DEMAND from downsizing empty-nesters is pushing up prices for quality apartments in Sydney’s exclusive eastern suburbs, agents say.

A stylish Art Deco unit in ­Double Bay sold for $2.375,000 on Saturday— $475,000 above its ­reserve price — through Sothebys agent Chris Helich.

The auction was one of 532 held around Sydney. With 341 of the results in, CoreLogic put the clearance rate at 70.9 per cent, almost identical to last week’s 70.8 per cent.

At the Double Bay auction, leading buyer’s agent Stuart Jones, of Rose & Jones, who was one of the underbidders, was stunned at the price, but added that the shortage of such apartments in Woollahra, Potts Point and Double Bay was to blame.

“I am surprised it got so high when there’s no lift,” he said.

“But Double Bay is an empty-nester, downsizer market — it’s a level walk to shops, ferries and transport.

“People might say, ‘oh, that’s a ridiculous price’, but if you’ve just sold your $4 million home and you’ve got a budget of $2.8 million, if you buy something like that for $2.5 million it still puts $300,000 in the bank.”

After all, it’s probably the last stop. Who cares how much it costs if you can afford it?

The 119 sqm two-bedroom third-floor unit in The Pierre at 5/21 William St is reminiscent of one of the grand old apartments of New York or ­Europe.

Sotheby’s agent Chris Helich said the final result was “phenomenal. They don’t make them like this any more — it’s one of a kind.”

There had been 300 inquiries and downsizers were super keen. But while the beautiful old stairs added to the charm, for many the climb to the third floor was too much.

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“If there’d been a lift and an outdoor area we might have got even more,” Mr Helich said.

As auctioneer Mark Morrison called for bids, Mr Jones offered $1.85 million, with the man acting for the eventual buyer, a woman who looked to be in her 60s, offering $1.9 million. The $50,000 bids flew between four of the six registered parties.

The buyer’s intentions are unclear — she declined a request for a chat.

But apart from the grandeur and size of the apartment — which had been stylishly refurbished and restored 20 years ago — I loved the views across the rooftops.

From the main bedroom, my favourite outlook was the white Juliet balconies of the nearby Intercontinental, where INXS frontman Michael Hutchence was found dead in 1997 and the late Princess Diana stayed a year earlier.


Click here to view the article written by Stephen Nicholls of The Wentworth Courier

“$2.5m is nothing you’ve just sold your $4m mansion” says agent