THE nation’s top cricketers are quietly hitting sixes in the housing market, laying out millions of dollars on investment properties.
Leading the charge is fast bowler Mitchell Starc and wife Alyssa Healy, the darling of Australian women’s cricket.
They saw their portfolio rocket by more than $5 million in 2018, buying two new properties on the northern beaches, where they also live in a $5.2 million home bought from Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall two years ago.
They have replaced banned baggy green stalwarts Steve Smith and Dave Warner as cricket’s leading all-rounders when it comes to property investment.
Since being kicked off the test team for their part in the South Africa sandpaper debacle earlier in 2018, both men have focused on existing projects.
Having lost much of his estimated $1.5 million-plus annual income, disgraced former test captain Smith didn’t make any acquisitions, He did, however, complete building a luxury terrace in Balmain East, though then struggled to find tenants.
The smart-wired home, designed by Raymond Panetta Architects to replace a cottage that cost $2 million in 2015, was marketed at $2500 a week, then dropped to $2250 a week.
Smith, who appears to be preparing to up stumps from his long-time Coogee apartment, poured $5.3 million into property between 2015 and 2017, with three purchases on the Balmain peninsula.
The three-bedroom Coogee penthouse apartment he has called home for seven years hit the rental market recently, seeking $1500 a week, before the asking rent was reduced by $200 and a tenant locked in.
Meanwhile, Warner has been focusing on building his Maroubra mansion in 2018, having previously been very active buying investments with his former ironwoman wife Candice.
Building continues on the $3.9 million oceanfront knockdown they bought in 2015, with neighbours recently complaining about construction trucks blocking the narrow street. It is intended to be the family’s forever home once completed.
The couple has spent around $5.5 million on investments, including a $2.66 million stopgap home, but nothing has been added to their portfolio since the middle of last year.
Bowler Cameron Bancroft, the player caught red-handed tampering with the ball in South Africa, upgraded his home in Perth, spending $917,500 on a four-bedder in Melville, south west of Perth. He leased out his former three-bedroom home for $395 a week.
Also in Perth, the Marsh brother’s have been reshuffling their portfolio in recent months.
Shaun Marsh and his wife, former TV journalist Rebecca, sold their $1.73 million Bicton entertainer and moved to a $2.1 million home in Applecross, a waterfront suburb south of the Perth CBD.
Brother Mitchell also sold his Bicton home for $2.38 million, although he was caught in the Perth downturn, having dropped $120,000 in value over his two-year ownership. He still owns a four-bedroom home in Fremantle.
The Sutherland Shire spinner Nathan Lyon was also a victim of the downturn, this time in Sydney.
He made a mid-year loss on his three-bed Vaucluse investment, which passed in at $1.1 million on vendor bid at its July auction.
The apartment went on to sell for $1,085,000, down slightly from its $1.1 million purchase price in 2015
Consistent test players are paid a guaranteed yearly retainer fee of $800,000 by Cricket Australia plus match fees for appearing in any Test, one-day international or T20 international.
Former Test cricketer and Sydney Thunder captain Shane Watson and wife Lee bought in Bellevue Hill for $6,825,000 in 2018 after selling their Bronte home for $10.6 million.
Watson, ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid Australian cricketer of recent years, had windfall earnings in the Indian Premier League plus sponsorships.
Sydney Sixers women’s’ captain Ellyse Perry is expected to make her property moves this year, having declared she is off to Melbourne with her husband, Wallaby Matt Toomua, after he signed with the Melbourne Rebels. They own a $1,737,000 home in Chatswood.
Legendary spin king Shane Warne, who regularly stars on the Melbourne property scene, re-sold his former Brighton trophy home Melville for $18,888,888 earlier in 2018, just 14 months after he bought it back for $14.25 million.
He used $5.5 million of the proceeds to settle on another nearby mansion.
Former cricket captain Ricky Ponting and wife Rianna lived nearby in Brighton, having paid $9.25 million when they quit Sydney five years ago after selling for $4.3 million at Burraneer Bay.
Despite not featuring for the Australian national side in more than a year, Manly-based all-rounder Stephen O’Keefe has retained his vast property portfolio across two states.
The veteran NSW blues player who will be an important part of Sydney Sixers Big Bash side last year, has investment properties in Mudgee and Lennox Head, as well as Queensland investments in Kingston, Marsden, Wakerley and Raceview, all just outside Brisbane.
The Brisbane investments totalled around $1.48 million on acquisitions bought across two months in 2015.
His captain at the Sydney Sixers, fellow all-rounder Moises Henriques, recently offloaded his former Clovelly townhouse for $2.08 million, having bought a $3,125,000 rebuild project up the road late last year.
It is said that Richie Benaud quit cricket in the mid-1960s to become a journalist for the money. His Coogee flat, which cost $25,000 in 1967, is retained by his widow Daphne.