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A town of cyclones, iron ore and wild property prices

It lacks the beaches. It doesn’t have an Opera House. And every couple of years a cyclone sweeps through the area.

But, just a few years ago, the median price for a house in the Pilbara city of Karratha in the far north-west of Western Australia eclipsed that of Sydney.

Karratha in north-west WA: In 2014, the median house price was $820,000; today it's closer to $340,000

Karratha in north-west WA: In 2014, the median house price was $820,000; today it’s closer to $340,000Credit:Aaron Bunch

The epicentre of a decade-long resources boom, Karratha is an example of what happens when a housing boom really turns to bust.

In 2001, the median house price was $200,000 in this isolated part of WA. Seven years later it had reached $700,000, before inching its way to $820,000 in the March quarter of 2014. Sydney’s median that quarter was $790,000.

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