Kings Cross’ lockout laws are here to stay, which means one of the less-desired addresses in Australia is set to become one of the most sought after.
The former red light district’s reputation as one of Sydney’s seedier areas meant it was never top of the list of suburbs to live in or to move to.
But since the lockout laws were introduced in 2014, Kings Cross and surrounding areas have left their night life ways behind to embrace a more liveable and cosmopolitan feel.
That will only continue after a NSW parliamentary inquiry last month declared the controversial lock out laws will be retained in the Cross, putting an end to any chance of the area recapturing its crown as the heart of Sydney’s night life.
That ensures the area is set to become one of the most desirable districts in the Harbour City due to a number of factors — leading it to being dubbed Australia’s ‘new Soho’ – an area akin to its famous ‘namesakes’ in New York City or London.
Those areas have enjoyed a revitalisation through gentrification, and as a result, property values improved considerably.
Elizabeth Bay, which borders Kings Cross to the east, is one area already enjoying a dramatic surge in popularity.
Unit prices there have risen an incredible 24 per cent rise, year-on-year to the end of July, as much of the rest of the market continued to fall before the very recent upswing.
Nearby the more affordable Darlinghurst, where the median unit price is $932,500, compared to Elizabeth Bay’s $1.11 million, prices increased 6.9 per cent.
Over the same period the median home price in Sydney fell by 4.8 per cent, and this came before the future of the lockout laws were confirmed.
Jason Boon, a Director at Richardson and Wrench Elizabeth Bay/Potts Point has been selling real estate in the area for more than two decades and is ideally placed to talk about its future.
“To give you a correlation, Elizabeth Bay is like Bronte to Bondi, you’re not far from the action,” Mr Boon said.
“It’s in the middle of the triangle, of the beach, the city and the airport. It’s right in the thick of it all. It’s close to the city but not in the city. People don’t want to get in their cars. “Around Kings Cross and Potts Point, they don’t have to do that and they can still have a view of the harbour, to the beaches and to The Heads.”
The Cross has changed, but it is for the better.
“The face of the area is changing. It’s the New Soho of Australia. It’s always been eclectic and still is but it’s becoming more relevant,” Mr Boon said.
“With the lockout laws it has become more relevant. (Sydney Lord Mayor) Clover Moore has helped to change the area.
Mayor Moore she has changed the parks, lit them up with smart poles like (former mayor Rudy) Giuliani did in New York.
“Now that Kings Cross has changed everyone wants to come here. You only have to look at the buildings that have been built here and are being planned.
“The part still to change is the Kings Cross strip. There are a lot of developments planned there. It will be the biggest change in property in Australia. It will be a whole different strip. It will be very cosmopolitan.”
The area has already developed a well-known and well-respected food scene that continues to grow, and boutiques and galleries are also increasingly proliferate in the area.
Buyer’s agent Simon Cohen of Cohen Handler saw the potential in Kings Cross and its surrounds when he bought into the area three years ago.
“It’s a great area,” he said.
“It’s close to the city, full of cafes and restaurants. It’s a very desirable area. You can enjoy city living there with water views, so it is very unique. Ever since it started getting cleaned up it is a different place.”
Mr Cohen’s clients have also identified the area as hot property.
“A lot of our clients want to be there and if they can afford it, we suggest they do.
“It’s a great investment — you get great returns and great tenants — and it’s a great area to live.
“There is such great demand. People from all stages of life love it. It’s very sought after, there’s not a lot of stock so it can be hard to get into.”
Penthouses in Potts Point are in considerably high demand. Mr Boon said they can sell for around $35-40,000 per square metre as opposed to the rest of Sydney which averages around $20,000 per square metre.
For those who aren’t in the market for a penthouse, or even super contemporary living, there are also a number of beautiful art deco buildings and Victorian terraces in the area. And even though the night life has calmed, it still exists.
First National Real Estate CEO Ray Ellis said he could also understand the lure the area.
“Potts Point is a groovy area,” he said.
“It is tightly held, it’s expensive to buy into. But you can get good rental returns and a lot of people want to live there.”