The Melbourne family were happy to find a home before being priced out of the market. Now the building is being demolished.
A young family of five desperate for a place in Melbourne ‘cuddled’ themselves into a two-bedroom house to avoid being priced out of the burgeoning market.
It has become an increasingly common trend of late as the cost of owning a home has risen and families want to move into properties they can renovate later.
But Kate Unsworth said rising property spots were a problem for families long before the pandemic sparked the real estate boom.
The family felt the pressure of runaway property prices seven years ago when they searched for a home and settled on a two-bedroom house in South Melbourne that they bought for $845,000.
“It’s the last house we could afford before it was priced out of the way,” she told news.com.au.
But she admitted Melbourne had been locked up for more than 250 days with their three children, two boys aged 10 and four and an eight-year-old girl, nearly shattering their desire to remain in the area.
“It’s not ideal and it gets a bit more difficult as the kids get older, especially with a boy and a girl because they share a room and always have quite a lot,” she explained.
“The youngest – his crib is still in our room, which is absolutely against all the rules in the parenting book, as the youngest should have been out years ago. We do it, it’s all we’ve ever known as a family and we definitely take advantage of the parks.
“We have a small yard, so we can’t tell kids to go to the backyard.”
Before the pandemic hit, Ms Unsworth said they basically used their home “for sleeping and eating” as her daughter did competitive gymnastics four times a week, while her son played cricket and tennis.
But this all changed with the multiple lockdowns in Melbourne during the pandemic, with homeschooling and working from home all taking place in their tiny home.
“Since we don’t have an extra office, we had to turn the dining table into a desk, so my two older kids were sitting at the desk and my husband was sitting on the kitchen bench and we were all trying to study and work,” she says. said.
“At the time, my youngest was still taking his afternoon naps, so we had to be quiet and I had to take him for walks. It was a real juggling act.”
Finally, the 38-year-old said they moved the two oldest children who were learning during the lockdown to the weekend so they could find a balance between working and taking care of the youngest.
But the experience also propelled them back into Australia’s red-hot real estate market, as the pair wondered what they were up to and “really” squeezed into their place with no space.
“There was nothing in the area that we could afford, but we decided not to move because we are not used to commuting, we have one car and we are within walking distance of schools,” she said.
Ms Unsworth can drive from home to work in eight minutes, while her husband works in procurement in the Docklands and is just a 10-minute bike ride away.
The marketing professional said the kids aren’t complaining about the lack of space because “they don’t know any different,” which she says “isn’t necessarily a good thing.”
But the couple had explained that selling and moving on would mean more commute and less time together.
The average price of a two-bedroom house in South Melbourne is now $1.26 million, according to realestate.com.au, and the family plans to use their savings and some home equity to finally complete their renovations. finance.
She said Covid has delayed their renovations, which the builders say will take at least a year, and that means renting for that period.
It’s no small job either, as most of the house is on demolition, as rebuilding is the only option.
“We’re going to keep the two front rooms for heritage reasons and tear down everything else,” she said.
“We are going to build another room in it, plus a sitting room and a second sitting room and bathroom upstairs.
“It means our backyard will get smaller because we’ll have to push out a little bit to move the bathroom and laundry, but we’re maximizing the land space we have and the ability to move up and we’ll have a lot of storage.”
Ms Unsworth said she’s seen so many families sell and move for more space, so she’s “super excited” about the change.
She especially can’t wait for the kids to have their own space, with a plan for the two boys to share and her girl to have her own room, although the sitting room can also be turned into a bedroom.
There is also a sacrifice that Mrs. Unsworth would like to return.
“Our dining room table is still our office table, so we eat at the kitchen bench, so a little something to have a family table to eat at together will change the fun nicely,” she said.
“It’s so simple, but I think it’s something they’ll love and something people take for granted. We choose to live in a small house, but a table would be nice for family dinners.”
In the long run, the full renovation of the house should also pay off for the family, although Mrs. Unsworth has no plans to sell.
“We’re confident it will go up in value if we ever have to sell or rent — we won’t lose — and once it’s done, it would be worth about $2 million,” she said.
The Unsworths aren’t alone in going the renovation route, either.
A young Aussie family donated $1.6 million to a “very run-down” house in Adelaide, as it was the only way for them to get into the neighborhood.
Experts said skyrocketing house prices and rising construction costs mean flipping homes is less lucrative for investors.
Now developers and investors are often outbid by families desperate for a home, even if it means spending hundreds of thousands on renovations because they worry about being priced completely out of an area.