One Fell swoop: who’ll be next?

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Primespace - TURI CON­DON PROP­ERTY ED­I­TOR

IT might just be scur­rilous ru­mour, but talk has it that some­one spiked a For Sale’’ sign into the man­i­cured lawns of Gor­don Fell’s Point Piper man­sion re­cently.

Fell bought the Syd­ney man­sion for $ 29 mil­lion in Au­gust, in the days when Allco shares were trad­ing well above $ 8, com­pared with the abysmal 45c mark of re­cent days.

Fell, a for­mer boss at Ord Min­nett and founder of the Ru­bi­con Group, was the re­cip­i­ent of an ad­di­tional 11 mil­lion Allco shares late last year.

Once worth $ 66.5 mil­lion, the port­fo­lio would to­day fetch around $ 5 mil­lion.

Fell told The Aus­tralian late last month that things weren’t so dire as to force the sale of his three­storey Syd­ney wa­ter­front.

It’s ac­tu­ally my wife’s house and it’s not for sale,’’ he said at the time.

Ur­ban myth or not, the top end of the res­i­den­tial mar­ket is no longer im­mune to a price cor­rec­tion.

Al­though un­touched by ris­ing in­ter­est rates, the stock mar­ket rout com­bined with an out­break of mar­gin calls could mark the be­gin­ning of dis­tressed sales at the top end.

Buy­ers’ agents say they still can’t get enough man­sions for the wealthy, but logic would tell you some peo­ple are hurt­ing, hav­ing bor­rowed against shares that are now un­der­wa­ter.

For­mer Syd­ney Swans foot­baller and founder of tourism group Break­Free, Tony Smith, has put two multi- mil­lion- dol­lar Syd­ney beach­front prop­er­ties on the mar­ket as he tries to re­coup losses from the share price col­lapse of fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany MFS.

Smith has listed two ad­join­ing prop­er­ties over­look­ing Ta­ma­rama Beach ( nick­named Glam­ourama) in Syd­ney’s east­ern sub­urbs, which he bought last year for a to­tal of $ 11.3 mil­lion.

Smith, who sold his Break­Free re­sort man­age­ment busi­ness to the now- crip­pled MFS in 2005 in re­turn for MFS shares, has also stopped work on his $ 70 mil­lion Gold Coast man­sion.

MFS shares went the same way as Allco — down — and are cur­rently sus­pended.

Ru­mours on the Gold Coast say Smith sold the partly built home on a five- block mega- site on Hedges Av­enue, Mer­maid Beach, for more than $ 32 mil­lion af­ter spend­ing six years and $ 27 mil­lion putting the par­cel to­gether. Smith has de­nied the sale. Prices in the man­sion belts of Syd­ney, Melbourne, Bris­bane and the Gold Coast sky­rock­eted in re­cent years, with many top- end ar­eas turn­ing in 20 per cent price growth.

But noth­ing goes up for­ever, and if there is one forced sale, there are prob­a­bly more.

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