US-based buyers are already circling Mt Eliza’s famed Morning Star estate, which hit the market for $40 million late last week.
“There’s Hollywood money looking, and money out of New York and Chicago,” Michael Keating International director Michael Keating said.
“They’re all Aussie expats. COVID-19 is making Aussies overseas realise just how wonderful a place they’ve got at home.”
Long-term owner Judy Barrett relisted the 63ha property at 2 Sunnyside Rd, three years after it almost sold to a Chinese developer for $36.2 million.
This time around, Mr Keating said all the prospective buyers he’d dealt with in the early stages of the campaign intended to keep the estate’s 1860s mansion and 12ha vineyard intact.
The latter, featuring chardonnay, shiraz, pinot gris and pinot noir grapes, had notably been “a big pull”.
“Establishing a vineyard is a big, big task,” he said.
“The vines and the land are leading the field. And everybody wants to keep the main house. I expect a lot of love is going to put into the main house.”
Morning Star also features a 20-room hotel, a restaurant, cellar door, helipad, and wedding, function and conference facilities.
Mr Keating previously described it as the “Downton Abbey … of Australia”.
The estate within an hour’s drive of Melbourne was created by ultra-wealthy Londoner Francis Gillett.
In the 1930s, it was run by Franciscan friars as the Morning Star Boys’ Home, later becoming a horse stud and then being revived as a hospitality venture by Ms Barrett, who “spent a fortune” on it.
The estate has hosted INXS and Jimmy Barnes gigs, plus the first A Day on the Green festival in 2001, and featured in films Kath and Kimderella and Partisan.
It’s now vacant and being marketed as offering local and international buyers the opportunity to “improve it or develop it, either all or in part, STCA”.
Mr Keating said while local prospective buyers were also eyeing the estate, America-based Australian expats stood out in its early days on the market.
This type of buyer was also strongly in the mix for another of his luxury listings: the 2ha South Hampton at 155 Harrisons Rd, Red Hill.
That property offers nine bedrooms, high-end appointments including two Tesla high-speed car chargers, and unmatched rural views across two houses, at a $8.9 million asking price.
“Australia is looking to be a relatively safe haven both for people, but also for their hard-earned dollar,” Mr Keating said.
“And not just for Australians in the states, but also Hong Kong, which has its own problems.”