An unfinished two-bedroom home at Port Kembla was hotly contested at auction this week, eventually selling for about $30,000 above the reserve price.
The home at 31 Forster Street, Port Kembla sits on 588.1 square metres, and sold for $695,000 under the hammer.
Described in the marketing as a "blank canvas", selling agent, Shane Szakacs from Ray White South Wollongong said the "uninhabitable" home was "basically a shell of a house, an incomplete two-bedder".
"It had three-quarters of the external cladding," he said. "It was basically internal frames, windows and the old tile roof. So it's at lock-up stage, but nothing else was done to it."
Mr Szakacs said the owner was "time poor", had run out of motivation for that particular project, and ultimately decided against completing it before listing it for sale.
The property therefore went under the hammer this week.
Mr Szakacs said there were 10 registered bidders, of which half-a-dozen were active. They were a mix of Illawarra and Sydney buyers.
He said builders showed interest in the home, but not developers as the frontage wasn't wide enough.
Mr Szakacs said more than dozen bids were placed after bidding kicked off about $600,000.
He said they were uncertain of what price the home would fetch, but had expected perhaps the mid-$600,000s range.
"Once it went past the $660,000 range, two people fought it out," he said.
"They were both looking at similar things; finish off the house, put a granny flat in the backyard and have a really good rental return on both."
Mr Szakacs said there had been estimates that completing the home would cost $100,000 to $150,000, depending on finishes and whether it was a two or three-bedroom home.
The property ultimately sold for about $30,000 above the reserve price.
The buyer is from western Sydney, but has family in the Illawarra.
"He's a builder himself, so he's going to finish off the house, turn it into a three-bedder, put a granny flat in the backyard and look to maximise the rental return," Mr Szakacs said.
However, Mr Szakacs said the new owner may wish to relocate permanently there at some point.
According to CoreLogic, currently the median sales price of houses in Port Kembla is $908,000.
"It's the Port Kembla market... I grew up there, and there was a time when the only ones who liked it were the locals," Mr Szakacs said.
"We were always told, 'don't tell anyone it's any good here', because we didn't want tourists to turn up and realise how good our beach was.
"And now the secret's out. I think it's a case of people have seen the resilience in the market in areas like Port Kembla, what they're doing in the main street, and all it has going for it."
There have been recent sales of derelict homes in the region, or at least properties requiring a considerable amount of TLC.
An "uninhabitable" home in Albion Park was snapped up for above the reserve price.
The home at 41 Moles Street, Albion Park sold for $552,000, which exceeded the reserve price within three bids.
Meanwhile, a Lake Illawarra home, reportedly in the same family since the 1970s, has new owners.
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