They were synonomous with the Sydney property boom — derelict houses demanding multi-million dollar price tags — and there was no shortage of buyers ready to pounce.
But as the market cools — highlighted by the NSW State Government announcing a $865 million drop in stamp duty receipts — and prices drop, the question remains; is there still an appetite for the inner-city Sydney "blank canvas"?
A house, in the inner-city suburb of Glebe, could be the litmus test.
Although there is no set reserve price, the ABC understands the vendor of the property on Darling Street in Glebe, which is a deceased estate, and up for auction tomorrow morning, is expecting prices well above $1 million.
Described as a "blank canvas", the property is only a 25-mintue walk to Sydney's Town Hall, and is the definition of a "fixer-upper".
The "bathroom" — if it could be called that — is outside while the roof is exposed. The "backyard" looks more like a inner-city war zone, while inside wallpaper is falling away and there are holes in the floorboards.
Despite its derelict state, Ray White agent Mark Constantine, who is selling the property, said there had been "plenty" of interest.
He said a property such as this had not been up for auction for many years, and this type of "blank canvas" was becoming rarer.
Although similar sales in the area suggest a cooling market, the estimates of more than $1 million may not be far off.
"It's definitely going to be a litmus test for the area," Mr Constantine said.
Where's the market at?
"It's obviously not liveable. But we've had lots of interest from builders and the like who want something like this to build there own home from scratch."
According to a report by property analysis firm SQM Research released last month, Sydney prices are tipped to fall by as much as 4 per cent this year.
And both Sydney and Melbourne property markets are overvalued by at least 45 per cent, based on its "comparison of nominal aggregate incomes to housing prices", the research paper found.
However, according to property analysis firm CoreLogic, Sydney's median dwelling value is $875,816 — a figure which includes both houses and apartments. But the median house price remains well above $1 million. Melbourne's median property value is $720,433.
At the height of Sydney's property boom, inner-city "blank canvases" were seen by many as the epitome of the over-valued excess defining the Harbour City's property market.
A house in the inner-east suburb of Surry Hills famously sold for $2.11 million in April last year — a time when Sydney's house prices hit their peak.
Described by real estate agent BresicWhitney as; "dilapidated enough to deter any dreamers, so the true romantics shouldn't miss this", and a "project home to suit the true visionaries".
Online searches of similar recent sales in the Glebe area, which is on the other side of Sydney's CBD, suggest finding a home in the area for less than $1 million is tough going.