Highs & Lows Of Owning A Glebe Terrace

Glebe’s Terrace Houses are a charming reminder of Sydney’s past but  owning and renovating one comes with many hurdles.

Glebe Terrace HousesAccording to the Australian Council of National Trusts, the Sydney inner west suburb of Glebe “possesses probably the largest stock of Victorian cottages and terraces, grouped in the same townscape, to be found in Australia. On recognition of its value the National Trust has declared Glebe to be an essential component of the nation’s architectural and historic heritage.”

Between the 1850s and 1890s, rows and rows of terrace houses were built in Glebe to accommodate the population boom caused by the Gold Rush as well as to house the growing population living and working in Sydney’s Inner West.

The building of these Victorian terraced houses in Glebe came to a standstill as the Great Depression hit with many of the homes falling into decline during the early part of the 20th century. By the 1960s, Glebe’s Victorian cottages and terraces received a much needed renewed appreciation and Glebe became one of the first suburbs in Australia to undergo gentrification.

This gentrification and the protection of Glebe’s architectural heritage continues today. Peter Shield of Ray white Erskineville says, “The supply of terraces just can’t keep up with demand now,” as many developers and home renovators flock to make part of Sydney’s rich history their home.

Fence of Glebe Terrace HouseHowever, many of the reasons why we love terrace houses are the same reasons to buy and renovate with caution. Principal of the architectural practice MCK, Mark Cashman, believes that renovating an old terrace can cost upwards of $6000 a square metre. This means that is incredibly important to have a specialist carry out a Building and Pest Inspection. You wouldn’t want those charming period features to come back to haunt you!

Common Problems in Sydney’s Victorian Terrace Houses

  • Sharing walls with neighbours can lead to structural problems – their problem may become yours over time.
  • Lack of ventilation and heat circulation causes damp which leads to mould, crumbling mortar and render.
  • Rotting timbers can cause structural damage and may attract pests and termites.
  • Neglected cast iron verandahs can become unusable.
  • Crumbling chimneys.
  • Galvanised iron roofs can rust and cause leakages.
  • Termites and Wood borers are attracted to the areas below terrace houses as ventilation is poor down there.
  • Lead based paints and arsenic used for wood stains.
  • Important to know what building materials have been added over the life of the terrace house.

After your Building and Pest Inspection is completed, you will have an understanding of the works needed to bring your beautiful terrace into line with the other renovated terraces in your row. Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam wrote, “few places in Australia are richer in history than the inner-Sydney suburb of Glebe,” and who wouldn’t want to own a piece of this history?

James McKinnon has over 25 years of experience and with 4000+ property inspections under his belt since joining the Inspect My Home team, he has developed a following in Inner West Sydney region. Give us a call on 02 9130 2499 or simply Book Online.

Photos by andrea castelli, Phil Whitehouse & Nicolas Boullosa