Inside Malcolm Turnbull's Point Piper mansion

06 Feb, 2015 01:33 PM
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If Malcolm Turnbull does become Australia's next prime minister he will be trading down big time if he moves to the Lodge, given the sort of digs he is used to calling home.

Like so many Australians, the wealthiest member of federal parliament has much of his money tied up in the family home, which in his case is a vast waterfront estate in Point Piper on a scale and grandeur similar to the nearby mansion Altona which sold for $52 million.

Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull have proved to be savvy real estate investors.

The former Goldman Sachs co-chairman bought what was then a beachfront residence known as Le Gai Soleil in 1994 for $5,425,000, selling their Paddington home Alster House the following year for a then suburb record of $2 million.

The Point Piper beachfront home was sold by the late socialite Klara Saunders, wife of the late Westfield Holdings director John Saunders, who in turn had bought the property from Alan Bond in 1979 for $900,000.

The Turnbulls commissioned a renovation by architect Michael Suttor shortly after they bought it, promptly dropping the Le Gai Soleil name. They then purchased the adjoining property Gwandalan for $7.1 million in 1999.

It was a clever purchase next door because that enabled them to carve some 600 square metres off that title to expand his waterfrontage. The remaining property was then redeveloped into a duplex and sold off in 2011 for $13.6 million to Ben and Tiffany Tilley.

Agents familiar with the Point Piper market say the Turnbull home is in a similar price range to its waterfront neighbour. "It has all the same, key attributes as Altona in terms of size, quality of home, view and waterfrontage," said Michael Dunn, of Richardson & Wrench Double Bay, who sold the adjoining property to the Turnbulls.

Bill Malouf, of LJ Hooker Double Bay, said internally the Turnbull's home was a much better house than Altona. "It's an outstanding residence and one of the best in that position."

The Mediterranean-style home was built in the 1930s and has retained many of its ornate features, such as arched roof tiles, arched doorways and windows and juliet balconies, all set behind elaborate wrought-iron gates.

Set on 1940 square metres, it also has a swimming pool, boatshed and private jetty.

It is a far cry from The Lodge, in Canberra, where the $6.4 million worth of renovations by Prime Minister Tony Abbott have been delayed. Works to repair the slate roof, remove asbestos, upgrade security features and replace electrical wiring and climate systems were due to be complete last year but are now set to be finished later this year.

The other option for the Turnbulls is Kirribilli House, the two-storey, waterfront sandstone mansion that is the prime minister's official Sydney base.

Mr Abbott has made good use of the historic neo-Gothic property. The Forestville family home that he bought in 1994 for $351,000 would now sell for about $1.5 million in the current market, agents say.

While Turnbull's capital gain on his 1994 home purchase easily outstrips Abbott's purchase the same year, the Forestville market has done better over the 21 year period.

The Forestville median house price is up 293.6 per cent since 1994 to $1,136,000, and Point Piper's median is up 147.9 per cent to a median of $7.8 million.

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Not sure in what universe Wilson think the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is "an