EVERYBODY knows the Australian real estate market is insane right now. Interest rates are low, demand is high and prices are skyrocketing.
And nowhere are they crazier than in Sydney's elite eastern suburbs.
It's in this world of bling, prestige cars, designer clothes and Gordon Gecko "greed is good" mentality that we find new reality-documentary TV series Luxe Listings Sydney, Australia's answer to US shows Selling Sunset and Million Dollar Listing.
It takes you inside some of Australia's most prestigious homes along billionaire's row in Point Piper and Vaucluse and features enough Sydney harbour porn to titillate the most ardent Melbournian.
Like any reality TV show, success hinges on the talent. Luxe Listings Sydney has come up trumps with Gavin Rubinstein, D'Leanne Lewis and Simon Cohen.
Rubinstein is a pocket rocket in a tailored suit and designer sunglasses, who prowls open houses with the intensity of Al Pacino playing Michael Corleone. His The Rubinstein Group (TRG) has recorded almost $500 million in property sales in one year and his Instagram page of 34,500 followers rivals a high-end fashion shoot.
"I eat risk for breakfast," Rubinstein tells viewers without a hint of irony.
If Rubinstein is the flash and sizzle, Lewis provides the conscience. The Laing & Simmons Double Bay principal is a mother-of-two and grew up in a South African migrant family in Blacktown before becoming one of the eastern suburbs' leading agents.
Lewis is driven, but dislikes the showiness of TRG's very eastern suburbs private school boys club and her tense run in with Rubinstein during Cohen's harbour cruise party provides one of the series' flashpoints.
Cohen is the founder and CEO of Cohen Handler, one of Australia's leading property buyer's agencies, and regularly negotiates with Rubinstein and Lewis. Cohen's exchanges with the agents make for fascinating viewing as he cuts through Rubinstein and Lewis' sales spin by declaring million dollar properties to be "knock downs". Of course, he's contributing spin of his own.
There's also a strong focus on Cohen's Jewish family and playful banter with his young assistants. He even accidently locks one in his car during a house inspection.
We're also given an insight into the bachelor's dating life, which mostly consists of young models who can't compete with Cohen's constantly ringing phone.
"We are great friends, but business is business," Cohen said of Rubinstein and Lewis. "So there's two sides to all of our relationships. The only thing that remains consistent is the respect we have for each other, but the reality is when it comes down to negotiate, it's time to negotiate."
Early on in my career I learnt the importance of exposure, in all ways.Gavin Rubinstein
Rubinstein was lured by the marketing opportunities the production entailed.
"Early on in my career I learnt the importance of exposure, in all ways," Rubinstein said. "Any opportunity that was on brand for me, I wanted to capitalise on it from the very beginning."
Cohen joked that even as "the best negotiators in town" they had no control over the final cut of the show.
Lewis admitted to initially being hesitant to sign on for the series without any control over editing.
"We wanted to cherry pick the scenes," Lewis said. "But I'm glad that we couldn't do that because what you see is real and you see it as is and that's what people like."
Real estate agents aren't considered the most trusted professionals, will Luxe Listings Sydney change that perception?
"What I would love this show to highlight is that really good work shines through and you can get really good stuff happening besides all the drama that obviously every reality TV has," Lewis said.
"You're changing people's lives and creating beautiful family homes for them, you're helping to make dreams happen."