Sydney wrecks in high demand, beachfront estate sale sets new record

By Your Mortgage
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.