Crumbling dump of a house in Sydney could fetch a fortune at auction

The derelict shell of a Sydney house that could collapse at any moment and has a tree growing in the middle could fetch a pretty penny when it heads to auction later this month.

Aptly described as having “succumbed to the passage of time”, the cottage at 52 Juliett Street in the inner-western suburb of Enmore is not for the faint-hearted.

Selling agent Bryan Mahlberg from LJ Hooker Newtown believes “beauty lies beneath this hidden gem” given its stellar location on the suburb’s “best street”.

But in his listing, Mr Mahlberg concedes the new owner will need “some imagination to design and construct a contemporary home”.

The crumbling dwelling itself, heavily graffitied and full of rubbish, is probably beyond salvaging, but it sits on a 227sqm block with an 8.3m frontage.

It sits opposite some of Enmore’s largest and grandest homes and is a stone’s throw from bustling King Street and its array of popular restaurants and bars.

Enmore Park and the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre are a few blocks away.

The ugly duckling returns to the market after five years, having lost sold in mid-2018 for a whopping $1.25 million.

The sales agent at the time revealed the site was so dangerous he couldn’t obtain public liability insurance, so potential buyers were unable to inspect it.

Nothing much has changed since then, with the vendor having sat on the pile of bricks. Inner West Council granted demolition approval in December 2020 but it never proceeded.

Documents submitted to council in support of the application to knock down the house described its condition as “severely dilapidated … [and] overgrown with dense vegetation”.

“We understand that the property has been vacant for the last 20 years and was severely damaged by a fire at some point in the past,” a report by Structure Consulting Engineers read.

Assessors believe the house at one point had two levels, but the top had collapsed. Most of the remaining structure is missing doors, floors and windows.

The report went on to describe the dwelling as “effectively in ruins”, adding that it “is not structurally safe and could completely collapse at any time in the future”.

“The collapse could cause damage to the neighbouring properties or serious injury to the general public. Therefore, we recommend an immediate demolition of the remaining structure and removal of all the debris from the site.”

Mr Mahler did not return calls from seeking a price guide.

However, the median house price in Enmore is currently $1.8 million, giving some sense of what a prized parcel of land might be worth.

A three-bedroom beautifully renovated house just down the road at 40 Juliett Street sold in August for $2.25 million.

Should it sell, it won’t be the first unliveable dump to find a brave owner this year, with a crumbling house in Annandale fetching $1.35 million last month.

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