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Road map out of COVID restrictions laid out for Melbourne's real estate industry

08 September 2020

The Victorian Premier this week laid out plans for the Melbourne real estate sector to fully open with COVID safety measures from November 23.

There may also be scope for real estate agents to hold private inspections and small outdoor auctions if the state can get its COVID numbers down substantially enough by October 26.

In the meantime, for the spring selling season, online property inspections will be the way they are conducted.

Unfortunately, until that October 26 mark point, only property settlement services and the commencement or ceasing of leases will be allowed.

The announcement was part of the Premier’s five-step road map out of the city’s stage four lockdowns.

It is hoped that with no new cases for 14 days, restrictions will be able to be lifted on November 23 to allow the retail and real estate industries to open with safety measures.

As for the construction industry, caps will remain on the number of workers and sites visited across major projects, new home renovations and new developments which will be lifted gradually as the levels of restriction continue to ease.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria are unhappy about the road map plans and say real estate agents should be able to run private inspections sooner.

“Private inspections are far safer than going to the supermarket,” REIV chief executive Gil King told Domain.

 “No one watches me there and wipes down the Corn Flakes packet that I pick up and then return to the shelf.”

REIV president Leah Calnan said the suffering was right across the industry.

“These decisions compound the financial stress on Victorians and the Victorian economy and do nothing to help those suffering during these difficult times,” she told Domain.

The road map announcement this week has divided opinion, with the Property Council’s Mike Zorbas welcoming the announcements.

“Victorians simply cannot afford an endless cycle of easing and tightening restrictions on the industry, and we must all play our part and be vigilant about safe reopening at every stage,” he said.

“The economy won’t recover as long as people who should be in work boots and hi-vis are at home in tracksuit pants.

 “We also seek the acceleration of the forecast economic stimulus where it will create the most jobs. It takes months for construction and real estate businesses to access government relief schemes; stimulus measures need to be brought forward immediately.”

Auction numbers in Melbourne have now ground down to virtually zero as the city is deep into its extended lockdown period.

This weekend, just one auction was called in greater Melbourne, and only nine are forecast for next Saturday.

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