Australia’s most prolific celebrity property moguls, from Tones and I to Jennifer Hawkins

It’s not just ordinary Australians who were swept up in the frenzied property market boom in recent years – homegrown celebrities have also been busy buying and selling.

While known for their creative and business endeavours, this crop of homegrown stars might not necessarily strike you as being avid real estate investors.

Here’s a peek inside sone of the larger celebrity property portfolios.

Tones and I 

The prize for one of the most impressive property swags goes to pop star Tones and I.

In just a few years, the 27-year-old singer – whose real name is Toni Watson – has bought two modest homes, two multi-million-dollar mansions, and a to-die-for northern New South Wales rural compound complete with two homes and pools. 

It’s not bad for someone who not long ago was living out of a van and busking on the streets of Byron Bay.

The singer also appears to buy strategically. 

Aussie singer Tones and I has gone from living in a van and busking a few years ago to owning millions of dollars worth of prized real estate. Picture: Getty

Her most recent purchase, a four-bedroom house in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston, bought for $720,000 last September, has potential-plus.

It sits on a sizeable 824sqm block with freestanding cottages, ideal as offices or guest rooms, plus zoning for redevelopment into three townhouses or a large family home. 

The property is the Dance Monkey singer’s second in Frankston – the first being an $800,000 house she bought in late 2020.

But these humble abodes pale in comparison to her other acquisitions. 

Tones and I also bought a Byron Bay estate. Picture:

In January 2021, Watson splashed $3.3 million on a 1000sqm holding just outside Byron Bay. The impressive spread, about 800m from the beach, features two houses with a combined 12 bedrooms and six bathrooms. 

Each dwelling has its own pool and private garden, and both are renovated with country cottage-style hardwood floors and high ceilings.

A few months earlier Watson bought herself an early Christmas present in the form of a $5.1 million, five-bedroom Mt Eliza mansion on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. 

Tones and I sold her first Mt Eliza for made a tidy profit. Picture:

The opulent residence on a sprawling 2738sqm block even has its own wellbeing centre complete with steam room, sauna, pilates studio, and two treatment rooms. 

Solar-powered and built with maximised energy efficiency, there is also a pool, upscale barbecue, fireplace, and edible gardens. 

Almost a year later though, the ARIA Award-winner sold this property for a tad over $6 million. 

Tones and I splashed $7.08m on this Mt Eliza pad last year. Picture:

The November 2021 sale could well have come about due to the singer having dropped $7.08 million in April the same year on another luxurious Mt Eliza pad. 

Built to truly palatial proportions, the five-bedroom, two-level residence features a tennis court, sunken fire pit, and an elegant basement entertaining area with colour-changing light fixtures, wine lounge, 3000-bottle wine cellar, and an underwater view of the pool.

Dave Hughes

Funnyman and radio star Dave Hughes might seem humble and unassuming, but the comedian clearly has a passion for high-priced property.

Fans of hit renovation reality show The Block was shocked when Hughes showed up on auction day in 2017 and snapped up the house built by contestants Josh and Elyse for a whopping $3.067 million.

He rents it out for a reported $2000 per week.

Dave Hughes later said the purchase of The Block property was a tad impulsive. Picture:

Hughes and wife Holly also hold the family home in St Kilda that they bought in 2010 and a block of units in Melbourne’s south.

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky  

Apart from their $30m Byron Bay mansion that took them several years to complete, the A-list couple own a couple of nearby farms and were reported to be looking at properties in Perth and Sydney’s exclusive coastal hamlet of Burraneer Bay last year. 

Their principal Byron Bay residence, perched on a ridge high above Seven Mile Beach, boasts a Thor-worthy home gym, butler’s pantry, fire pit, change rooms, outdoor play area for the three Hemsworth children, and walk-in wardrobes. 

The Hemsworths are fond of the Byron Bay region and own multiple properties there. Picture: Getty

The Hollywood megastar and his brothers Liam and Luke have also bought several multimillion-dollar properties in NSW’s Northern Rivers region. 

Chris and Elsa’s latest plans involve building a seven-bedroom, four-level mansion on a 35ha site they bought about 1km from their current home for $4.25 million in 2019. 

Detailed plans show the Hemsworths’ desired new residence is 35m long, with four levels, a butler’s pantry, and a mammoth swimming pool. 

Chris Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky have bought a mammoth plot of land not far from their current mansion and submitted plans for a seven-bedroom mansion. Picture: Getty

However, the development is currently on hold after local council temporarily shelved the project, blaming a lack of staff for the planning delay. 

