Luke Struber and Tess Cattana
Luke Struber and Tess Cattana

Block winners are secret millionaires

Cairns "cane toads" Tess and Luke were the unlikely winners of The Block this season, taking home a whopping $730,000 for their efforts in Sunday's finale - and it's not the only financial windfall they've enjoyed lately.

While it wasn't mentioned on the show, the 20-something newlyweds last month sold their Cairns home for $410,000, meaning they are now millionaires (on paper at least).

The couple bought an unrenovated, three-bedroom weatherboard house in the Cairns suburb of Manunda for $269,000 in October 2014, giving it a thorough revamp before selling it last month for $410,000.

 

The home when it was last listed in January 2014. Picture by Twomey Schriber Property Group.
The home when it was last listed in January 2014. Picture by Twomey Schriber Property Group.

Belle Property states Tess and Luke's Manduna home had undergone a "complete rejuvenation" during their five years of ownership: "Retaining the polished timber floors, tongue and groove walls, high ceilings and casement windows that are hallmarks of the traditional Queenslander, a considered renovation and the addition of screens has transformed it into a stylish, contemporary residence."

 

The home after Tess and Luke's extensive reno.
The home after Tess and Luke's extensive reno.

 

Tess and Luke outside the Manunda home as they put it up for sale. Picture: STEWART MCLEAN
Tess and Luke outside the Manunda home as they put it up for sale. Picture: STEWART MCLEAN

Last weekend, they were back on site at St Kilda's former Oslo Hotel to watch in amazement as their Block house soared a whopping $630,000 over reserve. The couple also pocketed an additional $100,000 in prize money for their series-winning sale.

A BIG BLOCK WIN

 

Tess and Luke, Block winners for 2019.
Tess and Luke, Block winners for 2019.

Here's how this season's Block couples ranked at auction:

WINNER: Tess and Luke, $730,000 ($630,000 over reserve + $100,000 prize money)

2ND PLACE: El'ise and Matt, $460,000

3RD PLACE: Andy and Deb, $430,000

4TH PLACE: Jesse and Mel, $388,000

5TH PLACE: Mitch and Mark, $384,000

The winnings for each couple were huge this year - only two seasons ago, the fifth-placed couple won a comparatively small $95,000, while last year, fifth-placers Norm and Jess won $209,000.

But the couples' placings were also an upset after a season in which Mitch and Mark frequently placed first and self-described "dark horses" Tess and Luke were repeatedly portrayed as out of their depth and falling behind the rest of the competition.

And the life-changing win came just a few weeks after Tess and Luke went rogue in an interview with news.com.au, sensationally slamming the show and accusing producers of bullying them and editing them to make them look lazy.

But speaking to news.com.au's Shireen Khalil after Saturday's auction, the pair declared they had "no regrets" about signing up - but confirmed they were still upset with how they'd been portrayed.

 

It was a tough season for the couple.
It was a tough season for the couple.

"We are so grateful to be on The Block. Our lives have changed completely, but you do get really upset being portrayed a certain way and it's because you don't see everything. And unfortunately, we were portrayed as the lazy ones, but you can't win The Block being lazy," Tess told news.com.au.

"We probably weren't the most organised, but we weren't the laziest," said Luke.

Tess said they'd been doing it tough since filming finished, dealing with the public's perceptions of them as lazy.

"Mentally it is still very hard. We're living this life we never thought we would live. We're going through things we never thought we would go through together and it is a struggle," she said.

Sunday's finale was a massive ratings winner for Nine: 1.541 million people across the five metro capitals tuned in for the episode, the number growing to 1.924 million for the reveal of this year's winner.



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