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Balmain unit in Sydney inner west that is only 13 square metres selling for $400,000

A Sydney unit that is barely bigger than some walk-in wardrobes is on the market for just under $400,000.

The studio apartment at Balmain in the city’s gentrified inner west has just 13 square metres of space and is so small it has a bunk bed above the kitchen sink and a fold-out dining table for one.

While that’s bigger than most standard bedroom closets, it is roughly the same size as a more deluxe walk-in wardrobe with lots of shelves.

The Mort Street residence in the old heritage-listed The Star Hotel is close to Sydney Harbour and a two-minute walk to a ferry terminal. 

Owner Mark Destefano, a 58-year-old IT technician in the public service, said the very tight floor space had been rented out by couples and dog owners since he bought it for $305,000 in 2017.

‘It’s the smallest with strata with actual land title in Sydney,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

 A Sydney unit that is barely bigger than some walk-in wardrobes is on the market for $400,000. The 1920-built studio apartment at Balmain in the city’s gentrified inner west has just 13 square metres of space and is so small it has a bunk bed above the kitchen sink

‘A couple used to live there, they were really happy. 

‘I’ve had all sorts of people. An English staffy loved it, used to sit in the corner there with his blanket.’ 

The floor space is also significantly smaller than the minimum 35 square metre rule for newly-built studio apartments, which the New South Wales government enacted in 2015.

The laws didn’t retrospectively apply to existing studio units but a property owner now subdividing a mansion or an old hotel into apartments would face tougher planning regulations. 

The residence in the old The Star Hotel is so small there is a shelf for a bunk bed above the kitchen accessible via some very steep stairs.

Banks don’t lend to owner-occupiers if a studio apartment has less than 50 square metres.

The residence in the old The Star Hotel is so small there is a shelf for a bunk bed above the kitchen accessible via some very steep stairs

The residence in the old The Star Hotel is so small there is a shelf for a bunk bed above the kitchen accessible via some very steep stairs

An investor interested in buying this second-floor unit would have need to have a 40 per cent deposit, instead of the usual 20 per cent.

With a selling price of $398,000, that means a buyer would need to have $159,200 saved up.

Mr Destefano bought unit nine with money from his self-managed super fund, shortly after it was renovated four years ago, and still owns unit ten in the complex, with 19 square metres.

A couple with two children lived in a 21-square metre unit in the same complex.  

The Star Hotel, built in the 1880s, was converted into eight very small units, mainly owned by old residents who don’t mind the steep stairs to get to the loft bed. 

While that's bigger than most standard bedroom closets, it is roughly the same size as a more deluxe walk-in wardrobe with lots of shelves

While that’s bigger than most standard bedroom closets, it is roughly the same size as a more deluxe walk-in wardrobe with lots of shelves

‘It wouldn’t be suitable for older people but saying that, all the owners around there, they’re pretty elderly themselves and they’ve all got loft beds and they get up there somehow,’ Mr Destefano said.

‘Balmain people, they’re pretty fit, let me tell you.’ 

The building with the units was once a pub favoured by wharfies and the street it is on was a film set for the 1974 bikie movie Stone, starring the late Bill Hunter.

The old The Star Hotel now has two shops on the ground floor with most of the residents living on the second floor, accessible at the back. 

The residence in the old The Star Hotel is at least also close to Sydney Harbour

 The residence in the old The Star Hotel is at least also close to Sydney Harbour

It was once a pub favoured by wharfies and the street it is on was a film set for the 1974 bikie movie Stone, starring the late Bill Hunter

 It was once a pub favoured by wharfies and the street it is on was a film set for the 1974 bikie movie Stone, starring the late Bill Hunter

Selling group Australian Home Partners suggested it was the kind of place to be rented out rather than lived in as an owner occupier.

‘This compact 13 sqm studio apartment would make the ideal investment purchase,’ it said. 

Mr Destefano said it was ideal for those who wanted to be a 10-minute ferry ride away from the city, liked to be near pubs and hated cleaning.

‘They don’t have to do much work. It’s easy to rent,’ he said.

The apartment sold for $305,000 in March 2017 and is now on the market for $398,000.

Balmain’s median apartment price is beyond the $1million mark while a more moderately-sized studio would cost upwards of $750,000.

Should it find a buyer, the asking price would mark a 31 per cent increase over four years averaging out at 7.6 per cent a year.

While house prices in Sydney are surging, rising by 11.2 per cent since January, unit prices have risen by a more subdued 4.6 per cent, CoreLogic data showed.

Owner Mark Destefano, a 58-year-old IT technician in the public service, said the very tight floor space had been rented out by couples and dog owners since he bought it for $305,000 in 2017. 'It's the smallest with strata with actual land title in Sydney,' he told Daily Mail Australia

Owner Mark Destefano, a 58-year-old IT technician in the public service, said the very tight floor space had been rented out by couples and dog owners since he bought it for $305,000 in 2017. ‘It’s the smallest with strata with actual land title in Sydney,’ he told Daily Mail Australia

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk