Australia Back to Real Estate News Homepage to RSS for this country

AU Property News

AU Sydney homeowners sitting on houses worth over $1 million

Property Here - Sunday, August 18, 2013

Share to:


Marian Farmer with her daughter Jenny Bridge at her property, in Concord, that sold for the first time in 73 years, for over $1.2 million. Source: News Limited

THEY are Sydney's surprise millionaires: homeowners who have spent decades in their family house, unaware they are sitting on a goldmine. This time last year they may have been worth far less, but the Sydney market has begun to boom and $1 million or more for a home in an average suburb is now the new normal.

The conditions are perfect for sellers. Buyers are everywhere, thanks to record low interest rates and a severe shortage of listings, pushing price tags beyond what sellers would ever have imagined.

Marian Farmer, 77, was moving in with her daughter and needed to sell her Concord home, which had been in the family for 73 years. It was purchased in 1940 by her late husband's parents for the grand sum of 900 pounds - the average wage of a factory worker at the time was 250 pounds - and the bungalow style home was virtually in original condition.


Jenny Bridge in 1969, aged 2, crying in the front of the house.

Jenny Bridge in 1969, aged 2, crying in the front of the house. Source: Supplied

She didn't have a price in mind, so when the hammer came down at $1.291 million August 3, more than $250,000 above her agent's reserve, she was shocked.

"When I saw the amount I nearly fell through the floor," Mrs Farmer said. "I thought there's no way anyone had that much to spend on a house."

Daughter Jenny Bridge said the house attracted incredible interest from day one.

"Before an inspection, we'd have to clear people out of the pathway to drive out," Mrs Bridge said. "We had 150 parties through."

During the auction, Mrs Farmer became concerned.

"Mum heard the price going up and up and said 'isn't that too much money?'," said Mrs Bridge. "She was amazed."

Mother and daughter are now planning on buying a house in the southern suburbs.

"We can get something nice for around $850,000, so we'll have change left over, which is great," said Mrs Bridge.

LJ Hooker's head of network, Chris Mourd, said with auction clearance rates now 80 per cent each weekend, previously unknown locations were joining the million-dollar club. One of the hottest is Concord, which has seen prices rise by 26.5 per cent in the last five years and the median is now over $1 million.


"It's one thing to take a buyer's perspective in the current market and say 'I can't find anything for less than one mill'," said Mr Mourd. "But imagine you're the owner of one of these homes. So many people are sitting on million-dollar properties with no idea."


The front of Jenny's house, possibly from the 1940s.

The front of Marian’s house, possibly from the 1940s. Source: Supplied

Devine agent Stevan Vuk-Luboya said house prices have nearly doubled in the last decade, there was been about 12 per cent growth in 2013 alone.

"It's now a real destination suburb," he said. "People are coming here because they want to, not because they can't afford another suburb."

Buyers are so desperate in Concord that some have been door knocking, trying to secure houses privately.

"Those that go to auction can get a lot more money than a quick, quiet private sale," Mr Vuk-Luboya said.


Jenny and her sister Elizabeth in 1972 (approx), on a trike in front of the laundry door at the back of the house.

Jenny and her sister Elizabeth in 1972 (approx), on a trike in front of the laundry door at the back of the house.Source: Supplied

Other boom suburbs include Canada Bay (30 per cent growth over five years), Connells Point (36 per cent), North Strathfield (41 per cent), Bella Vista (31 per cent) and Chatswood (30 per cent).

Mr Mourd said people sitting on their home for 10 or 20 years should get an agent to value the property.

"People don't realise the returns they could get if they put their home on the market today," he said. "It might take a few months for that message to get through, but we are hopeful for a positive spring season."


balance payment receipts

The original deposit and balance payment receipts for 25 pounds respectively for the purchase of 17 Consett St in 1940 by Charles and Elizabeth Farmer. Source: Supplied

Secret millionaire hot spots

Connells Point - Median price $1.15 million - 5 year growth - 39 per cent

Concord - Median price $1.1 million - 5 year growth- 29.4 per cent

Strathfield - Median price $1.41 million - 5 year growth - 30.1 per cent

Chatswood West - Median price $1.04 million - 5 year growth - 24.1 per cent

Denistone - Median price $970,000 - 5 year growth - 31.3 per cent

Bella Vista - Median price $914,000 - 5 year growth - 30.6 per cent

Read more: