Last Saturday, the hub and I attended an auction for a rather cool, architecturally designed house circa 1956 in Lane Cove. It was a 3-week process that brought us to that point – a total fixer upper, we fantasised on what part of the modestly estimated 200 thousand dollar reno we would undertake first. Well, surely it would be the dodgy asbestos lined, uninsulated “master suite and adjoining room”. We met the former tenants who confirmed that this upper living area was in fact totally unliveable, unless you wanted to sweat buckets in summer or freeze to death in winter. But then there was also the downstairs stich: a 50’s kitchen that had to go, an archaic “main bathroom” that was off a utility room and bedrooms separated from the lounge-room with only sliding doors. Lots to do. Also, if the truth be known, Lane Cove would inevitably be somewhat of a comedown from our fabulous Milsons Point lifestyle that we are presently enjoying. With views of the bridge from the balcony and being right in the middle of Sydney – well, it has been fun. Yet understandably, unless you are stupidly loaded, one must compromise to get on board the wily beast that is the Sydney property market. It took approximately 3 seconds after the auction began to be outbid. The adrenalin rushing, a crowd of eager faces, the 12 registered bidders – it all came to just 2 Australian couples who were head-to-head in a battle expertly orchestrated by a snappy young auctioneer, decked out in a grey suit and lavender tie/shirt ensemble. It reached its crescendo a mere 345 thousand dollars higher than our maximum. Three hundred. And forty five thousand dollars. Really? Really Sydney? Is this what we’ve come to?
So, we’re back to the drawing board. Where on the drawing board? Somewhere far, far away. And probably a unit and not a house. At this stage, maybe a garage instead of a unit. Welcome to Sydney people! The property market has reached fever pitch. And my disdain for real estate agents has peaked to a new level. Is it their fault that they can sell beaten down shoeboxes under a flight path for record prices? No. But I dislike them anyway. Mainly because of the not so faint glimmer of dollar signs in their hungry eyes, and their constant misuse of adjectives. For example: the word “vast” is often used instead of the words “bloody small”. And “quaint timber cottage” seems to now describe a $1.5 million pile of white ant riddened matchboard.
The Australian Dream of owning your own home has indeed become a fool’s paradise.
Last night, hub was watching a Louis Theroux documentary filmed in the Gaza Strip. It was just total warfare…chaos. Then there is the mounting crisis in Iraq with ISIS continuing their murderous advance to seize control. It’s unimaginable for us seated on our leather recliners to really understand that type of daily terror.
So I thought: who cares if we rent forever? We don’t have gun battles on our doorstep. Hello reality check.
Sydney, you’re alright.