- Posted By Prince Lakshman
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced the easing of some strict COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne including real estate private inspections ahead of schedule.
Property buyers and renters will now be able to inspect homes one-on-one, provided COVID-19 safety protocols are followed starting 11:59pm Sunday, 27 September 2020.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria, who pushed hard for the real estate sector to re-open, is among the many groups welcoming this good news.
The REIV believes this will be a huge relief to buyers, sellers and renters alike, many of whom have experienced COVID-19 financial hardship and emotional turmoil over the past few months.
Despite the fact that virtual auctions and inspections have been allowed, buyers and tenants have been hesitant to purchase or lease a property without personally seeing it.
Further, the REIV confirmed that those looking for a new home will be able to travel farther than five kilometres from home to inspect a property across the city.
While buyers and renters can travel farther from home, Melbourne residents will not be allowed to travel to regional Victoria to inspect properties, however.
Public auctions are still banned, but can be conducted online.
Strict stage 4 restrictions, in place since early August, meant one-on-one inspections were banned, which essentially shut down the Melbourne market and heavily affected sales in regional Victoria.
REIV President Leah Calnan said it was encouraging to see the plight of many Victorians unable to make property decisions has been reconsidered by the Government.
“This decision is recognition that the real estate profession can be trusted to conduct inspections in a safe and responsible manner. We have done so previously, and will continue to do so for the benefit of all Victorians,” Ms Calnan said.
The peak industry body was seeking clarity on whether commercial properties could also be inspected and if photographers and other ancillary services were permitted.
Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia president Cate Bakos said it was good news for buyers and sellers, and agents would be ready to hit the road to try and meet pent-up demand.
Another group who welcomes the easing of restrictions are the first-home buyers who wish to purchase a home using the federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. Buyers who wanted to take advantage of this scheme had until November to find a home.
According to Property Council of Australia Victorian executive director Cressida Wall, the decision only shows the significance of the real estate industry to jobs and the economy.
“We applaud the Victorian Government’s decision to bring forward the return of real estate activity,” Ms Wall said.
“Our members have bent over backwards to show how we can do this work safely and we’re glad the state government has listened.
“The decision will protect thousands of jobs and help create a pipeline of construction activity.”
The last step on the road map — to apply from when the state has no new cases for two weeks — will allow real estate to operate with “safety measures and record keeping”.