Homes at both the top and bottom ends of the market continue to sell like mad, with a new record for a single residential property set this week ... in a sale without an agent. Perth's Riverton area has done particularly well. Meanwhile, even wrecked houses near the beach in Sydney can fetch a multimillion-dollar bid. The cost of living in Australia appears to be increasingly impacting discretionary spending budgets, with three-quarters of Queensland households barely covering their expenses.

Priciest home in America sells for $145 million in East Hampton
An 18-acre beachfront estate in East Hampton sold for $145 million … without using an estate agent … leaving agents crestfallen while setting the record for a residential real estate sale. The buyer remains unknown. The estate of investment manager Christopher H. Browne held the Further Lane home in trust for his partner Andrew Gordon as a residence, until Gordon died in September. The new owner may count Jerry Seinfeld, art dealer Larry Gagosian and hedge-fund manager Jim Chanos as neighbours. Read the full story here.

Three out of four Queensland households barely cover their living expenses on $100,000
Most Queensland households are left with little more than $50 a week after they have paid for all their expenses, according to an analysis of official government data by the Courier-Mail. Almost 75 per cent of family households in Queensland are living off $112,000 a year or less – between $1357 and $1733 per week after taxes – while the average family spends $1303 every week on living expenses including a mortgage or rent, utilities, health care and food. Prime Minister Tony Abbott this week proposed changes to welfare and family tax benefits for people with over $100,000 in family income. Read the full story here.

Perth’s Riverton suburb outperforms the market despite signs of a slowdown at the top in Western Australia
Residential auction prices in the Perth suburb of Riverton rose 10.4 per cent to $690,000, leading a sluggish quarter overall in WA, according to preliminary Real Estate Institute of WA data showing an overall price increase of less than one per cent. The trade-up market increased slightly, but the market for properties over $1 million has cooled off there, said REIWA president David Airey. Read the full story here.

Investors are picking through wrecks in a hot Sydney housing market
A derelict house in Sydney’s Clovelly neighborhood sold for $2.4 million on Saturday – $100,000 above reserve. What’s more remarkable – that the deceased estate five blocks from the beach last traded hands in 1978 for $48,000, or that it had a $2.3 million reserve? Seven active bidders pushed the price up in increments of $200,000 and then $100,000 from its initial start at $1.2 million. More than 2000 properties are scheduled for auction in Sydney in May. Read the full story here.

Melbourne rail station revamp may include high-rise condominium development
Rail stations in south-east Melbourne may see multibillion dollar high-rise development after the Napthine government struck a confidential deal with a consortium led by the city's private rail operator, Hong Kong-based Metro Trains Melbourne. The development would be part of a broad revamp of rail crossings and improvements at rail stations nearby, but the deal for high-rises has been floating under the radar until now. The project almost certainly will draw controversy, given Melbourne’s restrictions on building height and density. Read the full story here.

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