On a recent visit to my old stamping ground in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, I was shocked and even nauseous at the extent and scale of house renovations everywhere. A self-devouring property feeding frenzy, with its endless cycle of demolition and reconstruction, is stuffing every square inch of land with botoxed over-building.
Mostly they are pug-ugly boxes without any architectural merit or aesthetic values: the Great Australian Ugliness on steroids! The notion of embedded energy in the old buildings is completely ignored. Where are the punters getting these mega-millions of dollars from? Maybe we need a property pox tax. Apocalypse now!
The national obsession with property investments, fed by tax ‘breaks’ that need dismantling, at the expense of renters and first home buyers, is of course at the heart of this corrupt tax-avoiding, socially-incoherent system of self-enrichment. By the way.
On further investigation, it also turned out that my personal real estate history in the area is almost completely erased. Existentially this raises doubts about my very existence there over a couple of decades. We’re talking owned property, not rental premises.
The evidence is a trifecta of greed and ‘progress’:
My teenage and young man years were passed in the modest Pagewood family home at Donaldson Avenue. My father transformed it DYI in the 1960s from a two bedroom bungalow into a compact four bedrooms by enclosing a verandah and jerry-building a kitchen/dining room at the rear. Somehow that house survived until recently, but it’s now unoccupied, power lines are cut and obviously awaiting demolition.
My post-marriage home was a modest two bedroom flat (not apartment) in Malabar Road, South Coogee, bought in the late 1970s for $22,500 (company title). That building of six flats has been recently demolished and the replacement block of luxury apartments even ate up the neighbouring house too. On sale now with $1.5m plus price tags each.
Our subsequent upgrade in the early 1980s to a modest two bedroom bungalow (price $92,000) was located nearby in Hendy Avenue. We extended it a couple of metres to create a third bedroom for the growing family. That house was demolished a few years ago and replaced by a two storey box, now for sale, with asking price $3.1m to $3.9. A similar house next door got the same treatment, with a huge replacement box taking up the long block of land.
So, that’s it folks, three strikes and you’re erased: ancient history.
A lost real estate opportunity, of which baby boomers have at least one dramatic example in their longish lives. In 1977 I shared a modest rental house at Tamarama Beach with three friends, just across the road from the beach, last house in the gully. Living the dream!
Eventually, the owner decided to sell the rundown house, and offered it to us for under $60,000. I’m not kidding. But none of us was interested and/or didn’t have much money. It’s on the market again, asking price $8-9m. Naturally the original house was demolished long ago.
(with no photos of the original house available, this look-alike from across the road suffices for demo purposes)