Monthly Archives: October 2018

Australia 108 penthouse sale smashes national price record

The penthouse of the super skyscraper Australia 108 has sold for national record price of $25 million.

Spread across the entire 100th floor of what will be the southern hemisphere’s tallest building, the ultra luxury penthouse is the most expensive single apartment ever sold in Australia.

The buyer, a businessman based in China – whose identity has not been disclosed – has inked the off-the-plan deal, agency CBRE has confirmed.

Building has started and Australia 108 is due for completion in 2019.

The sale launches Melbourne into the national stratosphere of luxury real estate.

The previous benchmark was set by the sale of two apartments in Sydney’s Bondi for a combined $25 million in November last year.

The off-the-plan purchase of the amalgamated apartments atop The Bondi Pacific development was made in a company name linked to Andrew Roberts, the former chief executive of Multiplex.

The previous highest recorded apartment sale in Melbourne was a $19.3 million pad in the deluxe 150 East complex.

On the edge of the Fitzroy Gardens, 150 East is dubbed the “tower of power” for its wealthy and influential residents from business and entertainment.

The sale of the 750 square metre penthouse of Australia 108, which will hover in the clouds at 319 metres above the Southbank promenade, was promoted as the highest dwelling in the southern hemisphere.

The new owner will enter through a private grand foyer on level 98, and have use of a private glass elevator.

He will come home to a multi-million dollar view – the apartment takes in a 360 degree vista of city, the bay and the mountains.


Australia 108 from CBRE on Vimeo Domain last month there were three local buyers who had shown interest in the penthouse.

“The interested parties couldn’t be more different with their background, their demand and use of the property,” he said.

There had been dozens of inquiries for the penthouse, which had been marketed with a “certain level of sophistication” in the package of printed material they handed out to prospective buyers, Mr Leoncelli said.

“Some of it goes to the highest level of detail and quality and consideration, so it’s different to what we give to people on the lower levels,” he said.

Australia 108 trumps the height of the 297 metre-tall Eureka tower and has secured the monster sale that has not been achieved at Eureka.

A full-floor apartment in Eureka, occupying all of level 82 – with 360 degree views and a plush, designer fit-out – has been on the market through RT Edgar and Christie’s for several months, with an expected price of $20 million.

The 82nd Eureka penthouse, like the Australia 108 penthouse, is designed by architecture firm Fender Katsalidis. It’s owned by self-made business and property developer Elias Jreissati.

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China’s stock boom puts Australian housing in the shade

That’s not a bubble, this is a bubble. Or is it?

Australians, and the RBA, may be concerned about soaring property prices and a possible bubble, but compared to the appreciation on the Shanghai Composite Stock Exchange in China, our housing market looks tame.

As this chart shows, China’s main stock index has risen almost 100% year-on-year, briefly climbing through 4000 points before closing at 3994.8 on Wednesday.


The rise has been fuelled by local policy, tech company valuations, and by a flattening in the domestic property market, tempting Chinese investors into higher-return investments.

This smashes the 8.8 per cent growth in the Australian stock exchange over the same period, and is far greater than 12.5 per cent and 8 per cent property price growth experienced in Sydney and Melbourne.

“China is experiencing exactly what the rest of the western world has been experiencing over the past few years, a wall of money chasing assets,” Investment Director at Fidelity Worldwide Investment Alva Devoy said.

“It’s the restrictions by the government on the amount of money that can actually flow out of China.”

“A lot of money is chasing a finite number of shares and assets … there’s limited places for it to go,” she said

The question is, is it a bubble? Quite possibly, according to Ms Devoy, but she can’t see it bursting in the short-term.

“There is possibly a level of being overvalued on the A-shares basis, because of supportive policy measures. But could you expect the bubble to burst anytime soon? No, quite the opposite. If you think about it, it’s only going to increase, however I would say the head of steam comes out of it,” Ms Devoy said.

As this second chart shows, the current rise still puts the Shanghai bourse at only two-thirds of its pre-global financial crisis value of 6092 points, which was reached in October 2007. That high was followed by a crash over the following year, which knocked two-thirds off the market by November 2008.

Chinese stocks only really began to recover from that fall in the past year.


