Your own slice of sand: Brighton beach box to go under the hammer
Bathing box 85, Dendy beach, Brighton
Looking for somewhere to park your beach ball? You could be in luck because a tiny slice of paradise is up for grabs.
An iconic Brighton bathing box is scheduled to go to auction next month, a rare opportunity to snap up a colourful beachside shack. It is one of 82 brightly-painted wooden sheds that stretch along a picturesque strip of Dendy Street Beach.
The sandy patch of coastline is home to some of the city’s most exclusive and, on a square metre basis, expensive real estate.
Gone are the days when a sunburnt fisherman could lay claim to a wooden box for a few hundred dollars. This niche property market is now fetching top dollar.
The real estate agency handling the auction, Marshall White, has quoted a price range of between $250,000 and $270,000. The record price for a Dendy Street bathing box was set last December, when a newly-built box sold for $326,000.
While Bayside council has periodically built and sold new boxes in recent years, it is rare for existing boxes to hit the market. They are tightly held, often passed down through generations.
In this case, a Brighton family have owned number 60 – a blue, yellow and white striped box – for many years.
Bathing boxes can only be sold to a local ratepayer, and there are strict rules outlining what the boxes can (and cannot) be used for.
No service amenities can be connected. That means no electricity for beachside barbecues or water for outdoor showers or toilet facilities.
It is also prohibited to camp out for the night in a beach box, or use them for any sort of accommodation. So, that’s a no to renting one out on AirBnB.
Put simply, these colourful timber boxes are for storing fishing gear and deck chairs, and sheltering from the sun on a scorching day at the beach.
Listing agent Barb Gregory, once a proud owner of a beach box, said they were part of the fabric of Brighton. She has auctioned a handful of them in recent years, mostly to families with young children.
“I’ve been in a situation where somebody sitting on the beach has realised what’s going on and jumped up and grabbed one,” she said.
Three decades ago, Ms Gregory and her friends pooled their money together and paid $3200 for a beach box. With the benefit of hindsight, she said, she regretted selling it a few years later.
“It’s an iconic, world-famous opportunity.”
Just a few square metres in size, bathing boxes are an expensive addition to one’s property portfolio. On top of purchasing and maintenance costs, owners have to pay about $1650 each year in licensing fees and council rates.
The auction will be held on Saturday, December 2 at 3.30pm.