15 November 2018

Mr Fluffy blocks across Canberra to go under the hammer next month

| Ian Bushnell
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One of the 1o23 affected sites: 18 properties from across Canberra will be auctioned on 5 December at the Hellenic Club in Phillip. File photo.

The last of the remediated Mr Fluffy blocks to be auctioned this year will go under the hammer next month, according to Colliers International.

Director Residential Land Marketing, Josh Reid said 18 blocks across Canberra would be auctioned on 5 December at the Hellenic Club in Phillip as part of the ACT Government’s Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme.

“Colliers International have been engaged to sell 422 of the more than 1000 remediated blocks that have gone on to the market in the past several years,” he said.

“We are now planning the final auction of the last bulk land release under this program.”

On offer will be sites across the city ranging in size from 632 square metres to 1846 square metres, with those over 700 square metres having dual occupancy development opportunity under Territory Plan Variation 343.

“We have multiple sites in Tuggeranong and experience to date suggests there will be strong interest in those. There are also blocks in Canberra’s popular inner south and north suburbs,” Mr
Reid said.

He said selling these sites through auction meant the process was transparent and open to all members of the public. “Any block that doesn’t sell at auction is then available over the counter,” he said.

Of the 422 blocks Colliers International had been marketing, there are just over 70 still for sale over the counter.

“Demand for these blocks reflects the fact there are very limited opportunities to purchase land and build a new home in our established suburbs,” Mr Reid said.

For auction details and to register, visit srl.colliers.com.au

According to the Asbestos Response Taskforce website, 1023 properties were affected by Mr Fluffy asbestos, with 938 demolished through the Government program and 23 privately. There have been 709 public sales. Five blocks were sold to the Government.

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I am planning to buy an old established property, which will likely contain asbestos. Is there any financial risk in buying such properties?

What does fluffy blocks mean by the way?

‘Fluffy’ asbestos is loose asbestos. The solid building material is fibro cement, which contains bonded asbestos, or at least the older material does. This is supposed to be safe if kept in good condition (such as painted) and not cut.
As for future financial risk I have no idea, but personally, I used to have a fibro house, and am pleased I have sold it. However, I think where the house is will always play a part in how much a fibro house affects the price. A fibro house in a prime spot can always be removed and replaced.

Most older properties contain some asbestos sheeting (particularly eaves, bathrooms, laundries) – but so long as it’s well painted and sealed, it doesn’t pose a risk. Just don’t take to fibro walls with a chainsaw. Mr Fluffy was a particularly dangerous form of asbestos roof insulation, but it has pretty much all been removed by us ratepayers, and any property report will disclose such.

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