While many of their competitors assumed the former dream team were set to hang up their ‘Open Home’ signs for good, there appears to be a few more seasons of luxe listings in the Pontey-Finger alliance yet.
The newly anointed McGrath duo have been behind some of Sydney’s biggest trophy market deals.
Pontey’s include the $65 million sale of Singaporean businessman CK Ow’s Vaucluse estate ‘Phoenix Acres’ in 2017, and the $29.5 million sale of nearby Loch Maree to venture capitalist Clark Perkins and his wife Marguerite.
Finger meanwhile sold Bellevue Hill’s ‘Leura’ estate for about $31 million in 2015 to Chinese-Australian businessman Wilson Lee, and is behind its current $70 million listing.
The news of Double Bay’s musical chairs was confirmed by a tight-lipped McGrath PR, who would not be drawn on precisely what their new roles would be, while founder and CEO John McGrath declined to comment.
Industry insiders anticipate that, given their experience, the Pontey-Finger team will take the reins of the McGrath’s Double Bay office.
In February, McGrath Double Bay lost young gun William Manning to Bill Malouf’s Highland Double Bay. That defection followed another star loss when top performer Ben Collier quit to found The Agency in 2017.
The Pontey-Finger recruitment coup appears to be part of a broader McGrath push for the top-tier market, after launching a new Paddington office manned by Luke Hogan, Fraser Turvey and Woollahra stalwart Georgia Cleary who joined in July. Hogan welcomed the pair’s 60-plus years of real estate knowledge.
“Their experience is invaluable. They’ve seen and done it all, and we look forward to having them on the team,” Mr Hogan said.
In a cooling market where the flow of trophy listings is thinning, McGrath’s harbourside advance is bound to ruffle feathers in the cut-throat 2028 postcode, whose listings catchment includes Point Piper, Vaucluse, Bellevue Hill and Darling Point.
Sotheby’s Michael Pallier said the news was “certainly surprising” and noted the pair would deliver McGrath an ongoing supply of prestige properties.
“They have built big databases over a long period and would have many repeat clients.”
New listings and juicy sales commissions are certainly what McGrath needs. The ASX-listed agency last week warned its 2023 first half earnings would be materially lower than for the corresponding period last year. It forecast an underlying pre-tax earnings drop of at least 50 per cent, in last week’s trading update.
Driving the earnings downgrade were what the company called “challenging market conditions” with fewer listings than average and lower selling prices.
When asked about McGrath’s hiring of the star agents, local rivals were adamant it was a case of ‘the more, the merrier’. TRG’s Gavin Rubinstein “wished them well” while Highland’s Will Manning said it was “a great addition to the McGrath team.”
Meanwhile, Double Bay’s Ray White is certainly making its physical presence felt, investing in a five-storey office to house over 60 staff. Located on the corner of Manning and New South Head roads, the new office is still under construction.