We’re back with Nicola McDougall and Kevin Turner as they discuss interesting stories in the real estate industry this week.
Our first story tackles a property with an unusual space saving technique. This Melbourne studio apartment can be rented for only $450 a week, but a cursory look at its floor plans put the kitchen and the garage, of all things, in the same area!
Located in inner-city Richmond, the apartment is described as “unique and humble”. Once the listing was posted on the internet, reactions poured on social media. Federal Greens member for Melbourne Adam Bandt tweeted, “something is deeply wrong with housing in Australia”, while other commenters said things like: “I think the Australian rental property market is broken.”, “LOL is this for real?”, “Kitchen in the garage? Walk in the front door and through the toilet… living situation in Melbourne is grim. Grim, I tell ya.”
Bandt expressed his disappointment that renters in his electorate are offered properties where they’re forced to cook in the same place they park their car.
Council enforcement officers ruled that the studio was not compliant as a rental property. The listing appears to have been taken down.
Our second story is about a historic U.S. Coast Guard Ship that has been converted into a luxury yacht worth millions of dollars.
The Nantucket Lightship is a decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard vessel that had a historic service. When it was commissioned in 1950, it patrolled the rough seas near the Golden Gate Bridge as San Francisco Lightship, as Portland Lightship I in the early 1970s at the gateway to Portland, and finally as Nantucket Lightship (WLV-612) when it protected coastal and trans-Atlantic shipping from the hazards of Nantucket Shoals.
It’s predecessor Nantucket Lightship (LV-11) made the headlines in 1934 when it was rammed by RMS Olympic, the companion of the famous RMS Titanic. The lightship sank and 7 crew members died.
“Our Nantucket Lightship (WLV-612) joined previous Nantucket Lightships in saving hundreds of ships from sinking in the graveyard of the North Atlantic and in saving thousands of lives as its beacons of hope provided millions of European immigrants with their first welcome to America,” says current owner William Golden.
Vice President George H.W Bush was aboard the Nantucket Lightship when the Soviet Union shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007. It was also known as a Guardian Angel of the North Atlantic and was the last on-call lightship in the US.
As seen in the pictures, the Nantucket Lightship (WLV-612) is a show-stopper at every port of call.
Our third story explores seven abandoned buildings in Australia. These include the Broadway Hotel pub in Woolloongabba, the Notre Dame Zoo in Mulgoa, the Big Textile Factory in QLD, the Balmain Leagues Club in Rozelle, the Atlantis Marine Park in Two Rocks, the Peters’ Ice Cream Factory in Taree, and Almost a Ghost Town in Hammond.
These buildings were once an important part of their communities, now, most of them are largely forgotten.
Do you have good memories of these places?
For our fourth story, we explore the Valley of Tech Titans, Silicon Valley itself. Half of the world’s tech billionaires call Silicon Valley their home, but what will this extreme level of wealth mean for other residents?
Billionaires are buying homes around their mansions for family, staff, art collections, or places to hold events. It’s like playing real-life Monopoly.
Property prices in the area have skyrocketed. East Palo Alto, for example, was once a low-income community where many people of color once lived. Now, the median price of homes is in the $900,000 range. The school district has reported that more than half of their students are homeless and some teachers commute more than two hours away because they cannot find affordable local housing.
“It’s not sustainable,” Lenny Siegel, the former mayor of Mountain View, says.
Residents are wondering what it could mean for the future of the valley. “What is it going to mean if only totally affluent, young people can afford to move in?”
Our last story for the week is about a billionaire’s penthouse that sells at a loss. The penthouse in question belongs to China’s youngest female billionaire, the social media star, Zetian “Nancy” Zhang. She is more popularly known by the nickname “Milk Tea Sister”.
Her penthouse is a four-bedroom aerie overlooking Sydney Harbour and was a newly built condo in 2015. The nearly 6,500 square-foot apartment has sweeping views over the city, an architectural spiral staircase, a separate media room, and its own elevator. Residents of the building also have access to shared amenities like a 24-hour concierge, a pool, gym, and a rooftop terrace.
The official sale price of the property was reportedly 13.5 million AUD, a 2.7 million loss from its original price of 16.2 million AUD. The loss is not surprising given the decline in luxury home prices in Sydney.
Specials for this week include a discussion on why women live longer than men and this week’s Building Stuff Up.