Prestige homeowners are quietly pulling their homes from the market and, in many cases, stalling on upcoming selling plans given concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of midnight Wednesday, public real estate auctions and public open-home inspections will be banned as part of a crackdown from the national cabinet to slow the spread of the virus, forcing agents to adapt their campaigns to expressions of interest and offer only private inspections.
“Things just got very real, very quickly, and high-end homeowners are adjusting their expectations accordingly, and that includes either holding on to the family home or discounting if they are going ahead,” said buyer’s agent Stu Jones, of Rose & Jones.
Melbourne prestige agent Marcus Chiminello, of Marshall White, said: “Given the current situation more vendors are now going to sit and hold while they wait to see what happens in the coming weeks.”
Mr Chiminello said while many high-end property owners would have minimal exposure to COVID-19 because most deals were already done behind closed doors, he had recently pulled one house from the market – despite good offers being made – for that reason.
A five-bedroom mansion in Toorak was on offer for $12.5 million to $13.5 million, but was pulled because the owner felt “they were unlikely to achieve the best outcome in the current market. They’ll return it for sale when there’s more certainty,” he said.
On Sydney’s lower north shore, former Vocation executive Brett Whitford has opted to hold on to his Mosman trophy home despite announcing his selling plans two weeks ago amid hopes of fetching $23 million through LJ Avnu’s Michael Coombs.
“Weirdly, we have had massive interest from expats and those overseas who have expressed interest as the Aussie dollar collapsed and they are looking for a safe haven,” Mr Whitford said. “But, I won’t allow anyone through for safety reasons, and about nine potential buyers cannot enter the country after viewing it online.”
Michael Pallier, of Sotheby’s International, withdrew four properties from the market in the 24 hours to Wednesday afternoon because his clients did not want anyone who might be carrying the virus coming through.
One of those is the Luigi Rosselli-designed residence in Woollahra listed three weeks ago for $11 million. It is now on indefinite pause until things return to normal, and another is a $16 million apartment in Point Piper’s Wentworth building.
Likewise, the Rose Bay trophy home of Bob Berger was slipped from real estate portal Domain.com.au by Laing+Simmons’ Steven Zoellner, having hit the market earlier this month amid expectations of a $16 million guide.
Berger bought a Luigi Rosselli-designed residence on the Vaucluse waterfront two years ago for $38.8 million from supermarket chain owner from China Huang Qiaorong.