China’s central bank has cut interest rates twice since November and analysts predict authorities will ease policy further to keep economic growth above their 7 per cent target. The nation’s individual investors, who account for about 80 percent of equity trading, may view the 4,000 milestone as a signal to boost holdings, according to Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co., the nation’s second-largest brokerage by market value. “Breaching the 4,000 level can be read by retail investors as a bullish signal,” said Gerry Alfonso, a director at the international business department of Shenwan Hongyuan in Shanghai. While the market’s rapid ascent has fuelled concerns about a bubble, Shenwan Hongyuan estimates the Shanghai index may rise to 4500 as individuals shift more of their assets into equities.  Currently there are limited channels for international investors to put money into China, but with the upcoming opening of the “Shenzhen Connect”, expected near the end of the year, Ms Devoy says that foreign capital available to companies is likely to increase, further fuelling the rise of the Chinese tech sector. “I actually think that they could extend their price appreciation …some of the smaller to mid cap companies, a lot of which are on the tech side of life, they’ll have more access to capital flows,” Ms Devoy said. But not all agree with that assessment. Valuations have climbed too high, the head of China research at Credit Suisse Group AG,  Vincent Chan, says. He sees a correction that will take the Shanghai gauge back down to 2,800 by the end of the year, amounting to a drop of about 30 percent. Losses may accelerate as margin traders liquidate their positions, he said. China’s stock market has a long history of booms and busts. The Shanghai Composite has recorded more than 50 bull and bear markets, defined as a move of at least 20 percent from a recent peak or trough, since Bloomberg started compiling the data in 1990. The current gain of about 100 percent compares with an average advance of 122 percent during previous rallies. “It’s the nature of the Chinese bull market that every seven to eight years, a few investors get rich quickly,” Earl Yen, the chief investment officer at CSV China Opportunities Ltd. in Shanghai, which oversees more than $200 million, told Bloomberg. “Then the bubble bursts and mass retail investors stay away from the market.”

with Bloomberg

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Cheese toastie lovers have more sex according to new survey

There’s no aphrodisiac quite like it: grilled cheese. Photo: Bert Wagner CC BY 2.0 There’s no aphrodisiac quite like it: grilled cheese. Photo: Bert Wagner CC BY 2.0

Start your engines: A grilled sandwich cheese with tuna and Swiss. Photo: Bert Wagner CC BY 2.0

There’s no aphrodisiac quite like it: grilled cheese. Photo: Bert Wagner CC BY 2.0

There’s no aphrodisiac quite like it: grilled cheese. Photo: Bert Wagner CC BY 2.0

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, give him grilled cheese.

That’s the implication of a US survey which found people who love a grilled cheese sandwich – that most American of comfort foods – were more likely to have sex.

According to the poll, 73 per cent of grilled cheese lovers had sex at least once a month, compared with 63 per cent of people who don’t love grilled cheese. Also, 32 per cent of cheese fans were doing the deed at least six times a month – that figure fell to 27 per cent among non-cheese-goers.

Although maybe that’s simply a function of being in the clear majority – 86 per cent of all respondents said they “loved” a grilled cheese.

It should be noted that the survey was not rigorously scientific and said nothing about the ability of grilled cheese to actually procure opportunities for sexual intercourse. The survey – which had a large sample size of 4600 Americans – was an online poll of members of Skout, a location-based social network and dating service similar to Tinder or Grindr.

The poll was conducted in advance of National Grilled Cheese Day, which takes place in the US on April 12. The promotion was part of a partnership with the San Francisco Food Bank.

But whether you’re stimulated by Swiss, banging for brie or gagging for gruyere, it’s hard to see how a good grilled cheese could fail to put anyone in the mood.

And for some, there’s no aphrodisiac like a big hunk of cheese oozing between two soft, sumptuous slices of bread. See, for example, this gallery of “grilled cheeses that are better than a boyfriend” – which certainly qualifies as hard core food pornography.

Among the survey’s other findings: 81 per cent of grilled cheese lovers said they had donated their time, money or food to people in need, compared with 66 per cent of grilled cheese grinches84 per cent of grilled cheese aficionados also loved to travel, compared with 78 per cent of the anti-grilled cheese campOpinion was divided on whether to mix types of cheese – 60 per cent were in favour, while 40 per cent were single cheese purists

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Belle Gibson’s cookbook still for sale, despite doubts about cancer survival claims

Belle Gibson built a business around her story of surviving malignant brain cancer. The book on sale at Readings in St Kilda.

A Melbourne bookstore chain continues to sell Belle Gibson’s recipe book, despite other major retailers pulling it from shelves amid accusations the author faked her remarkable story of cancer survival.

Readings has stood by its decision to continue promoting and selling The Whole Pantry, saying the publisher had not recalled stock and “we don’t ban books”. On its website, Readings spruiks parts of the controversial author’s story, including her cancer diagnoses, which have now been called into question.

Publishing house Penguin last month stopped supplying the cookbook after Ms Gibson failed to explain discrepancies about her health claims and fundraising activities detailed in the book’s 3000-word preface.

The overseas release of the book, based on Ms Gibson’s top-rating smartphone app by the same name, has also been scrapped.

