Point Piper estate Elaine sold for more than $70 million.

04 May 2017

The Fairfax family have sold their Point Piper estate Elaine, setting a national house price record of more than $70 million.
 
The vast 6986-square-metre estate on Seven Shillings Beach was bought by a local family who are expected to keep it as a single, private estate.
Exclusive listing agent Ken Jacobs, of Christie’s International, was unable to reveal the sale price or buyer details, but was asking $75 million before it sold late on Friday.
 
The previous house record was set at $70 million in 2015 when Mr Jacobs sold the Vaucluse mansion La Mer on behalf of James and Erica Packer to Chinese-Australian businessman Chau Chak Wing.
 
“This is an emotional day. I sold a home that has been in the Fairfax family since 1891. I am delighted it is being purchased in one line by an Australian family,” John Breher Fairfax said exclusively to Domain.
There were at least two parties vying for the Point Piper residence before it sold, ending a three-year sales campaign for what is widely regarded as one of the most significant properties in Australia.
 
Last year the co-founder of takeaway delivery website Menulog, Leon Kamenev, set a different record when he spent just under $80 million on four properties in Vaucluse, making it Australia’s most expensive property amalgamation.
 
Built in 1863, Elaine has been home to one of the world’s longest-running media dynasties since Geoffrey Evan Fairfax bought it in 1891 for £2100.
In 1936 ownership was transferred to Sir Vincent Fairfax and Lady (Nancy) Fairfax for £19,000, and their son John Brehmer Fairfax bought the bulk of the estate in 1989 for $3 million.
 
The sale brings an end to 126 years of continuous family ownership.
Mr Fairfax, who sold his remaining 9.7 per cent stake in Fairfax Media for $189 million in 2011, announced his decision to sell the historic property in September 2013 because no one in the family had lived in it for almost 20 years.
 
After it officially hit the market in 2014 the sales campaign was stifled by concerns from within Woollahra Council of potential over-development of the site, particularly in light of a previous council subdivision into six lots.
 
The main residence is protected by council due its “special significance”, but is approved for significant remodelling.
DA-approved plans for four separate properties on the estate were approved in early 2016 amid a new marketing campaign billing it “Elaine Gardens” that opened the sale up to include developers or a syndicate of buyers.
Those DA-approved plans also heralded the first official price guides on each proposed property with a total price tag of $75 million to $80 million.
 
The estimated stamp duty on a $70 million house is $4.84 million.
At the time the property was officially listed in 2014, architect and historian Howard Tanner said: “There’s no doubt this property is one of the sort of landmarks on Sydney Harbour.
 
“People who go past from their boats or walk along the beach look up here and see something that evokes an older, rather special Sydney that survives. And I think these sorts of properties are extraordinarily rare – this one of the rarest.”
 
The three-storey mansion has sloping lawns extending to Seven Shillings Beach, a grass tennis court, sandstone walls and paths, and five century-old trees.
 
Prestige agents have long speculated on the property’s worth, with one high-end agency director saying soon after it hit the market that he would run naked down New South Head Road if it sold for more than $55 million. Prestige values have risen dramatically in the years since then.
The estate next door, Fairwater, is owned by Lady Mary Fairfax, who has promised to bequeath it to the people of NSW, which will leave Elaine as the largest, privately held harbourfront estate.
 
The sale marks the fourth year in a row that Jacobs has topped national house price records. In 2014 he was one of two agents who sold the Point Piper trophy home Villa del Mare for $39 million. Packer’s Vaucluse mansion set a national high in 2015 when it sold for $70 million, and last year Jacobs sold another Point Piper landmark, Altona, for $61.8 million to the Huang family, from China’s paper manufacturing company Shantou Dongfeng Printing. 
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