Yes, the Australian property market is fucked. No, you probably won’t ever be able to afford a place of your own—unless you move to Japan, squat for 12 years, or shoehorn your whole life into a house the size of a horse float. Maybe you’ve weighed up every one of these options, and maybe you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll be renting for the rest of your life. Whichever way you cut it, the outlook, it seems, is bleak.
But what about caves? Have you thought about caves? Because there’s a cave in outback NSW that’s just gone on market for a cool $14,000. And it could actually be the cheapest home in Australia.
The “dugout” in question is located in the small, ex-opal mining town of White Cliffs, about 250 kilometres northeast of Broken Hill and 1,000 kilometres northwest of Sydney. It’s a “Unique opportunity”, according to Jeffrey, the current owner and the man who listed the property for sale on Gumtree. A “rare dugout site partially developed. Electricity available, [and] water connected.”
It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, according to Realestate.com, and would likely require some work before it’s at a habitable standard. Importantly, though, it’s also about 32 times cheaper than the average property in the state.
What’s more, the dugout is fitted with five ventilation shafts to keep the place cool, Seven West Media reports—an attractive feature in a place that reaches temperatures as high as 45 degrees. Not happy with the amount of space? Jeffrey says that “you can [just] dig yourself another room” by burrowing deeper into the cliffside. Maybe you’ll even strike a fortune while you’re renovating.
White Cliffs was the first commercial opal field in Australia, and since 1894 the residents have been converting disused mine shafts in the area into underground hovels. Most people living in these dugouts are prospectors or amateur miners. If you’re willing to pack up and head to the outback, that could easily be you.
“Create your own underground home in one of the richest opal producing fields in White Cliffs,” Jeffrey’s ad beckons. “Could be opal.”
There's also probably not opal in there, though. There's probably just a cave that even Jesus wouldn't be caught dead in, and which happens to be the most affordable property in Australia.