In the first week of May, we were proud to record both the top auction sale price and the top private treaty sale prices in the eastern suburbs.
These came as a result of two amazing houses we sold on Victoria Street, Potts Point.
The sales illustrate the demand for this popular enclave and capture the changing face of Victoria Street.
A street with two faces: Public and private
The Darlinghurst end of Victoria Street features landmarks such as St Vincent’s Hospital and the Darlinghurst Fire Station. Other than these, however, it’s largely commercial: home to shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The Potts Point end of Victoria Street has a different persona. It’s known locally as “the Parisian end” thanks to its cosmopolitan, European vibe.
For my money, this is one of the most beautiful streets in the whole area. It boasts a quiet, established, leafy streetscape with its London Plane Trees and unexpected views of the city. It also features a character-filled selection of apartments, grand old homes and Victorian terrace houses.
Victoria Street’s history echoes the ups and downs of Potts Point over the decades. We’ve seen it surge in popularity over the past few years as buyers seek out terraces and houses in close proximity to the city.
How old is Victoria Street?
The early indicators of Victoria Street are visible on an 1830s map of the original Crown Grants. This was an era when grand villas dotted the ridge along Darlinghurst Road.
The land on which Victoria Street stands cuts through original colonial land grants given to seven men, and many of their surnames, along with the names of their grand villa-style homes, are still familiar today. Victoria Street sliced through land owned by J Dowling (whose house was called Brougham), E Hallen, JM Baxter (of Springfield), J Stephens (Orwell), AB Sparks (Tusculum), J Busby (Rockwall) and H Douglas (Challis).
Progressively, from the 1840s til the 1920s, these landholdings were subdivided into smaller parcels, including the Tusculum Estate, Tusculum Mansion, Rockwall, Brougham Lodge, Challis Estate, and Orwell House Estate.
A surveyor’s map dated 15 June 1887 shows the Northern side of the Potts Point end of Victoria Street in great detail. Many of the homes visible, such as 99 Victoria Street, still stand today, giving the area its unique charm and irreplaceable atmosphere.
But although these homes may look unchanged, they’ve often had a long and interesting history. Many were grand freestanding homes that were converted into flats or commercial premises. It’s only recently that demand from residential buyers has seen them converted back to single residences again.
A streetscape saved
There was a time after the Second World War that much of Sydney was marked for demolition. One of the key things that helped save and retain the character of Victoria Street, Potts Point – and the inner city generally – was the green bans of the 1970s.
Back then, developer Frank Theeman had plans to remodel and build apartments on Victoria Street. However, community protests ensued and, in 1973, the NSWBLF placed a green ban on Victoria Street. This was an attempt to preserve the streetscape and retain a larger proportion of low-income housing stock in what had become an inner-city, working-class residential area.
By this time, many of the abandoned, boarded-up houses on Victoria Street were occupied by squatters or the homeless, who lived in them without power, water or gas.
In 1975, the battle for Victoria Street reached its climax with the disappearance of Juanita Nielsen. An heiress to the Mark Foy’s department store fortune, Nielsen published the alternative newspaper NOW. Through its pro-preservation stance, she had become the face of Victoria Street’s anti-development protests.
Nielsen was last sighted drinking at the Carousel Bar. Her home, at 202 Victoria Street, is listed under the State Heritage Act. She purchased it in 1968, but it was built in the 1850s.
Attracting a different crowd
Victoria Street has always had an artistic and bohemian atmosphere. Over the past few decades, many of Victoria Street’s grand old houses were converted into backpackers’ hostels, bringing further diversity to the area. Some still remain – although there are signs that this is gradually changing.
While Victoria Street used to have a little bit of the nightlife that made Kings Cross a destination, the closure of bars like Soho (in the Piccadilly Hotel redevelopment) has brought a different dynamic and demographic to the street. There is a renewed focus on dining, with destination restaurants such as The Butler and Mrs G’s.
Victoria Street today
Over recent times, Victoria Street, and the whole area, have become more residential and less commercial. We’ve seen strong buyer demand for large houses in this area, with many willing to remodel, alongside developer interest in potential sites for small developments and boutique hotels.
We’re aware of at least six homes being renovated in the street, and people want to create a beautiful residential property close to the city.
Increasingly, we’re seeing buyers push prices up, competing for a slice of inner-city lifestyle on Victoria Street. This has helped transform it from a back street of Kings Cross into a residential hub.
The two record-breaking homes
99 Victoria Street sold at auction in May 2023. Offering enormous potential and a flexible layout with six bedrooms, two bathrooms and parking for two cars, it was a rare opportunity to own a centrally located piece of Potts Point history. Three registered bidders fought it out, and after a starting offer of $5 million, bids rose in $50,000 increments. The home sold for $6 million, the highest Eastern Suburbs auction that week.
We’re seeing Victoria Street’s 1800s terraces remodelled into the finest homes on the market, a trend epitomised by the May 2023 sale of 152 Victoria Street for $10.6 million.
This stunningly renovated Victorian terrace was originally constructed in c1885 and freshly refurbished from top to bottom with an architectural renovation. This resulted in four ensuite bedrooms, a media room, gorgeous indoor/outdoor living spaces and a double garage. We had two very keen buyers, and the deal was completed in just two weeks. It was the highest private treaty sale that week in Sydney’s east.
Other recent sales on Victoria Street include:
1/111 Victoria Street is a two-bedroom flat conversion within a grand Victorian terrace, offering light, bright interiors and a two-level layout with exposed sandstone and additional living spaces. It sold for $2.85 million in March 2023.
164 Victoria Street, a 6-metre wide frontage on 230 square metres, meant this majestic five-bedroom Victorian terrace offered so much potential when it sold for $4.8 million in October 2022.
200 Victoria Street, a circa 1855 terrace house in an unbeatable location, this surprisingly spacious and character-filled three-bedroom property sold for $1.438 million in July 2022.