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Aussie beach shed set to fetch half a million dollars: 'Rare as hen's teeth'

The asking price is more than $60,000 above the median sale price for a one-bedroom apartment in Melbourne.

An iconic shed on an Australian beach is expected to be sold for almost half a million dollars at the end of January after being listed for sale for the first time in over 50 years.

The licence for Boatshed 26 on the "exclusive" McCrae beach strip in Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula has been listed with a guide of $430,000 to $470,000 — more than $60k above the median sale price for one-bedroom units in Melbourne.

The shed is currently owned by the family of Carlton Football Club forward Matthew Owies who inherited it and recently told Realestate.com.au they have made the difficult decision to sell up now that they’re older and it’s getting less use.

Images of the beach shed in McCrae, Mekbourne from its RealEstate.com listing.
When buying a beach box a person is buying a licence and not the land according to the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. Source: RealEstate.com

The heritage shed with approximately 18.55sqm internal space plus a deck of around 4.86sqm is one of just 1300 available on the popular Mornington Peninsula and is a "non-commercial and non-residential" structure used for "storing equipment", "changing facilities" and "shade and shelter".

But, despite not being permitted to live or stay in the sheds and a large portion of ones in this area having no running water, sewerage or electricity, many believe this is a "status symbol" worth the money.

'Rare' heritage beach boxes a Melbourne icon

Melbourne's beach boxes are highly sought after because of their scarcity and heritage status. Tourists come far and wide to photograph them, some use them as a backdrop for their wedding and people are willing to pay a small fortune to have one of their own.

"Best investment. Beach boxes are scarce & in demand. Family friends own one in Rye, people are always trying to buy it," one Aussie said online after seeing the advertisement.

"They tend to be owned by rich families, they're rare as hens teeth, and sell like hotcakes regardless of how ridiculous that looks if you're middle-class or lower," another said.

Beach boxes in the area range from $150,000 in some places all the way past $650,000 in others like the "rare" Boatshed 127 South Beach currently for sale in the nearby Mount Martha.

The real estate agent behind Boatshed 26, Jarrod Eastwood, told Yahoo News Australia that different strips of sheds are more exclusive than others. "This [McCrae] strip is more exclusive," he said. This is due to a number of reasons including how tightly held they are, the shops nearby, and how close it is to a patrolled swimming area, he explained.

So in demand are these finite number of sheds that in 2018, a slightly larger boatshed in Portsea, 30 minutes further south of McCrae, sold for almost $1 million — more than the median house price in Melbourne at the time.

The left image shows the outside of the shed, which is pink and red striped. The right image reveals the inside of the half a million dollar shed as bright green with pink accents.
Beach sheds are highly sought after because of how few there are and how tightly they're held on to by existing owners. Source: RealEstate.com

The price is for the shed's licence, not the land

Boatsheds and bathing boxes along the peninsula are either owned or managed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC) or by a volunteer committee. As all sit on crown land, when purchasing a shed you are not buying the land, but rather a licence from the shire or committee.

"Purchasing a boatshed or bathing box from someone else therefore means you are purchasing the rights to occupy the site subject to the same conditions as the previous licensee," MPSC stipulates in its boatshed fact file.

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