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Why the chairman of the biggest real estate brand in Australasia just sold his Brisbane home

Article by Matt Lancashire.

So why, after four decades, did the man who built the Ray White empire into what it is today – from one shop front in Queen Street to now having more than 1000 offices in its global network – decide to hand over the keys to his beloved home on ‘Brisbane’s best street’? Last month we congratulated the White family when their beloved Ascot estate sold for $10 million after less than three weeks on the market. What does this tell owners about the Brisbane market?

If there’s ever a move that speaks volumes about Brisbane’s buoyant prestige property scene, it’s the sale decision of our Ray White Chairman, Brian White, of his family estate in July. The sprawling Queenslander at 32 Sutherland Avenue in Ascot is filled with 40 years of memories; he and wife Rosemary raised their three boys within its walls. So why did he sell?

I asked him if he’d share his thoughts with you all. And here it is.

“Never, ever in my career have we had anything like the interest rates we have at the moment. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Brian said.

“Real estate is very sensitive to the perception of where interest rates are heading and I’ve never seen this level of anticipation, which has been supported by the Reserve Bank, that these interest rates will continue for some time.”

Coupled with this high level of buyer’s confidence, Brian said he ‘lived his belief’ by putting the property to auction. In the end, intense interest boiled down to four buyers – one international and one interstate – before a Brisbane family ultimately sealed the deal a week prior to auction.

With Brian unable to attend the planned auction due to Sydney’s lockdown, he was pleased to sell prior, but is still a firm believer in the power of auction.

“There’s nothing that gives people more confidence than the awareness that someone else would like the property at that particular price,” Brian told me.

“Auction gives people reassurance that if other people want it and are prepared to pay the price – well, they keep going.”

The White family moved to Sydney in the mid-1990s to expand the Ray White network but raised their children in the Ascot house they purchased in 1975, Brian said he was thrilled its new owners will be spending many more summers on the cricket pitch and relaxing by the pool.

“I can’t be happier that a family has purchased it and I certainly felt a responsibility to our old home that it needed to be lived in,” he said.

“With the great help of Matt and Dwight, it all came to pass.”

The signature Federation-style home is set on three-quarters of an acre and has a floodlit tennis court, 37 metres of street frontage, a swimming pool, cricket pitch and impeccably designed and styled interior spaces. It has four bedrooms and embodies all the grand features of the classic style, including fireplaces, formal lounge and dining areas. There is also a separate study, music room and large entertainment area.