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Monday, June 13, 2005

AUSTRALIA: Contrasting Fortunes #2

$5.2m for an old shack!

A knockdown fibro beach shack on the central coast is on the market for $5.2 million – complete with overgrown gardens, broken windows and flaking paint.

The five-bedroom demolition job on the beach at Wamberal is valued at 10 times the median price for its suburb. However, its owner insists it represents great value.

First advertised for a jaw-dropping $7 million last year, it passed in for $5.7 million at auction.

Despite owner Frank Hunter slashing $1.8 million off his original asking price, he is yet to find a buyer. But if it does sell, the Ocean View Drive surf shack is likely to smash the record for the highest price ever paid for an absolute beachfront property outside Sydney

The current record is the $4.8 million paid last year for a secluded five-bedroom retreat on Coral Crescent at Pearl Beach. LJ Hooker Terrigal principal Tim Andrews said the dilapidated Wamberal beach house represented "good value" because it occupied two large beachfront blocks set over 1500sq m.

"It's the next step to Heaven – there is no better. It is the Sydney Harbour of the central coast," said Mr Andrews, of the home's panoramic views.

However, wild storms in the 1970s devastated the beach, destroying two homes and, to prevent this happening again, Gosford Council wants to add a concealed beachwall – costing $8.2 million – with residents expected to contribute a third of this cost.

Property prices at Wamberal Beach vary wildly, depending on proximity to the beach, views, land size and the quality of the residence. The record for beachfront property at Wamberal is $4.1 million paid last year for 55 Ocean View Drive.

About 100m back from the beach, a three-bedroom townhouse sold for $392,500 and on The Entrance Rd a two-bedroom house sold for $290,500.

Jeff Mahoney of Ray White Terrigal said property prices on the central coast had fallen by up to 15 per cent over the past two years.

"Prices have bottomed out and I think the only way they can go is up from here," Mr Mahoney said.

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