Australian retailers including Dymocks, Collins Booksellers and Booktopia say on their websites that Ms Gibson’s book is no longer available. Bookworld, a division of Penguin Australia, has removed the book from its website.

Department store David Jones has also stopped selling the book, saying the decision was made after Penguin pulled it from circulation. David Jones has expanded its returns policy to permit full refunds with proof of purchase only, regardless of the book’s condition.

However, The Whole Pantry is still being sold for $35 on Readings’ website and at its St Kilda, Carlton and Hawthorn outlets. Readings spokeswoman Emily Harms said while the book was no longer being supplied, it had not been officially recalled and stock was still available.

“It’s not banned or anything; it’s just not been supplied any further,” she said. “If a book’s published and it’s not recalled, it’s not up to us to censor what can or can’t be bought. We feel really strongly that lots of different books from different perspectives are published and it’s up to the customer to have that choice whether to buy it.”

On Readings’ website, Ms Gibson is promoted as a young woman “diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the age of 20” who “shares what she has learned about getting back to basics and discovering what it means to be truly nourished”.

Ms Gibson launched her global business off her story as a young mother healing herself from cancer, but she has come under fire after admitting that claims the cancer spread to other organs might be false. Close friends have also spoken out to say they do not believe she is sick and doctors have said they doubt her story is plausible.

According to Ms Gibson’s own business filings, she is 23, not 26, making her a teenager in 2009 when she claims to have been diagnosed with malignant brain cancer at age 20.

Penguin, which has admitted never verifying Ms Gibson’s “inspirational” story, said it pulled the book after she failed to explain allegations raised in the media last month. But the publisher has refused to comment on its contractual agreement with Ms Gibson, including any details about payments to her, or whether it planned to terminate its deal.

Spokeswoman Camilla Subeathar said: “It is not our practice to comment on commercial arrangements, so on this topic, and to your other questions, we have no comment.”

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Premier trainer Chris Waller’s fine fillies ready to shine in Australian Oaks at Randwick

Premier trainer Chris Waller knew he had a great group of three-year-old fillies at the beginning of the autumn and the Australian Oaks was always going to be grand final day.

He arrives with a trio runners in the group 1 blue riband for fillies, including favourite Winx, the emerging Ballet Suite and Wine Tales. Thousand Guineas winner Amicus is the only one of the team not to make it to the Oaks but she has dropped back to the Queen Of The Turf.

“She probably struggled at the 2000m in the Vinery Stud Stakes but we rode her out of her comfort zone,” Waller said. “She is a group 1 winner and I think her run in the Coolmore Classic [when fourth] was very good and it is the right form for the Queen Of The Turf.

“She probably could have gone for a spell but there is a $1 million race for her, which is the beauty of The Championships. There was not much between Winx and Ballet Suite in the Vinery and It think it will be similar on the weekend.”

This is the beauty of Waller’s steady building style of training, his horses almost always get to their targets. “If they don’t have ability to make it you reassess, these nice fillies have all shown that they are good enough to be at this level,” Waller adds.

His day isn’t strictly for the girls. Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal will ltry to lift  another Sydney Cup for him and Adelaide and Royal Descent are in the $4 million shootout in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

But the Queen Of The Turf and Oaks could define his day. Catkins, owned by the Inghams and a stable favourite, is his other Queen Of The Turf runner. She is still looking for her group 1 but Waller believes it might come on Saturday.

“She is in the best form of her career. It has always been hard to get it right with her because she puts so much into to her races,” Waller said. “She gets to this race with the right build-up and is ready to run the 1600m.”

Waller’s planning for the Oaks has been exact as usual and a month ago he split his four fillies, to give all their chance to win a race.

Ballet Suite beat up on a midweek race, while Wine Tales was runner-up in the Keith Nolan Classic at Kembla, Winx took out the Phar Lap Stakes and Amicus was only a long neck from winning the the Coolmore Classic.

The trainer runs through his assessment of the Oaks.

“Wine Tales simply didn’t handle the conditions [in the Adrian Knox Stakes] on Monday and I would [not] sell her short,” he said. “Ballet Suite is the filly that has been looking to get this sort of trip [2400m] and she is going to improve from her crack at this level [in the Vinery].

“Winx didn’t have the best of luck in the straight and has been at this level for a while and I think she will run a great race. I think her and Ballet Suite are very similar and there isn’t that much between them.”

Ballet Suite carries the navy blue silks and will have the services of Coolmore’s jockey Ryan Moore, who arrives to ride Adelaide but a decision is still pending on whether the Cox Plate winner runs on Saturday.

“He is best on rattling tracks and it will come down to how the track recovers because we know he is not the best on soft and heavy tracks,” Waller said.

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