Acclaimed director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin, have sold their sprawling Darlinghurst mansion ‘Iona’ for a reported $16 million.
Luhrmann, 52, has decided to relocate his family – the couple has a son and daughter – to New York.
The pair began renting the property in 1997, just after the success of Luhrmann’s second feature Romeo and Juliet, and they bought it for $10 million in 2006.
Among his other movies are Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge!, Australia and The Great Gatsby.
The home had been on the market since last July, and features nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms, gas kitchen, large conservatory and a sunroom.
There is also a wine cellar, two self-contained guest apartments and a ballroom for entertaining.
The dining room is appointed in stunning dark mahogany, with an open fire, grand piano and large arched windows.
The couple, along with their two children, spend much of their time in New York so will now look for a smaller Sydney home and office as Iona is also the headquarters of Luhrmann’s production company Bazmark.
The Italianate late 1880s trophy home sits on a 2700 square metre block in the centre of Darlinghurst surrounded by established gardens.
Unswayed by the recent 60 Minutes segment forecasting a 50 per cent house price crash, the national auction clearance rate edged up to 72 per cent, from the previous week’s 71 per cent.
This weekend, television news bulletins were more focused on the little ramshackle Brunswick house made famous by Beyonce in her No Angel video clip that sold at auction for a silly $650,000.
The auctioneer Steven James declared the price as having a “Beyonce premium” when 20 Beith Street sold on Saturday, reportedly to a neighbour.
Not even the auction price forecasting website, realAs could anticipate the premium as it suggested a likely $539,000 sale price, as against the agent’s $470,000 to $510,000 price guidance.
Aside from the Luhrman sale, another 1880s Sydney home – Sunnyside, a sandstone Hunters Hill riverfront residence – topped the weekend auctions with a $6.51 million result.
Sunnyside, on 1900 square metres at 22 Vernon Street, had been in the same family for almost seven decades.
A northwest-facing single storey Toorak, Victoria home on half that size ranked as the second-highest weekend sale when $5,795,000 was secured through Sotheby’s.
It had sold at $4.7 million in 2007 when bought by the late philanthropic Carlton bookseller Barbara Tucker, widow of the modernist artist Albert Tucker, who moved from Woodside, St Kilda.
Melbourne’s Murrumbeena had the nation’s cheapest sale when a one-bedroom, 46 sqm unit fetched $280,000. It reflected six per cent annual price growth since selling at $119,000 in 2001.
Brisbane had the cheapest house sale at $301,000 when a three-bedroom, late 1980s Beenleigh house sold, having traded at $259,000 in early 2013.
Autumn selling season
Auction activity saw 2113 offerings which continues to pick up, with 2620 auctions scheduled this week.
Last week marked the fourth consecutive week when the national capital city clearance rate sat above the 70 per cent mark.
CoreLogic RP Data noted the previous four-week period when clearance rates sat higher than 70 per cent was last September.
The robust rate of auction clearance, together with the moderating rate of growth through February, suggest to CoreLogic that housing markets are in a controlled slowdown rather than showing any signs of a sharp correction.
Melbourne’s preliminary clearance rate was 75 per cent, up from 74 per cent last week, but lower than the 77 per cent of properties that sold at the same time last year.
It took the baton for strongest capital city from Sydney.
Melbourne’s top-performing sub-region was the inner south, where both a high volume of auctions were held (224) and the strongest clearance rate achieved at 84 per cent.
Inner Melbourne had the most auctions this week (289), however the clearance rate was the second-lowest of any Melbourne sub-regions at 72 per cent.
Sydney’s preliminary auction clearance fell to 73 per cent, following on from the previous week’s result of 76 per cent.
There were 872 auctions held, rising from 800 last week, but lower than the 1223 over the comparable week one year ago.
Sydney’s eastern suburbs 87 per cent topped the regions.
The number of Brisbane homes taken to auction sats at around 175, with its auction clearance rate strengthening to 58 per cent.
Some 43 Gold Coast auction results were reported with a 49 per cent clearance rate.
There were 118 Adelaide auctions held this week and its 72 per cent the third-strongest capital city result.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor-at-large at Property Observer