housing affordability real estate property ladder
112 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst. Photo: BresicWhitney

With overseas holidays off the table for the foreseeable future, and the cafes with their exorbitantly priced avocado toast facing restrictions on how many millennials they can let through the door, the next generation of Australian homebuyers may finally be able to join their boomer parents on the property ladder. 

From Brisbane to Melbourne to Adelaide — and of course the first-homebuyer-friendly city of Sydney — some absolute gems have been offered up in recent times. Here’s a list of what you’ve just missed out on, so you can know what to expect when you begin your search with a fistful of COVID-19 savings.

Renovator’s delight

This snug little charmer on Eton Street in Camperdown, Sydney, has plenty of natural light thanks to holes throughout the interior and exterior — plus the interior design is stunning, with debris elegantly strewn throughout the dwelling. It’s a renovator’s delight — you literally cannot live in it without extensive renovations.

The best part is that it’s completely affordable. The house went for $1.6 million which, at 127 square metres, means it cost $12,756 per square metre — a higher per-square-metre price than Australia’s most expensive house.

The home is in complete disrepair, and is believed to have been uninhabited for 12 years. (Image: supplied)

Living with nature

For those looking for a house set deeper in nature, this four-bedroom family home in Armadale, Melbourne, features glossy mould patches on the ceiling, climbing plants that snake naturally through the cracks in the wall (putting potted house plants to shame), and rotting floorboards that waft a strong earthy smell throughout.

Its listing described it as a genuine “once-in-a-100-years opportunity”, perhaps because that’s how long it will take you to wade through the litany of heritage protections that come with it. The lucky buyer snagged it for $5.8 million, a mere $1.8 million above the reserve price.

Plants and mould growing inside didn’t deter bidders at 62 Rose Street, Armadale. (Image: supplied)

Unconventional living for conventional prices

Don’t be boxed in by what society expects of you. This South Sydney house sees through societal constructs and says “no” to both a kitchen and a toilet. With your cooking and, er, toileting time freed up, you’ll have the space to lovingly restore the water and electricity — neither of which are connected. 

Perfect for millennial buyers who think of themselves as pure Slytherin, the backyard comes fully equipped with a snake infestation for you to enjoy, all for a cool $4.705 million.

The home had no toilet or kitchen. (Photo: NG Farah)

New Farm for old times

If you think such gorgeous properties are only available in Melbourne and Sydney, think again. In Brisbane’s trendy suburb of New Farm, this quaint cottage went for $2 million, and it’s easy to see why.

The rustic charm oozes out of the property through a back door that doesn’t exist, and you’ll be taken back to the time it was built — the 1920s — every day, thanks to a total lack of electricity. The listing describes the dwelling as an “extremely rare offering”, while The Courier-Mail lovingly labelled it an “uninhabitable dump”. Imagine all this being yours.

A listing for the property described it as an “extremely rare offering”. (Image: supplied)

The most liveable house in the most liveable city

The country’s most liveable city, Adelaide, is also throwing its hat into the property ring with this Italian-style cottage. Leaning walls propped up with sticks can replace that Tuscan holiday you had planned, and all for the bargain price of $2 million.

Honestly, the relative liveability of this house really might convince you that Adelaide is the most liveable city.

The 1950s cottage in Glenunga attracted bids before the auction well above the asking price despite its condition. (Image: supplied, Harris Real Estate)

Inner-city convenience

Busy millennials who don’t have time to rush between their bathroom and their closet will be charmed by this South Yarra apartment where the bathroom is inside the closet.

This one-bedroom one-bathroom/closet is creatively designed around several nooks and curves — in fact, it’s all nooks and curves, with the kitchen essentially propped up in an alcove — and could have been yours for just $400,000.

A totally normal apartment. (Image: supplied)

Drug den chic

This is the kind of Darlinghurst den you would write home about. Spanning four levels with stunning water damage evident on every single level, this Sydney terrace will knock you off your feet. Seriously, if you don’t fall through the rotting floorboards then the fallen-in ceiling will get you.

Step (very carefully) out onto the collapsed balcony and take in the street, or enjoy a calm cuppa in your backyard (currently fenced off with ominously official-looking red tape). This darling sold for $4.6 million.

112 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst. (Photo: BresicWhitney)
112 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst. (Photo: BresicWhitney)

Glorious views

Just think, if COVID had put a stop to your frivolous millennial spending several years earlier, you could have got your hands on this other Darlinghurst treat — a 14-square-metre apartment for just $350,000. The spacious bathroom takes up the full back wall, with a kitchen-facing lavatory to keep an eye on your eggs during your morning rush.

This shoebox may be on the smaller side, but it has loads of storage space under the bed that you have to pull from the wall every night before you go to sleep.

(Image: supplied, Sydneylinks Real Estate, Potts Point)

Your Kew to buy

If none of the previous options have you tempted, this one will. Nestled in the inner eastern Melbourne suburb of Kew, this retro building with stunning pinks, greens and browns is calling your name. Perfect for the young couple who enjoy spending weekends scrubbing floors, walls, cupboards and tiles, this house needs a touch of work and is just waiting for the right buyer to sparkle.

(Images: realestate.com.au)

Steal of the century

Finally, one you can actually get you hands on! Fresh on the market on June 10, this derelict 1850s-era cottage in Sydney’s Paddington last traded for $28,000 in 1976 and now it’s back on the market with a tiny $1.87 million mark-up.

This property is the fresh slate you’ve been dreaming of. A place where you can truly bring your own imagination, because almost every single piece of it will need repairs, from the single toilet (currently outside) to the numerous holes in the floor, walls and ceilings. And bonus — you can even use your own imagination on the electricity, thinking creatively about how exactly to connect it to your new portfolio prize.

(Images: supplied)

Getting on the property ladder really isn’t that hard if you knuckle down and save, and don’t mind a bit of a fixer-upper — just ask your nearest boomer.

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