Prestige market struggling to keep up but the Chinese Buyers can help

Despite the confidence boost from a spate of trophy home sales this year, high-end waterfront suburbs Palm Beach, Vaucluse and Longueville are still well below their price peaks. As Sydney's property prices reach record highs, parts of the prestige market have been left behind.

''Things are very patchy at the high end,'' said Dr Andrew Wilson, senior economist at Australian Property Monitors.

''Overall, the prestige market is still largely flat and others are well below their previous peak levels.''

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Highlighting that patchiness are the strong gains being made in other luxury neighbourhoods - Rose Bay and Double Bay, all of which have hit new highs, according to figures from APM.

The median house price in Bellevue Hill is $3.15 million, a 6% decline in the past five years, according to RP Data and the millionaire's playground of Palm Beach remains one of the city's most sluggish prestige areas.

The peninsula's median house price of $2.6 million is 21.2 per cent below its 2006 peak.

In May, the former Palm Beach weekender of car dealer Neville Crichton sold for $8.7 million to software entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, well below the $10 million Mr Crichton paid for the beachfront retreat in 2010.

Longueville is also down by 16.5 per cent from 2007 to a median of $2.41 million and Vaucluse is down 11.2 per cent from 2010 prices to a median of $3.25 million. Elsewhere, Mosman is down 2.1 per cent on its peak in 2008 and Dover Heights is down 2.3 per cent from last year.

In Vaucluse, where buyers looking for value have helped push clearance rates up to a strong 75 per cent, according to APM.The other major factor helping Vaucluse is that its buyers used to be either locals or returning expats, also there is very strong interest from Chinese buyers looking for those picture-postcard views across the harbour to the city, and attraction to good schools and it's wealthy community enviroment and that's helping the market too.

Earlier this year the Vaucluse waterfront home of venture capitalist Peter Boboff sold after more than three years on the market for $10,495,000 to a buyer from mainland China. It last traded in 2007 for $11 million. (Source: L Macken smh)

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