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Property inspections and on-site auctions are again off the table in Victoria, as the state enters circuit breaker restrictions to combat its latest COVID-19 outbreak.
Acting Premier James Merlino announced the restrictions at 11am on Thursday, 27 May 2021, with restrictions in place from 11:59pm of the same day.
It comes after 11 new cases of the virus were recorded overnight, bringing the outbreak’s total cases to 26.
It’s hoped the “short, sharp action” will be effective at “stopping this thing in its track”.
While the lockdown period has been set for seven days – until 11:59 on 3 June, the acting premier did express that “if we can end that sooner, we will”.
Prior to the outbreak, Victoria was ramping up for a bumper weekend of auctions, with 1,451 scheduled in Melbourne alone.
CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, called the situation “far from ideal; this week was shaping up to be the second biggest auction week so far this year”.
But, if previous lockdowns are anything to go by, he has forecast a “short and sharp impact on auction markets and the housing market … as long as the virus is contained and social distancing restrictions aren’t implemented for an extended period of time”.
He added that the impact will likely be similar with the last lockdown, “with a larger than normal proportion of vendors likely to negotiate a sale outside of the auction format or simply postpone their auction event to a later date”.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has also weighed in, acknowledging businesses as “only just getting back on their feet”.
REIV CEO Gil King acknowledged that “the Victorian government needs to get it right – it must be a short sharp lockdown”.
He echoed Mr Lawless’ sentiment that “there will be some changes to the auction numbers earlier forecast for this weekend, but we have seen before that online auctions can be a successful method of sale”.
“The Victorian property sector has been here before and will do its best to continue supporting buyers, sellers and renters.”
Mr King also took the opportunity to again criticise the Victorian government’s plan to raise stamp duty for property transactions over $2 million and make changes to land tax, stating that “all parts of Victoria’s economy are under pressure, and this is again evidence that the property sector isn’t in a position for tax hikes”.