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Vanguarde In The Press

Life at the top

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Have a spare $15 million?

If you do then you're spoilt for choice with Sydney's top three penthouses back on the market, promising everything from huge floor spaces to great harbour views.

But if your budget doesn't quite stretch that far, don't despair. There's an array of other penthouses to be bought - off the plan or just completed - as well as a few old classics.

''There's a lot of choice around at the moment, so the penthouse market is challenging,'' says Andrew Wilson, a senior economist with Australian Property Monitors.

''At that high end, you're dealing with a limited number of buyers, but there's definitely been a mind shift among people who have that kind of money from a mansion on the harbour to a luxury apartment in a convenient location.''

Probably the priciest is the Neil Bradford-styled No. 88 at The Residence on Hyde Park, with great harbour views, a private pool, 800 square metres of space and north-facing terraces. ''It's an island site,'' says Justin Brown, of residential projects at CBRE. ''You've got great freedom and space.'' It once had a price guide of $20 million, but Brown says it's expected to sell in the ''mid to high teens''.

At eliza, next to the Sheraton on the Park, is another top penthouse being sold off the plan. Over three levels, with a private internal lift and grand staircase, it will be fitted either with an infinity lap pool or a gym - whatever the owner desires for their $15 million-ish.

Similarly priced is the four-bedroom, five-bathroom, 567-square-metre penthouse A in the Stamford Residences at The Rocks, the Thomas Hamel-styled abode, with levels linked by lift and a curved staircase. ''There's been a lot of interest, given the softness of the rest of the market,'' says Damien Kiley, of Stamford Property Services.

Giving the new boys on the block a run for their money will be Observatory Towers' three-level top penthouse, which returns to the market for ''in excess of $10.5 million'', an agent at Vanguarde, Travis Reeve, says.

''It has big views of the harbour, Opera House and [Harbour] Bridge and has a hot tub, gardens, ponds with fish and an outdoor TV on the roof terrace,'' he says. Recently renovated, it also has a climate-controlled wine cellar and a theatre.

Looking a snip by comparison is the fifth-floor Sydney Wharf penthouse, for mid-$4 million, and Stonecutters penthouse at Pyrmont's Jacksons Landing. First bought in 2008 for $3.55 million, it goes to auction next Saturday and agents are quoting high-$2 million. ''It's a two-level, 318-square-metre apartment with 270-degree views over Sydney's waterways and has its own plunge pool,'' says James Crow of Morton & Morton.

The penthouse at Ashdown in Elizabeth Bay is a 300-square-metre company-title beauty with a price guide of about $3.5 million through Anthony Birdsall of Laing Real Estate.

Finally, there are two more newbies, the penthouse at The Hampton at Kings Cross, in the mid-$3 million range, and The Allure penthouse at Luxe in Woolloomooloo, with its 191-square-metre area and seventh-floor views across the Domain and the city, for $2,945,000.

Penthouse 88, The Residence, Hyde Park. See theresidencehydepark.com or phone 8259 8000.

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