High End Market Takes 61pc Hit


The super-prime market has dropped 61 per cent during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Hong Kong, New York and London hit hardest.

Figures for March to June from Knight Frank show sales for residential properties above US$10 million had dropped from $7.862 billion in 2019 to $3.068 billion in 2020 across 12 key markets globally.

Sydney had six transactions—down from 12 last year—and Melbourne was down from two transactions to one, despite comparatively low levels of Covid-19 in Australia.

Super-prime (>US$10m) transactions and sales volumes

MarketMarch-June 2019Value US$ millionMarch-June 2020Value US$ million
Hong Kong1112,35141812
Los Angeles581,09835693
New York1001,79319363
Palm Beach and Broward2433310170
Orange County24309459

^ Source: Knight Frank

However, when comparing the first half of the year, Sydney had 15 transactions compared to 13 last year, coinciding with One Barangaroo nearing completion.

The Crown Residences at Sydney including 82 super-prime and ultra-prime homes were not included in the Knight Frank data as they were considered off-the-plan purchases.

The most recent sale was for an upper-level, three-bedroom apartment to Rothschild & Co Australia former executive chairman Trevor Rowe.

▲ Trevor Rowe has been revealed as one of the latest purchasers at Crown Residences at One Barangaroo.

Rowe was named an officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for his service to the finance sector, particularly in the area of investment management, for higher education and the community.

“My wife and I were looking for a larger home and explored a number of available apartments in and around the city precinct,” Rowe said.

The investment banker will become neighbours with James Packer and venture capitalist Bob Blann.

There was less movement in the ultra-prime market above US$25 million, with transactions recorded in eight of the 12 key locations.

Related: Housing Market Damage ‘Less than GFC’

Ultra-prime (>US$25m) transaction volume during Covid-19

MarketMarch-June 2019March-June 2020
Hong Kong208
Los Angeles125
New York 163
Palm Beach and Broward12

^ Source: Knight Frank

Knight Frank Australia partner Erin van Tuil said at One Barangaroo the highest number of enquiries were recorded in February and June, but April was much quieter.

“We announced earlier this year that Crown Residences at One Barangaroo has achieved a record AU$650 million in sales including an unprecedented 12 transactions over AU$20 million to date,” van Tuil said.

“Despite the pandemic, we are experiencing a record number of enquiries, and sales are performing phenomenally well.”

Knight Frank head of prestige residential Mark Manners said momentum in the ultra-prime segment was expected to continue.

“Global events like the Covid-19 pandemic can disrupt sales processes,” Manners said.

“However, you tend to find sales are postponed, rather than cancelled.

“Super-prime and ultra-prime property is viewed as a safe investment for the long-term, so buyer interest has not dampened and is expected to increase as markets continue to exit lockdown.”


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