Bold “statement” homes with unusual, head turning features and architecture have been stealing the hearts of Sydney home seekers as the city recovers from two years of lockdowns.
Online listings site realestate.com.au has revealed its most popular properties of the year so far and they include a mix of properties with a much different profile from the homes that were popular last year.
Many of the most popular properties were unusual homes where the owners were reported to have taken risks with the design.
It helped the homes stand out in a slowing market and some of the properties sold for staggering prices.
This year has also seen inner city properties draw attention again after a long period of buyers shunning them in favour of spacey houses away from the crowds.
Realestate.com.au senior economist Paul Ryan said there was a sense buyers were beginning to “re-appreciate what inner and more densely populated areas had to offer”.
Another change was a slowdown in Sydneysiders pulling up stumps and relocating to regional areas to capitalise on remote working arrangements – a key trend during the early Covid pandemic.
“Prices in regional NSW went up substantially last year, (moving) won’t be seen as the same value for money it once was,” Mr Ryan said.
Among the 10 Sydney homes that attracted the most online engagement – from both prospective buyers and curious spectators – were cutting edge designs in Blakehurst and Kellyville.
A home that proved particularly popular was an architecturally-designed northern beaches property listed for sale in April.
The Elanora Heights property, known to some locals as “the Star Trek house” due to the spaceship profile when viewed from the air, has a price guide of $17m-$18m.
The house, set out in two wing shapes reminiscent of Captain Kirk’s spaceship in the popular TV show, has a 15-seat home cinema, five bedrooms and water views.
Another unusual property with a distinctive brick facade pulled in a crowd in Concord in the inner west.
Belle Property Strathfield principal Simon Furnari said close to 500 people came to view the recently built home when it was open for inspection.
It sold for $6.4m – the first property to break the $6m mark in the inner west suburb.
“There was a lot to love,” Mr Furnari said.
“Most mum and dad type builders choose save options. This builder wanted to take a risk and showcase what could be done in the area.
“It was really intriguing to people. Striking and unusual.”
Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the popularity of modern designs could be a reflection of soaring building costs, which have discouraged new home building and renovations in some areas.
“Finding a renovated home or something quality in an established suburb is really difficult at the moment,” she said.
Realestate.com.au’s most popular listings also included dream homes in prized coastal settings – the kind of properties that are popular every year – but, these too, often offered something unusual.
Sydney’s most popular home so far this year was a property near the Mosman waterfront with a 25m tunnel that was reported to have drawn comparisons to a Bond villain’s hide-out.
Sellers Robert Procter and wife Wendy were reported to have hired a team of miners from Lightning Ridge to dig the tunnel across their sloping property and it forms part of the home.
The tunnel connects the street level to a lift that rises 10m to the living level, bypassing the 60-steps one would need to climb on foot to get to the front door.
The tunnel includes the home gym and the bare rock walls mirror the underground homes at Lightning Ridge, known as dugouts.
Selling agent Jacqui Rowland Smith of Di Jones Mosman said the property caught the interest of a lot of cashed up buyers and sold for $11.5m. The guide was $10m.
“The tunnel is so beautiful,” she said.
“It looks like it was hand dug by convicts even though it was really miners with special equipment.
“When you walk through it, the lights come on, music plays, and it’s as if it wraps around you and hugs you.”
SYDNEY’S TOP 10 MOST POPULAR HOMES OF 2022
1. ‘James Bond tunnel’ – Mosman
2. Kellyville cool – Kellyville
3. Sutherland stunner – Cronulla
4. Blakehurst beauty – Blakehurst
5. The wonder of Wagstaffe – Wagstaffe
6. River boat access only – Wendoree Park
7. Family friendly – West Pennant Hills
8. Post-modern curiosity – Concord
9. Kellyville Crown – Kellyville
10. Star Trek House – Elanora Heights
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