Aussie billionaire sells house for record $61 million

Mr James Packer is an owner of Crown Resorts, Australia's biggest casino firm by market value.
Mr James Packer is an owner of Crown Resorts, Australia's biggest casino firm by market value.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SYDNEY • Australian billionaire James Packer has sold his six-floor Sydney mansion for at least A$60 million (S$61 million), media reported yesterday, toppling previous residential real estate records .

Mr Packer, an owner of Crown Resorts, Australia's biggest casino firm by market value, parted with the Sydney estate for as much as A$70 million, Fairfax Media reported.

Other reports put the sale price at A$60 million.

Regardless, the deal shatters the previous national record of A$57.5 million set in 2009 for a waterfront mansion in Perth, and is head and shoulders above Sydney's previous best, set at a mere A$52 million in 2013 by Chinese businessman Wang Zhijun.

The buyer, Chinese-Australian billionaire Chau Chak Wing, is well known for funding a Frank Gehry-designed building at Sydney's University of Technology, referred to affectionately by locals as the "Paper Bag".

The deal shatters the previous national record of A$57.5 million set in 2009 for a waterfront mansion in Perth, and is head and shoulders above Sydney's previous best, set at a mere A$52 million in 2013 by Chinese businessman Wang Zhijun.

Outlandish property prices make daily headlines in Sydney, where home-price growth is well into the double digits, fed by record-low interest rates, a rapidly rising population, chronic undersupply, a tax system that pampers property investors and a stream of Asian money.

The harbour city earlier this month jumped from the 10th to the third spot on Knight Frank's Prime Global Cities Index, which tracks luxury residential property price movements across 35 cities.

Melbourne jumped into the index's No. 7 slot, up from No. 11 in the previous quarter.

The federal government has come under pressure to ease speculative demand by tempering a tax break that favours wealthy property investors, but conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out any changes.

Instead, lawmakers are holding public hearings to explore how all Australians can have a "fair chance" to own a home of their own.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2015, with the headline 'Aussie billionaire sells house for record $61 million'. Print Edition | Subscribe