Posts Tagged 'property sedgefield garden route'

Property Blues

Property in Sedgefield has flat lined. There hasn’t been the worst case scenario crash, nor has there been any sign of a recovery. I’ve been checking out the on-line listings, and many of the houses that were listed when we sold our last house 3 years ago, are still for sale.

Coastal property has been particularly hard hit by the downturn, people hanging on by their fingernails to their primary property are no longer even considering a holiday home. There aren’t many great properties for sale in town; anyone who doesn’t need to sell is sitting tight. Those that do want to sell are under pressure.

This house, just a few metres up the road from us, has been listed since last year. It came on the market at 2.9 million, the price was dropped to 2.5 million over the summer, and it’s now down to 2.2 million.

I’m very, very thankful that we don’t need to sell into this, and hope we can hang on long enough to see an upturn if we do need to exit down the line. At the moment we could rent our house for about 30% less than what we are paying on our bond. Of course that 70% is not going to a landlord, but paying off an asset (hopefully). Some consolation – as is being able to wake up every morning in a house I love.

Boom ends. Dream ends.

imagesHalf our friends in Sedgefield are two to four months in arrears on mortgage payments. One family has had their house repossessed.

I know it’s a common story, but like most disastrous scenarios it only seems real when it happens to you or those you know well. They aren’t high-living, cool swingers – a night out usually means the annual school concert. All they did was borrow more than they could afford to pay back if, and when, the fan was hit.

Two years ago stretching to borrow just a bit more than was comfortable seemed like a smart move. The building boom was on, there was too much work for locals to handle, and property prices were doubling every year or two. The risk seemed to be not getting in while you could still (barely) afford too.

Not only have they lost money and their primary asset, they’ve lost the dream of the life they wanted for their family. A simple life where boys could mess around on boats and mom’s could make jam from home picked fruit. Yip, it’s corny. But it’s also seductive. Now it’s gone.

Jake on Sedgefield lagoon

Jake on Sedgefield lagoon

Beach Cottage Makeover (2)

Sitting room before

Sitting room before

One of the ways we have managed to survive financially in a tiny seaside town is by buying unloved, ugly houses and doing them up before selling. The house pictured above had good bones and a lovely view, but the interiors made the place seem horribly bleak.

Old light fitting

Old light fitting

The first thing we did was paint the pine tongue and groove ceiling white.
New light fitting

New light fitting

We then replaced the existing light fitting with a modern one.
While the light was pretty hideous, it didn’t have a patch on the flooring.  Ratty, scuffed, cigarette pocked, beige carpeting – a perfect match for the tobacco stained walls.
We gave all the walls a coat of white paint and then ripped up the carpet and underfelt.  A few coats of red floor paint on the concrete and we had a new floor that cost the price of a dinner out.
Old floor

Old floor

New floor

New floor

We’d spent so little, really just the light and a few cans of paint, that we splashed out on one killer item. A hand-made blue ceramic fire-place that we put in a prominent position.  Once we’d put in furniture, our books and a few paintings the room was barely recognisable – and the cost was minimal.
After

After

For Beach Cottage Makeover (1) click here


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