Nice house, but the feng shui is extra
In the most prestigious streets in the luxury Sydney suburb of Mosman, it's not always the buyer who makes the ultimate call on whether to purchase a home - sometimes it's their feng shui consultant.
Richard Simeon, of Simeon Manners Property, recalls many deals that have gone ahead or been spiked based on a feng shui assessment.
In late 2012, he sold a house at 85 Bay Street in Beauty Point, Mosman, for AU$12.8 million (NZ$14 million).
But the sale only went ahead after the buyer, who lived in Chatswood, flew in his feng shui consultant from China to assess the home.
''It's like this burgeoning industry in its own right,'' said Mr Simeon.
Earlier that year, an even bigger sale fell through after a feng shui consultant got involved.
Mr Simeon said he had a buyer willing to pay more than AU$20 million for the home of car-dealer Laurie Sutton, also on Bay Street.
But when viewing the aerial images of the home, the consultant spotted an unfavourable rock formation off Fig Tree Point in Northbridge that ''formed a knife that pointed straight through his property''.
That home later sold to different Chinese buyer for AU$20 million.
''Maybe they didn't see the aerial shot,'' Mr Simeon suggested.
There is considerable overlap between what constitutes good feng shui - the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings - and commonsense buying. But feng shui grandmaster Gary Khor said those who understood the art could use it to track ''positive and negative energies'' to find the best places to buy a home.
And now he's mapped it.
The most important element at play is the relationship between the mountain and the water, or in Sydney's case, the hill and the harbour.
The best suburbs have houses that have a hill at their rear and overlook calm, moving water. Ideally, these houses will also be orientated to face the north.
By this logic, Mr Khor said parts of Bellevue Hill, Vaucluse, Mosman, Woolwich, Point Piper, Watsons Bay, Castlecrag and Northbridge have good feng shui - a trait that could underpin values in the area. Mr Khor said rough or troubled water should be avoided because of the destructive energy it brings. The best suburbs, he said, are ''cushioned'' from the surf by a stretch of land. Cliffs should be avoided because the crashing waves ''create violent and explosive energy''.
Mr Simeon said some Sydneysiders are capitalising on the demand from buyers seeking good feng shui.
''People who are building are now taking on feng shui consultants, so when they sell they're able to say they have ensured it complied,'' he said.
But Mr Khor said location was just as important as layout.
Having performed his own on-site assessment, he said one of the best parts of Mosman was Beauty Point - an area that has been highly popular with buyers from Asian backgrounds in recent years.
''Beauty Point, and Bay Street in particular - basically the last six or seven substantial sales have all have been to Chinese buyers,'' said Kingsley Yates, the director of Ray White Lower North Shore.
But the director of project marketing at McGrath, Steven Chen, said while feng shui was important for some buyers when choosing the layout of an apartment, it played a lesser role when picking a suburb.
He said the traditional attractions of good transport, schools and proximity to the city are still the most important factors for buyers.
Sydney Morning Herald