Deague, Speer double money in Portsea

Architect Geoffrey Sommers used materials from demolished Melbourne buildings to construct Rovina.

Camilla Speer, the daughter of prominent property developer and investor David Deague, and her husband, Affinity Equity Partners head Nick, have quietly sold an enormous waterfront Portsea pile after four years and a renovation.

Rovina, pictured unrenovated, occupies 1997 square metres near The Cutting.

The five bedroom c1963 Rovina, also once known as Watkins House, a cottage, boatshed and mooring, is speculated to be selling for about $25 million, according to local agency sources, shy of the suburb record, $26m, and Mornington Peninsula one – $30m, paid by BGH Capital’s Ben Gray for Sorrento’s Westbank in early 2022.

Rovina, once known as Watkins House, prior to the refurbishment.

Message Media founder Grant Rule and his wife, Dr Sophie Oh, are being reported by Nine as the buyers. The pair paid $74.5m in 2022 for a St Georges Road, Toorak, home.

Rovina is the second recent major Portsea property to sell recently, with the c1910 Wandin, on 3538 square metres at 3592 Point Nepean Road trading for $15m in February.

Wandin recently sold to a neighbour for $15 million.

That buyer, businessman Ken Biddick, owns a neighbouring property which cost $7m in 2013.

RT Edgar’s Warwick Anderson brokered both sales.

Renovated Rovina flipped

The Speers’ paid $13.48m for Rovina, on 1997 sqm at 3808 Point Nepean Rd, in March, 2020, just as the first national lockdown kicked in.

That seller was aged car entrepreneur Russell Knowles, also the father in law of Simon Pittard, who co-led failed developer Steller (story continues below).

Camilla and Nick Speer recently sold their Toorak home for $14.5 million.

Former home owners include horse trainer Jonathan Munz, who sold it to Mr Knowles for $13.8m in 2018.

Décor founder Brian Davis and James O’Connor, who ran Mercedes-Benz dealership Kew Star Motors, have also held the title.

Since 2010, the record for a Portsea home was $26m, paid by investor John Higgins for Ilyuka on Point King Road.

Rovina was offered after Mr Speer was appointed to lead Affinity, which is Sydney based.

Mid-last year the pair sold their Melbourne family home for $14.5m.

In Toorak’s ritzy St Georges Rd, that was another windfall deal, coming in almost double the $7.65m they outlaid in 2015.

The Deague family meanwhile hold adjoining Sorrento properties including a pile formerly accommodating a Guildford Bell home, Baillieu House, next to St John’s Anglican Church, which cost $21.5m in 2017.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of