15 ridiculous things that have happened during Sydney's property boom

This dilapidated shed on 278-square metres sold for $980,000 last year – we named it ‘the million dollar dump’. Photo: C Cashmore/ Twitter.

Although Sydney’s housing market is one of the hottest in the world, last week federal treasurer Joe Hockey said property in the city was patently affordable, because otherwise “no one would be buying it”.

Hockey also observed that the first step to buying a home was to “get a good job that pays good money”.

But not everyone agrees. Just days later, RBA governor Glenn Stevens described parts of the Sydney market as “crazy”.

Mel Wilson, who’s had a good job for a decade as an HR manager, penned an open letter to the treasurer breaking down the cost of a home in Sydney compared to wages and the maths is not good.

According to Waleed Aly, who wrote an opinion piece in Fairfax Media, the debate over housing availability has been ongoing for at least 15 years. He suggests the real problem is that “housing is unaffordable because the market is flooded with investors”.

“Fewer than half of our houses are owned by people living in them. About 30 years ago that figure was around 85 per cent,” he writes.

“The result, put crudely, is rich people buying houses they don’t particularly want, but which poorer people want to live in.

“And since both sides of politics are determined to make sure house prices keep going up, investors take minimal risk and first-home seekers have increasingly minimal hope.”

The prices have even left the agents flabbergasted, as the 15 properties we’ve listed below show.

And Sydney’s not alone – Melbourne has gone a little nuts too. Last year a derelict heritage-listed cottage in Richmond sold for $2.5 million, and this year the Australia 108 penthouse – soon to be the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere –sold for $25 million setting a national property record.

But here’s Sydney at its hottest:

1. This penthouse in The Rocks sold for a whopping $16.2 million to a Chinese buyer. It may be the most expensive apartment to sell this year but strict confidentiality agreements has left many questions around the sale unanswered.

The Stamford Residences penthouse, built in 2012, has four bedrooms, five bathrooms spread across three-levels and Thomas Hamel interiors.

Originally listed for $15 million-plus a year ago, the prized real estate has one of the best views of the city's skyline and Sydney Harbour.

Media reports suggest Zhang Zetian — the same name of a Chinese internet sensation and the girlfriend of billionaire entrepreneur Liu Qiangdong - may be the owner of the property, but a gag order on any disclosure of the sale has even prevented the agent coming forward.

Read more about it here.

2. This tiny house is expected to sell for $3.5 million because it's in a business district. The trouble is, it's not even downtown - it's miles away, in St Leonards.

This real life version of the home from Pixar’s animated movie “Up” may just be 223-square metres, but the home which was purchased 75 years ago is expected to sell for at least $3.5 million.

Not only that but it is sandwiched between two mammoth skyscrapers in the business district of St Leonards at 19 Chandos Street.

With two street frontages, close proximity to St Leonards train station and the rising popularity of business districts outside the city’s CBD, the property’s real estate agent CBRE says the land is the perfect development opportunity. Read more on that here.

3. This terrace in Surry Hills sold $965,000 at auction in May, just shy of the average house price in the area. The catch? This property is only 2.85-metre wide.

This pint-sized property on Terry Street sits on just 38 square metres of land — packing two bedrooms upstairs with separate dining and living rooms downstairs.

Although expressions of interest sat in the mid-$700,000s, competitive bidding from three interested parties saw the price soar.

Despite not meeting the suburb’s median house price of around $1.2 million, the property offers a significant investment opportunity and has been advertised as having 'an enormous amount of potential'.

Read more about it here.

4. This $39 million mansion was bought by one of China's richest men. But in May Joe Hockey forced him to sell as his business had failed to notify the Foreign Investment Review Board.

In May an Australian citizen Villa del Mare in Point Piper, the property which treasurer Joe Hockey ordered Chinese property developer Xu Jiayin - one of China's richest people - to sell.

Earlier in the year Golden Fast Foods, owned by Jiayin's Evergrande Real Estate Group failed to notify the Foreign Investment Review Board upon the purchase of the property.

Under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act non-resident foreign nationals cannot buy established dwellings as homes or investments and all foreigners require approval to buy residential real estate.

Read more here.

5. Even state housing blocks are getting sold off. This one in The Rocks went for $4.23 million in May.

Grimes Cottage at Millers Point may have been government housing but the heritage-listed real estate came with a hefty price tag going for $4.23 million at auction.

The five-bedroom, three-storey Georgian house, built in the 1830s, stands on 416 square metres of land has views of the Harbour Bridge and is one of the oldest surviving residential buildings in central Sydney.

The sale was part of the state government's plan to raise $500 million for new housing projects.

Read more here.

6. A house owned by former Multiplex chief Andrew Roberts became the most expensive residential property sale in Australia in April after selling for $38 million.

The Gladswood Gardens property also smashed local records, with the previous biggest sale in Double Bay topping out at $12.6 million in 2013.

The five-bedroom family home has over 55 metres of prestige water frontage, a private jetty, mooring, boat store and infinity pool.

See more about it here.

7. For the first time in 100 years this four-bedroom cottage on Clifton Road in Clovelly went on the market. In 1914 it cost £388. In April it sold for $2,275,000.

The 496m² block was originally built by local builder Malcolm McIntyre and passed through the family to grandson Tony Plummer, a former economics teacher, who sold it.

