Millers Point sale could bank $470m for building new homes

NSW Government Property is upping the pace of a controversial sell-off at Sydney’s Millers Point, pushing another 175 historic homes to market through ­McGrath as the exclusive agent.

The state’s property arm has appointed McGrath agents ­Richard Shalhoub, Lorraine Crawford, Peter Starr and ­Andrew Crawford to the handle the campaign, which could ­generate more than $470 million based on average sales prices fetched so far.

On the fringe of Sydney’s CBD and on a harbourfront stretch beneath the Harbour Bridge, Millers Point was for years dominated by government housing until fears over mounting repair bills for the historic homes prompted the government to start selling off its holdings in 2014.

The decision forced the ­eviction of 293 long-term households into new homes on the city fringe.

Less than halfway through the sales process, the state ­government says the plan is on track and delivering the anticip­at­ed results.

Proceeds of more than $218m to date have funded the building of more than 600 new social housing homes, the bulk of which are in western Sydney, and continued sales will boost this count to 1500.

“This government is committed to making better use of public assets, and Millers Point is a great example of how that approach is delivering bricks-and-mortar solu­tions for the people of NSW,” Finance, Services and Property Minister Dominic Perrottet said.

The decision is a win for ­McGrath in a market where agents have complained that the flow of new stock has slowed to a trickle, and other areas of the city are showing sluggish capital growth rates. “The appointment is an exciting milestone for our company,” chief executive John McGrath said.

“We anticipate strong demand from a diverse section of owner-occupiers and investors. This area has evolved into a highly desirable precinct with its rich history and unique harbourfront position in one of Australia’s iconic locations.”

Millers Point values have risen by 14 per cent during the past 18 months, according to Core Logic RP Data.

Its a median price now sitting at $2.46m and enrolments in the local primary school have more than doubled to 181 stud­ents in the past five years.

McGrath agents have already handled a large number of sales in the sell-off program alongside Belle Property and Savills agents, fetching stiff prices on the homes and terraces, which are in disrepair.

Sales prices have ranged from $1.615m to $7.7m, the latter for a sprawling Victorian Georgian homestead known as Darling House which sold in February.

A local professional couple bought the 10-bedroom home, which has been used in the past as an aged care facility.

The new owners have plans to renovate and restore the property into a home for themselves.

Many of the homes in the historic precinct, one of the first colonised in Sydney, were built during the 1800s and require extensive renovation and restoration after more than six decades of use as public housing.

New homeowner and professional builder Andrew Yazbeck expects to pay more than $6000 a square metre to renovate his four-storey Georgian terrace on Lower Fort Street, into a home for his family of four.

Mr McGrath said the sales program was expected to start in the second half of this month.



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