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The Victorian government has announced its intentions for a more lenient policy on house inspections and construction as its lockdown continues.
Due to the ongoing level of community transmission and the continued increase of COVID-19 cases across the state, Victoria’s chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton has now declared that the state-wide lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. At current vaccination rates, this milestone should be reached around 23 September 2021.
Once the vaccination goal is achieved, the government aims to ease restrictions, including those pertaining to the housing sector.
For one, private in-person inspections of unoccupied premises for a new purchase or end of lease will be permitted, but only one household may attend at one time. The agent must stay outdoors during the inspection.
Further, Victoria’s construction workforce will be able to increase to 50 per cent once 90 per cent of their workers have received at least one vaccine dose.
On-street auctions, however, remain banned for the time being.
This announcement comes after industry groups have repeatedly slammed the government for ‘unnecessary’ bans on the housing sector.
According to Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) CEO Gil King, private inspections are critical for Victorian renters, buyers and the health of the property sector, and are “free from any significant risk”.
“Lockdown regulations that ban property inspection by private appointment have a crippling effect on the property sector, impacting renters, aspiring homeowners and mum and dad investors,” according to Mr King.
Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Adrian Kelly has also called for equal opportunities for states on lockdown, citing the “unfair advantage” of NSW, where private one-on-one inspections are allowed.
As such, Mr Kelly urged the government to address the consequences of the ongoing lockdowns and put a stop to the “fractured approach to policy-making across states and territories”.
“Every Australian needs access to the same options when it comes to housing. We [need to] put in place risk-based, pragmatic rules that are consistent across Australia so housing continues to function for the benefit of home buyers, owners, tenants and investors,” he concluded.
Real estate is a type of real property that refers to any land and its permanent improvement or structures that come with it, whether natural or man-made.