Market Watch: On the ground in Sydney’s poshest pocket with Luxe Listings star Simon Cohen

Forget Monaco, New York, or London – the world’s most competitive luxury real estate market is right here in Australia, where the rich and famous battle it out to secure homes with eye-watering price tags.

Simon Cohen is a prestige buyer’s agent and star of the hit Amazon Prime series Luxe Listings Sydney and has worked in the city’s famed eastern suburbs for almost 20 years.

From mega-mansions on the harbour in Point Piper to heritage estates in Bellevue Hill and luxury apartments in Bondi, Mr Cohen is the go-to for those buyers with money to spend.

“It’s one of the most unique places in the world,” he said. 

“You get to live minutes from the CBD but you’re on the harbour, you’re on the beaches, and you get to enjoy a lifestyle unlike anywhere else with the best restaurants and the best amenities.”

Mr Cohen invited to his posh part of the world to explain what makes this very unique market tick.

Luxe Listings Sydney’s Simon Cohen reveals his ‘vibiest’ suburbs

Good vibes for all buyer types

Having represented buyers in the east for so long, Mr Cohen is naturally a resident himself, calling picturesque Elizabeth Bay home.

It’s one of several suburbs with a distinct ‘village’ atmosphere – winding streets with limited car traffic dotted with cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutiques.

Simon Cohen is the go-to prestige buyer’s agent in Sydney. Picture: Luxe Listings Sydney

Homes in these types of vibrant neighbourhoods in PaddingtonDouble BayPotts Point and Woollahra command top dollar both in terms of sale prices and weekly asking rents.

“The village lifestyle in the eastern suburbs is as vibey as it gets,” Mr Cohen said.

Given these suburbs are on the water, residents place a priority on living an outdoor lifestyle, flocking to harbour pools, beaches, and parks.

“I love Camp Cove Beach and Watsons Bay,” Mr Cohen said. “You’ve also got Rushcutters Bay Park. There are so many areas that offer so much as far as lifestyle goes.”

Sydney’s east is home to some of the most expensive properties in the world. Picture: Getty

Luxe Listings Sydney follows the antics of Mr Cohen and a trio of high-end real estate agents, Gavin Rubinstein, D’Leanne Lewis and Monika Tu as their clients buy and sell properties worth millions.

While they deal exclusively at the top end of the market, the eastern suburbs actually has a diverse mix of dwelling types, he said.

“There’s no typical property type in the east, with mega-mansions right down to studio apartments, and everything in between.

“It attracts all kinds of buyers – international, local, interstate, upsizers and downsizers… it’s a very affluent area and an area where people want to live.

“My typical buyer is more of an affluent buyer looking for a luxury property, whether it’s a waterfront mansion, a big estate in Bellevue Hill, a luxury apartment… they’re people with money to spend on a great property.

“But there are all types of buyers in this market – first-home buyers, downsizers, upsizers, young families.”

The lifestyle on offer is unbeatable. Picture: Getty

The best homes in the world

Sydney’s east is home to the rich, famous, and powerful who own homes befitting their lofty statuses in society. 

Tech billionaire and Atlassian boss Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie splashed $100 million on the historic Fairwater estate in Point Piper once owned by the Fairfax family.

He’s just down the road from business partner and co-founder Scott Farquhar, who paid $71 million for an historic mansion known as Elaine, of which he’s planning to undertake a major $37 million restoration.

Billionaire pub baron Justin Hemmes, boss of the Merivale Group, calls his family’s heritage-listed Vaucluse mansion The Hermitage home, worth an estimated $100 million.

And former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull lives in a stunning Mediterranean-style mansion on the harbour in Point Piper, worth an estimated $70 million.

So ritzy is Point Piper that homes rarely trade hands, making accurate property price data impossible to source.

But elsewhere, PropTrack data gives a taste of what a home in this part of the world might set you back.

This is the current median house price in:

Paddington: $3.16 million

Vaucluse: $8.8 million

Double Bay: $6.32 million

Potts Point: $1.87 million

Woollahra: $5.05 million

Bondi Beach: $3.82 million

Even units will set buyers back a pretty penny, although there are much more affordable options for lower-end dwellings, particularly those in areas closer to the city.

The home at 6/6 Buckhurst Avenue is something special. Picture:

One unit currently up for grabs that offers a discerning buyer every possible luxury is 6/6 Buckhurst Avenue in Point Piper, a four-bedroom penthouse with priceless harbour views.

The whole-floor property sits atop the Shillings building, designed by Alex Popov Architects, and no expense was spared in its creation.

The penthouse has grand proportions and luxury finishes. Picture:

From the main bedroom suite with its walk-through wardrobe, dressing room, and oversized ensuite to the high-end gourmet chef’s kitchen with butler’s pantry, and a 1400-bottle wine cellar, it’s the epitome of luxe living.

The home is scheduled for auction on 18 October.

An ultra-competitive market

Regardless of what’s happening in the property market, there are always people who want to call Sydney’s east home, Mr Cohen said.

But purchasing a slice of paradise is tough.

“Buying property in [Sydney’s] east is not for the fainthearted. It’s very difficult. It’s an area with low stock levels and high demand, so unless you’re working with someone like me and have a competitive advantage, it’s hard to get access to homes.

“It’s hard to navigate that competitive auction market in the east. Competition is brutal. This is the most competitive real estate market in the world. It’s tough. It’s game on. 

“You need to know what you’re doing to get a successful outcome.”

Luxe Listings Sydney is a hit reality show on Amazon Prime. Picture: Getty

For those keen to buy, knowing the market they’re operating in is essential, he said. Understanding price movements, available stock, and the who’s who of real estate agents should be a priority.

Demand is always strong for blue-chip suburbs, but buyer interest has seen “a slight taper off” in recent months in line with broader market conditions, he said.

“But it’s still strong. We’re dealing with some very motivated buyers at the moment.

“The next six months are going to hold some amazing buying opportunities. We’re in a time where buyers are a bit volatile, interest rates are rising, [so] there’s a window where we’ll see good deals [while competition is low].”

Mr Cohen points to Paddington as a suburb offering good buying opportunities at present, and with proximity to the CBD, the water, and “one of the best village lifestyles”, it’s a no-brainer, he said. 

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Shannon Molloy, News Editor

First published 14 Oct 2022, 11:09am