The sale of the Annandale Hotel to a private buyer indicates more owner-operators are returning to the sector.

In the past, the pub sector had fallen into disarray as properties were bought by investors at inflated prices. These owners were not publicans and many of the businesses felt the pressure from poor management. They were then sold at low prices to repay the debt.

Oxford Commercial hotels director Adam Spencer-Carr said it was encouraging to see these operators return, adding that John Singleton had climbed on board, with the Laundy and Short families also active.

”More investors are looking at hotels as genuine cash-flow propositions,” Mr Spencer-Carr said. ”These operators are entering the freehold pub sector in recognition of the intrinsic value of the hotel licence.”

Another recent sale was the East Sydney Hotel, which was bought by the Marsden family for about $3 million.

”In the case of East Sydney, accommodation revenue played a key role in the marketing of the hotel,” Mr Spencer-Carr said.

”There is an increasing level of inquiry from non-core hotel operators who are keen to exploit the lack of well-priced short-term accommodation within close proximity to rail and bus links.”

Other recent sales included the Dry Dock Hotel at Balmain to a private investor, while the Kurrajong at Erskineville, the Henson Park Hotel at Marrickville, and the Buckland in Alexandria were also bought by private owner-operators.

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