The strong-willed owners of a highly-valuable piece of land in the middle of a new-build development still refuse to sell, despite reportedly being offered up to $40-million plus for the block.
For decades, the intensely private Zammit family have been the proud owners of a sprawling 20,000 sqm property in Quakers Hill, in Sydney’s west.
The five-acre property home slices through a massive block of the new development, abruptly turning through-roads into cul-de-sacs, with homes wedged up hard against the home’s boundary fence.
It boasts breathtaking views across to the Blue Mountains with the spectacular Newnes Plateau visible in the distance, but is just 40 minutes drive from the CBD.
But while all their old neighbours gradually sold up and moved out, the Zammit family has held on and refused to sell, despite being offered millions.
This determination was recently tested when it was reported developers offered the family $40million to sell up and move out, with local developers Bathla keen to finish construction work on the estate.
The Quakers Hill home stands on 1.99 hectares and has a majestic, Windsor Castle-style, 200m-long driveway cutting through the huge lawn to the front door
The Zammits are an extremely private family and have refused to discuss the offers they’ve been made to move out.
However, the family have admitted the land is unrecognisable from when they moved in 16 years ago.
‘It used to be farmland dotted with little red brick homes and cottages,’ mother Diane Zammit, 50, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Every home was unique, and there was so much space – but not any more. It’s just not the same.’
Stunning aerial images have emerged of the home, and show the huge changes in the area since the family moved in two decades ago.
Incredible photos show the transformation of the block over the years, which was once surrounded by farmland
Developers gradually brought up the surrounding blocks of land, but the intensely private Zammit family refused to sell
The home is now slap bang in the middle of a new-build development in The Ponds area near Quakers Hill which has seen thousands of high-density detached homes spring up
Australian buyers agent Ella Cas, 22, said the lot was worth so much because it could be divided into 46 or 56 lots depending on how conservative or ‘greedy’ the developer was.
The average lot size in the area is 300sqm, with each selling for about $780,000.
‘So if developed, the revenue would be conservatively $35.8million or $43.68 million dollars if I’m a Sydney developer,’ Ms Cas explains.
‘This doesn’t even include development cost, and already you have not made back the $50 million dollars you spent on the land.’
Neighbouring blocks of land sold for up to $239/sqm in 2012 – which would have valued the Zammits’ five-acre property at around $4.75million 10 years ago
The buyer’s agent told Daily Mail Australia that she encouraged investors to buy land because while a home depreciates in value, land appreciates.
‘It does 80 per cent of the heavy lifting when it comes to capital growth,’ she said.
Australian buyers agent Ella Cas, 22, said the lot was worth so much because it could be divided into 46 or 56 sections
Ms Cas said she had met several farmers who decades ago bought their homes for ‘pennies’ only to become millionaires when they sold 20 years later.
‘It’s surprising they stay living there,’ she said of the Zammit family’s refusal to sell.
She said the minimum lot size has been reduced by almost half, which was good for the supply and affordability of homes but meant people would have less space.
In Lalor Park, in Sydney’s west, the average lot size is about 550 to 600sqm while those being constructed in new build estates in Quakers Hill are just 300sqm.
‘People want decent land so they can build a detached house,’ Ms Cas said.
Quakers Hill is located approximately 40-minutes away from the Sydney CBD
Walter Nanni, a buyers agent with iBuy Property Buyers Agency, that the family was likely offered between $35 to $40million
He told Daily Mail Australia that many families who lived in the Quakers Hill area were known for being ‘stubborn’.
In 2019, Mr Nanni bid on a block across the road from the Zammit family home, which ultimately sold to another bidder for $27million.
Mr Nanni was bidding on behalf of a client, a syndicate of four to five men, but pulled out when the bidding surpassed $25million.
He said five or six siblings were selling the lot after their parents sadly died.
‘I realised that the guy standing next to me was one of the owners, so I shook his hand and congratulated him for the sale,’ he said.
‘He told me that it was 10 years they’d be going at it, trying to sell the place.’
The man said his siblings had spend a decent amount of money in litigation, with his siblings unable to come to an agreement about the sale, with some arguing they should sub-divide the property or hold onto it for a while longer.
‘Now we’re seeing double,’ he said in reference to the $50million offer.
‘They’ve held onto it for a long, long time with the understanding that the longer they wait, the more money they’ll make.’
Mr Nanni said he is familiar with the man who owns the surrounding blocks, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if he had made an offer on the Zammit home.
‘It would be like connecting the dots for him,’ he said.
‘He could connect it all up and make it into a massive development site.’
The Zammit’s property is believed to have more than five bedrooms and boasts a large triple garage for the family’s cars, including a classic Ford Falcon XR6, and a basketball court
The home is slap bang in the middle of a new-build development in The Ponds area near Quakers Hill which has seen thousands of high-density detached homes spring up
The Zammit’s property is believed to have more than five bedrooms and boasts a large triple garage for the family’s cars, including a classic Ford Falcon XR6, alongside a makeshift basketball court.
Its massive but neatly-trimmed lawn takes around two and a half hours to mow, with the couple’s young son regularly tasked with the epic job.
The home is surrounded by around 750m of fencing to hold back the burgeoning and ongoing construction work erupting around them.
The home is surrounded by around 750m of fencing to hold back the burgeoning and ongoing construction work erupting around them
Their very-many neighbours have almost all moved into the area within the past year and have had little to do with the reclusive family, but said they were always friendly.
‘I will wave to them when I see them outside and they always wave back, but I don’t really speak to them,’ admitted one whose home directly overlooks the property.
‘I’m very happy they’ve refused to sell – it means we have a cul-de-sac which is much safer for our kids – and their big lawn makes it feel like we’ve got so much space.
‘Our neighbours don’t get that because the other houses are so close together. We’re very grateful! I hope they stay.’