ONE of Webster Street’s finest multi-million dollar homesteads has hit the market.
It’s been almost a decade since the Victorian villa ‘Novar’ was last listed for sale, with the eight-bedroom property advertised for $3.5 million.
But the asking price is far from deterring buyers with selling agent Caine Property director Damian Caine telling The Courier buyers from as far as Jakarta and London have already expressed their interest. Built by Edward Stephens, a legal manager of several local mining companies in 1885, the house contains many original features that Mr Caine said made it one of a kind.
“It’s one of the most iconic properties in Ballarat, it’s at the absolute premier end as far as finishes and location goes,” he said.
“This block of Webster Street is a premier piece of real estate by a standard mile.
“The community has worked hard to protect the heritage and in the area it’s hard to buy.”
He said a property of the same size and quality could fetch between $10-20 million in Melbourne, making the price tag a draw factor for buyers.
“I get to see some of the best properties in Ballarat, and this is certainly one of them,” he said.
“A property like this is affordable, you could easily live here and work in Melbourne.
“I suspect as years go on the likelihood of finding houses like this will be rare, and you just couldn’t afford to build it.”
The house, which has been restored and renovated over the years accordingly with it’s heritage design, features 900 square metres of living space with eight foot ceilings, four bathrooms, five living spaces and a bluestone summerhouse and wine cellar under the existing foundations.
But Mr Caine said it was the detail in the design such as the cast iron posts and lacework and antique French glass doorways, which he described as “the best he has ever seen”, that highlights the grandeur of architecture at the time. Something he said was proving a strong selling point with many buyers.
The now double story house was originally designed by architects E James and Co. The original name of the house ’Novar’ was in recognition of Lady Munro Ferguson, wife of the then Governor General, who was also the Countess of Novar and founder of the Australian 34-38 Webster Street Red Cross movement.