A recent rumour that Chris and Elsa forked out $15 million for an exclusive 530ha oceanfront site on the Tasmanian coast was later quashed by a local real estate agent. 

But now, Victoria’s Phillip Island is the latest locale abuzz with talk of a purchase by the star pair. 

Given Chris’ childhood links to the island, it would not come as a surprise: Phillip Island is where the Hemsworth clan grew up and its beaches rank among the brothers’ favourite surfing spots. 

Chris also already owns a beachside estate there that he bought with Liam in 2013.  

Rumour has it Chris Hemsworth is sniffing around Phillip Island, where he and brother Liam own a property together. Picture: Getty

Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Hall

When it comes to building property portfolios, the former cheerleader-turned-Miss Universe is one of the most savvy Australian celebrities.

Well before Hawkins and her builder husband Jake Wall started constructing and selling multi-million mansions, Hawkins made a string of modest purchases.

She began with a $469,000 home in the Newcastle suburb of Merewether in October 2006 and a $620,000 three-bedder in the same suburb a few months later. 

Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Hall have turned their attention to property development. Picture: Getty

The rising star had by that time signed several lucrative contracts, including a record $4 million ambassadorship deal with Myer.

Those initial purchases were followed by an $895,000 apartment in a new Bondi development in 2007, a $345,000 home in the outer Newcastle suburb of Minmi the same year, and a $2.27 million lavishly appointed, three-bedroom Coogee house n November 2008, complete with swimming pool, home theatre, and top-floor master suite with ocean views.

It did not take long for Hawkins and Wall to up the ante. 

The photogenic pair went into the business of property development and haven’t looked back.

In August 2020 they set a Northern Beaches real estate record with the $24.5 million sale of their Newport waterfront Casa Paloma to billionaire Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie.

Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall sold this Newport home last year for $24.5 million. Picture:

Now the celebrity couple are building their next luxury mansion on a double block overlooking prestigious Whale Beach. 

The couple bought the block, once owned by the late Joan Sutherland, in 2020 for $6.95 million from Museum of Contemporary Art chair Lorraine Tarabay. 

Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall have received approval for a dream home at Whale Beach. Picture: Northern Beaches Council/J Group Projects.

Scott Cam

Celebrity tradie and host of The Block, Scott Cam, has quietly amassed a property portfolio worth several million dollars over recent years.

Scott Cam with fellow star of The Block Shelley Craft. Picture: Channel Nine

And he’s about to add to it, building and renovating one of the homes in the upcoming season of the hit reality show alongside the latest crop of contestants in regional Victoria.

Cam bought one of the apartments in the Art Deco building that featured in The Block in 2016, paying $2.2 million, which serves as a home away from home.

Scott Cam bought an apartment in the Art Deco building that featured in The Block in 2016. Picture: Channel 9

He and his family live in a mansion in Sydney’s ritzy Vaucluse worth an estimated $6.5 million, which he purchased back in 2012.

Cam also owns a home in Rosebery, worth about $2 million, a beach house on the NSW South Coast, and a rural estate in Mudgee.

Justin Hemmes 

The gothic-style Sydney harbourfront mansion The Hermitage, belonging to Australia’s most famous pub baron, carries an estimated worth of $100 million. 

But being able to call such an impressive property home has not stopped Hemmes from acquiring others to place under the same banner. 

Justin Hemmes’ Sydney mansion The Hermitage has an estimated value of $100 million. Picture: Sardaka/Creative Commons

The billionaire also calls his Glasshouse Rocks estate in Narooma home after paying a reported $7.5 million in 2015 for what is considered the best waterfront site in the area.

The estate features a character-filled weatherboard on 60ha overlooking Narooma’s renown Glasshouse Rocks. 

Justin Hemmes doesn’t just own a stack of pubs – he also boasts an extensive property portfolio, including the $100 million mansion The Hermitage. Picture: Getty

Last December, Hemmes sold another property in his portfolio, a spectacular waterfront home at Pittwater on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. 

He offloaded the residence for $5.5 million, not long after snapping up a $7 million-plus Dover Heights mansion for his ex-partner Kate Fowler.

When in Sydney, Hemmes can be found at The Hermitage. 

The CEO of the billion-dollar Merivale Group and his siblings grew up in the Harbour front mansion, acquired by his parents John and Merivale, for $500,000 in the 1970s. 

In 2011 Justin moved back in and carried out an extensive and lavish renovation of the heritage-listed home.

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