Real estate agent Simon Platt of Ray White Coogee at the time said: 'It’s difficult to find a 500-square-metre block in Clovelly, and it’s certainly on one of the best streets that isn’t seaside'.

Read more on that here.

8. A developer paid $2.85 million for this ordinary suburban house in Gladesville in March. The sale price was nearly double the reserve.

This four bedroom, single story brick home in Stansell Street, Gladesville sits on 714.5- square metres between an unit block and service station - a lot which real estate agents describe as 'a rare find'.

Around 300 watched in disbelief as 28 registered bidders chased the property which was eventually sold for $2.85 million – $1.1 million above the reserve.

Agent Paul Tassone said: 'The buyer was a developer who plans to rent it out before eventually redeveloping the site'.

Read more here.

9. The stunning penthouse in the well-known Toaster building at Bennelong point may have once been a restaurant but its owner now expected it to sell for $40 million.

What was once a restaurant with spectacular Sydney Harbour views has been transformed into a luxury penthouse apartment.

After Cadmus restaurant went into voluntary administration in 2003 and closed 2006 the Moran healthcare family bought the property for $24.64 million in 2012.

They are now reportedly looking to sell their residential and commercial holding on the top floor for about $40 million, which would make it the country’s most expensive apartment.

Read more about that here.

10. James Packer's Barangaroo penthouse could blow Australia's property records out of the water if it sells for its expected price of $100 million.

Packer could potentially recover the $100 million paid to acquire Crown’s Barangaroo casino license if the sale of the planned three-storey villa goes ahead.

Real estate guru and CBRE chairman Justin Brown said that if a private sale was to be approved there would be genuine interest from international buyers, possibly resulting in a nine-figure price tag.

The Australian record for most expensive property sale currently belongs to mining heiress Angela Bennett, whose Mosman Park riverside mansion in Perth sold for $57.5 million in 2009.

Read more here.

11. These 12 homes were bought from Sydney Olympic Authority for just $5.8 million. Just one month later they were sold for a whopping $10.4 million.

A dozen Federation era homes in Homebush West were sold for $10.43 million just one month after an investor paid $5.8 million for them four weeks prior.

The houses in Welfare Street and Flemington sold for for up to $200,000 above the reserve, for between $840,000 and $915,000, to mostly Asian buyers, Robert Pignataro from agent Strathfield Partners said.

Tenants of the houses, some of which have lived there for six decade protested the sale, concerned that they would be evicted.

Read more about it here.

12. In September 2014, this standard 700-square metre property in Artarmon sold for $2.95 million.

The 700-square metre property at 9 Pyrl Rd, Artarmon, sold for $2.95 million, well above the $2.6 million reserve.

The five-bedroom house broke the suburb’s sold price record, set two months prior at $2.82 million for a four-bedroom house on a double block.

LJ Hooker agent Sam Green said the sale reinforced the notion that 'competition forces good prices'.

'We were never expecting above that,' Green said. 'It was half the land size, a similar home, and the other had a tennis court.'

Read more here.

13. This luxury residential development called Pacific Bondi Beach was bought by a company linked with Andrew Roberts, who also bought the Double Bay property mentioned earlier. He paid $25 million for it when it wasn't even finished being built.

The luxury penthouse in Bondi briefly held the right of the most expensive apartment ever sold in Australia when it would bought by Roberts in November 2014.

The two-storey apartment, designed by Burley Katon Halliday, has four bedrooms, an internal lift, a vast main bedroom with a spa and a gym, and 40 metres of Bondi Beach frontage.

The sale matched the current record set by buyer Will Vicars, chief investment officer of Caledonia Investments, who last year purchased two apartments in the building next door, known as the Lighthouses, with plans to create a single mega-apartment.

Read more here.

14. This dilapidated shed on just 278-square metres of land sold for $980,000. The sale was such a shock it is now know as 'the million dollar dump'.

C Cashmore/ Twitter

Take a look at this utter dump of a house that sold in Leichhardt in Sydney’s inner west mid-last year.

It’s a dilapidated wreck on 278 square metres. The price: $980,000.

Now, sure, Leichhardt has been one of the hottest suburbs in Sydney’s latest property boom. But really?

A senior economist at one of the major banks told me that the sign of a real housing bubble was a kind of mania, reflected in weird stories starting to appear about house sales in the media.

Do we start ticking the boxes?

Read more here.

15. And the trend continues. Another total dump of a house in Stanmore sold for $923,000. That's almost a million dollars for a property that would most probably have to be knocked down - crazy!

The 172-square metre property with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and in need a lot of work was listed aptly as an 'absolute blank canvas'.

The sale showed that buyers are willing to spend big in well-placed Sydney suburbs, even if it means redoing the entire property before it is liveable.

More than 20 parties registered to bid, and 150 turned up to watch as the spectacularly dilapidated house went under the hammer.

'There are a lot more people looking for properties that need total renovations rather than part renovations,' said the selling agent, Rod Alexander.

Read more on that here.

16. Now, if you think Australian property prices are insane, try New Zealand.

Cheer up Sydneysiders trying to buy a house, you could be in Auckland, New Zealand, which is undergoing its own property boom.

Unprecedented sales activity in March has seen Auckland’s residential housing market establish new records for prices and sales numbers. The average house price is even more expensive than in Sydney, with the gap widening as a stronger Kiwi dollar heads towards parity.

Read more about it here.

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