Designer handbags, classic cars and fine wines topped lust-haves for the well-heeled in 2020, with Ferraris performing particularly well.
Designer handbags, classic cars and fine wines topped lust-haves for the well-heeled in 2020, with Ferraris performing particularly well.

Designer bags, fast cars: Grounded richlisters spend big

From Hermes handbags to classic cars and sleek superyachts, the Gold Coast's appetite for investments of passion mirrors the post-pandemic spike in demand for prestige property.

The city's super-rich aren't just lusting after luxury homes with eye-watering price tags, but are also splurging on lavish play things to match.

Frank Knight's Wealth Report found 33 per cent of Australia's ultra-wealthy had increased their spending on tangible investments of passion, such as art, cars and wine, during the pandemic.

 

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Hermes handbags were the best performing luxury collectible for price growth in 2020, up 17 per cent, while fine wine came in next (+13 per cent), then flash cars (+6 per cent) with Ferrari particularly in favour, according to the report's Luxury Investment Index.

Gold Coast prime property was eighth on the index, up 3 per cent from last year, as high net-worth individuals from Australia and abroad eyed waterfront or rural lifestyle estates.

The local superyacht industry boomed through COVID, with Sanctuary Cove seeing increased demand for superyacht berthing. “It’s a reflection of more affluent customers investing in experiences here in Australia,” said Sanctuary Cove marina general manager Steve Sammes.
The local superyacht industry boomed through COVID, with Sanctuary Cove seeing increased demand for superyacht berthing. “It’s a reflection of more affluent customers investing in experiences here in Australia,” said Sanctuary Cove marina general manager Steve Sammes.

The local superyacht industry also boomed through 2020, as Gold Coast waters became the haven of choice for the cashed-up during COVID. The city's top boat builder Riviera posted record growth in 2020, reaching a $100m milestone in June with the sale of its 20th luxury sports motor yacht and finishing 2020 with the strongest list of forward orders in the company's 41-year history, said communications director Stephen Milne.

Michelle Ciesielski, Knight Frank's head of residential research Australia, said the pandemic brewed pent-up demand resulting in a spending spree.

"COVID-19 was handled well in Australia, with a brief lockdown in all cities except Melbourne, and when our cities were opened we saw a surge in pent-up demand, particularly as homeowners re-evaluated their lifestyles," Ms Ciesielski said.

"Grounded by travel bans, Australia's luxury buyers focused on building their property portfolios at home, buoyed in part by the country's bullish stock market and historically low interest rate environment."

Rivermead Estate at 1 Caballo Road, Guanaba fits the bill for luxe homes with plenty of green space. This lavish equestrian property is for sale for $21.5m.
Rivermead Estate at 1 Caballo Road, Guanaba fits the bill for luxe homes with plenty of green space. This lavish equestrian property is for sale for $21.5m.

The research found 15 per cent of Australian ultra-high net-worth individuals bought a new home in 2020, while 16 per cent planned to buy one this year.

Outdoor space as well as leisure facilities were the most important attributes for these buyers.

Ms Ciesielski said relative values for prime property in Australia weakened globally as the national dollar strengthened.

"This resulted in the value for money being reduced, with US$1m buying fewer square metres in each city than one year ago," she said.

"This amount of money goes furthest on the Gold Coast, where you can buy 126sqm of luxury internal floor space, but it will buy you the least in Sydney, where you can get 45sqm."

Amir Mian, principal of Amir Prestige, with sales agent Faith Liu at 26 Knightsbridge Parade East, Sovereign Islands. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Amir Mian, principal of Amir Prestige, with sales agent Faith Liu at 26 Knightsbridge Parade East, Sovereign Islands. Picture: Tertius Pickard

Amir Mian, managing director of Amir Prestige Property Agents, said dropping tens of millions of dollars on a lavish property in a desirable location was the "new normal" for the ultra-wealthy who prioritised lifestyle.

"For the rich and the famous in today's world spending $20-30m is common, and amongst my clients it's the new normal," Mr Mian said.

"If you can afford to buy the house, or multiple houses, of your dreams then why not?"

Waterfront properties or those in secluded rural settings but still within easy reach of amenities were most in demand, he said.

The Sovereign Islands mansion on the Broadwater was passed in at auction in October for $28m.
The Sovereign Islands mansion on the Broadwater was passed in at auction in October for $28m.

Mr Mian's current high-end listings include Bellagio La Villa, an extravagant 10-bedroom mansion in semirural Tallebudgera with a $50m asking price, and a palatial waterfront residence on exclusive Sovereign Islands. It was passed in at auction for $28m in October.

The Tallebudgera acreage, on 49.58ha at 49-109 Tallebudgera Connection Road, has plenty of recreational features on offer. The master suite has his and hers deluxe dressing rooms to store even the largest collection of Hermes, and a showroom-style five-car garage converts to a ballroom when not filled with Ferraris.

"Once you're in their circle you realise, it's not about just showing off, it's all about the lifestyle and somewhere to indulge their passions in privacy," Mr Mian said.

“The new normal”: ultra-wealthy buyers splurging on lifestyle estates. Bellagio La Villa at Tallebudgera could be yours for $50m.
“The new normal”: ultra-wealthy buyers splurging on lifestyle estates. Bellagio La Villa at Tallebudgera could be yours for $50m.

Offers had been received from expats living in Florida, London, Hong Kong and a prominent WA horse trainer, as well as from one buyer seeking a helicopter pad for both sides of the property.

Kollosche agent Rob Lamb said high-end buyers' lust for luxury real estate extended to their wheels of choice, noting a trend of upgrading their classic car collections in 2020.

The Tallebudgera acreage has a five-car showroom which converts to a ballroom.
The Tallebudgera acreage has a five-car showroom which converts to a ballroom.

"Certainly there's an appetite for luxury real estate on the Coast while there seems to be an abundance of finance available, or people are choosing to spend their own money on assets that they can enjoy rather than investments they may not get a return on," Mr Lamb said.

"Along with real estate, luxury car sales are up as well so particularly on the Gold Coast we just fit into that sweet spot as everyone is focused on lifestyle."

Kollosche's most lavish current listings include the stately equestrian estate Rivermead, sprawled over 55 acres at 1 Caballo Road, Guanaba, for sale for $21.5m.

 

Originally published as Designer bags, fast cars, flash homes: Grounded richlisters spend big


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