Lockouts Are Driving Up High End Property Demand In King Cross

In news that will come as a surprise to few, demand for high end property in Kings Cross is reportedly on the rise following the institution of Sydney’s Lockout Laws.

According to Domain, baby boomers and young families from elite suburbs as Woollhara and Paddington are flooding into the former nightlife precinct with the closure of many of the famous areas bars and nightclubs paving the way for gentrification to the joy of real estate agents and property investors.

“They used to choose Woollahra, even Darling Point, but now they can have the convenience of the city and the nightlife, and noise is disappearing. These are people who have sold big houses in the east and can afford something luxe in the Cross,” Simon Polito of Laing Real Estate told the publication.

“You are seeing a whole new demographic of people moving into the area,” he added. “It used to be prostitutes on corners, now it’s people pushing prams.”

The real boon for agents though are the big money buyers, as Jason Boon (no pun intended) of Richardson and Wrench Elizabeth Bay, who deals mostly with sales over $2 million, can attest to. According to Boon, following the imposition of the lockouts, buyers have been expressing more interest in living “close to the Coke sign”.

“Terraces in streets like Bayswater, Springfield – they are selling much better now, there used to be a stigma living in a terrace in the Cross,” he said, adding that “in another year, we won’t recognise the place.”

Meanwhile, Shannan Whitney, of BresicWhitney, believes the full effects of the lockouts are yet to be seen, implying prices may soon be rising sky high.

“People are saying ‘Kings Cross is not what it was before, so yes I will spend $3 or $4 million’. There is now more broad appeal, so not perhaps just young people who can live with the noise and grittiness, now there is probably a deeper appreciation in the upper-end market.”

Forcing the closure of numerous venues and bars such as Hugos Lounge and many more, as well as other nightlife dependent businesses such as Kings Cross cafe Piccolo Bar and Oxford Street’s iconic 24hr Newsagencey, the last two years of the laws have left an indelible mark on the city.

While small business owners are forced to close their doors and young people are evicted from rental properties to vacate them for sale, it looks like yet another desirable suburb is being turned into an enclave for wealthy elites.

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Despite the recent protests of Reclaim The Streets and even the support, sort of, of US President Barack Obama, lockout style restrictions are already spreading to Newtown, and there are concerns they could be introduced statewide.

And while you, like us, may be wondering where the government plans to push the city’s late night culture next (if they just don’t institute a curfew for anyone who earns under $75k a year), cashed up homebuyers are swooping in and buying up property in the once thriving entertainment centre.

As the future of the city’s nightlife stands in the balance and the future remains unclear, one thing is clear – as Sydney’s nightlife suffers, the real estate agents and property owners thrive.

Commenting on the article by Domain, local activist movement Keep Sydney Open, who are dedicated to having the lockout repealed, observed the sad irony of the current rise in real estate demand driven by dying nightlife.

“People are enticed to live in the inner-city by the buzz and excitement of young, creative communities… then promptly kill it off. Well done!”

Join the fight against the lockouts by liking Keep Sydney Open’s Facebook page and signing their petition for their repeal, the text of which you can read in full below.

To: Premier Mike Baird

We urge you to remove the lockouts which have damaged business, culture, personal freedom and Sydney’s reputation.

The signatories here agree that the city’s streets should be safer, however we disagree that the way to do this is by locking people out of music venues.

With the decrease in foot-traffic outstripping the decrease in assaults, we question the success of the lockouts. When one factors in the business closures, job losses and increased crime in neighbouring areas, we wonder if they might in fact be a failure.

We demand smarter solutions — a holistic and lateral approach to preventing assaults which examines transport, CCTV, tougher sentencing, density and diversity of licensed premises, the role of security personnel, culture as a placating tool and the tendency towards violence among certain groups of individuals.

The music community and law-abiding citizens are not the right people to punish for assaults on the street. Well-run venues are safe and they make a large contribution to our reputation as one of the world’s great entertainment cities.

Safety is a goal shared by everyone. It’s important to remember that the main beneficiaries are the very people who wish to go out. We believe that safety and late-night socialising aren’t mutually exclusive. With considered, innovative policies we can achieve a desired outcome together and Keep Sydney Open.

Why is this important?

The NSW Government has introduced new laws that close Sydney’s music clubs to new guests at 1.30am and ban selling alcoholic drinks after 3am.

The 2am lockout in Victoria was cancelled after independent auditor KPMG found it had not helped to address street level violence. The Queensland 3am lockout and 5am closures were shown by the Queensland Auditor-General to be a $10 million failure.

The senseless deaths of two young men in Kings Cross started a poignant and overdue conversation about street safety, but we have lost sight of the facts. A night out in Sydney isn’t an orgy of violence, and for an international city of over 4 million people, assaults are not a catastrophic epidemic. The overwhelming majority of people enjoy a fun, incident-free time, and this is a tribute to tighter RSA measures that had already been implemented by venues. This is supported by BOCSAR which found a 37% reduction in assaults from 2007-2012 and a further 26% reduction from 2012-2013 without lockouts. That said, we believe there is still some way to go.

Keep Sydney Open comprises members of the music community including MusicNSW, SLAM, GoodGod Small Club, Oxford Art Factory, The Oxford Hotel,, inthemix, Freda’s and The Music Network. We represent music venues, bands, DJs, performers, promoters, the music media and law-abiding Sydneysiders who wish to enjoy a night out.

Please sign the petition, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and share among your friends. In doing so you will help us tell the NSW government that we need innovative solutions that consider culture, jobs, business and tourism alongside personal safety and freedom.

We’ll keep making your voice heard until we get safer streets in a global city.

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