September 11, 2023

Tri-level home in harbourside ‘burb linked to Toni Collette fetches $5.8m

By Carmen Forward
September 11, 2023 — 12.00pm
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A doctor from Liverpool will be moving into a three-bedroom harbourside Birchgrove home linked to Australian actress Toni Collette, paying $5,815,000 at auction.

The low maintenance “lock and leave” property at 159 Rowntree Street, was hotly contested between two parties and the underbidder was a real estate agent.

Bidding opened bang on the guide of $4.5 million in front of an intimate group of 15.

Proceedings began with $100,000 bids, soared well above the $5.1 million reserve and gradually slowed to bids of $50,000, $25,000 and $5000 until $5,815,000 was reached.

It was one of 745 homes scheduled to go under the hammer in Sydney on Saturday. By evening, Domain Group recorded a preliminary auction clearance rate of 67 per cent from 458 reported results, while 113 auctions were withdrawn. Withdrawn auctions are counted as unsold properties when calculating the clearance rate.


Selling agent Rebecca Fearon from The Agency Balmain said Collette had previously rented the home.

Collette’s former husband Dave Galafassi, from whom she confirmed her split late last year, has lived in a different Birchgrove property. The star-studded neighbourhood has also been home to actress, director and writer Rachel Ward and her husband, actor and producer Bryan Brown.

Fearon said the auction result well exceeded the expectations of the vendors, both lawyers.


“[The buyer] was a young doctor and really humble, very humble. He was just prepared to pay whatever it took to secure it for him and his mother,” she said. “It’s a lovely spot and houses don’t come up [often]. It’s got [a] nice aspect and it’s private.

“It’s a ‘lock up and leave’ … People don’t necessarily want pools and gardens; they’re looking for low maintenance.”

The property last traded for $1.5 million in 2010, records show.

In Banksia, a two-bedroom home with a two-bedroom granny flat with its own separate entrance attracted 20 registered bidders, in front of a crowd of 100.

Bidding for 1 Mead Street opened at $1.2 million, with eight people bidding in increments of $100,000 and $50,000 until $1.7 million. Bids slowed to $20,000 until the last bid was a knock-out $90,000 bid and the property sold for $1,850,000.


Selling agent Nicholas Economos from Ray White Rockdale said it was a unique opportunity due to the estimated $700-a-week rental income of the flat.

“Because it was a corner block, their granny flat had its own separate side access; it’s completely separate from the main house,” he said.

AMP Capital chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said the clearance rate of 67 per cent was oddly soft as the RBA decision to hold interest rates steady was expected to embolden home buyers.

“We might be seeing a renewed weakening in the property market,” he said.

“There’s been a broad trend upwards in listings. So that could be reflecting more vendors coming into the market, either taking advantage of the pick-up in prices that we’ve seen or alternatively more distressed sales from people struggling with the increase in interest rates, particularly those who have previously had fixed rates.”

A brand new five-bedroom home as luxurious as a hotel has sold for $6,960,000 in Strathfield.

Four people registered and two bid actively on 2A Cameron Street, developed by MAK Urban Group.

Bidding opened on the reserve at $6.8 million. A $100,000 bid was placed by the underbidder, then the two final bids of $50,000 and $10,000 were taken from the winning bidder, a family originally from southern Sydney, renting in the area.

Selling agent Michael Ke Ma from Belle Property Strathfield said the builder had a commercial high-end project fit-out background.

“He does a lot of the commercial projects like hotels. It’s a home, but it’s like a hotel.”

In Roseville, a four-bedroom property at 21 Bromborough Road, passed in on a vendor bid of $3,450,000.

Selling agent James Sutton from McGrath Wahroonga said there was huge interest in the property with 350 inquiries and 19 contracts sent out.

“There seems to be [a] flurry of interest post auction now,” he said.

“It’s a really nice house, really well renovated, super fresh … turnkey.”

On the Central Coast, a four-bedroom hoarder’s home with a guide of $490,000 sold with all belongings included attracted 46 registered bidders in front of a crowd of 300.

An opening bid of $560,000, above the $500,000 reserve, knocked out 39 of the bidders for 23 Warner Avenue, Tuggerawong.

Seven bid actively until a whopping $680,000 price was achieved.

Selling agent Damian Montgomery from LJ Hooker Budgewoi – Toukley said the 67-year-old owner had died there.

“There’s some furniture that may have small amounts of value, but not a lot. But there’s also the unknown of what’s in all the boxes.”

Carmen Forward is a freelance writer covering lifestyle and property based in Sydney


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