demand from buyers than homes for sale, as potential sellers concerned they would not be able to find a suitable home to buy decided to stay put and renovate.

“The ultra-prestige is defying market trends and has probably strengthened rather than eased,” he said.

“There has been some easing in some sectors of the property market: the $5 million to $10 million range, particularly things that need work, there is less of an appetite to secure.”

Turnkey homes benefited from stronger demand because of the rise in building costs that deterred many buyers from choosing homes that needed work, he said.

Chiminello handled the two record-breaking St Georges Road sales, one to co-founder of cryptocurrency casino, Ed Craven, for $80,000,088 through buyer’s agent Kim Easterbrook, and for just shy of $75 million to entrepreneur Grant Rule, who founded SMS marketing technology company MessageMedia. The former was a knockdown-rebuild, and the latter had scope for some improvements.

Another Toorak mansion sold for just shy of $75 million.Credit:Marshall White

The previous Melbourne record was $52.5 million for a mansion known as Stonington, in Malvern, sold by art dealer Rod Menzies in 2018.

Chiminello’s other deals this year include Ed Craven’s other purchase, a $38.5 million stylish Toorak home from property developer William Deague and, in conjunction with BlackDiamondz principal Monika Tu, the $32 million Chasse Gardée bought by international businessman Mark Healey.

He expects the prestige market next year will depend on whether more homes are listed for sale.

Buyer’s advocate David Morrell warned the record-breaking sales encouraged a string of other homeowners to test the market, adding it remained to be seen whether they would achieve their expected price.

“You want to meet the market today? It is there. But these people have gone out in the expectation that their market today is going to be 10 per cent to 15 per cent higher,” he said.

Buyers, meanwhile, were happy to wait until next year rather than pay optimistic prices, and preferred homes that did not need renovating.

“This time last year people were running around with their hair on fire paying millions of dollars more,” he said. “We are 180 degrees opposite.”

He noted that this has left many listings still searching for buyers in the lead-up to Christmas.

Little Milton sold within the price guide of $27 million to $29 million.Credit:Forbes Global Properties

Forbes Global Properties’ Mike Gibson agreed it was taking longer for homes to sell, but he remained philosophical.

“Days on market are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago but that is fine, there is no problem with that as long as everyone has patience,” Gibson said.

He said the top end of the market was still strong and will be underpinned by international buyer interest next year.

“[Interest rates] are on the minds of everybody, but there is far less impact at the upper end,” he said.

“The higher you go in price the more strength there is in the marketplace.”

He said the best quality homes attract interest at any price point, whether at $5 million, $10 million or $15 million.

“There is a lot of new money out there and that new money is still there and will still be in 2023,” he said.

At the time of writing, his listing at 3 Macquarie Road, Toorak, was still for sale, with a price guide of $28 million to $30 million. He also handled the sale of Little Milton, on Albany Road, which traded within its price guide of $27 million to $29 million.

His other deals this year include the sale of an Armadale estate by theatre director, and nephew of Rupert Murdoch, Michael Kantor and his wife Silvia for $26.51 million, and a Mornington Peninsula mansion complete with soccer field for $26 million.

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