Real estate bodies are rejoicing following the announcement that private inspections for purchase or leasing of Victorian residential properties can recommence.
Over the weekend, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the reopening of Australia’s second-largest property market, saying the new changes would come into effect from 11.59pm on Sunday, 27 September.
As part of the updated regulations, private property and display home inspections must consist of one agent and one prospective purchaser or tenant, who may be accompanied by one other person from an existing household or an intimate partner.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), who has remained vocal throughout the stage 4 lockdown, regularly commenting on its impact on the local market, was quick to issue a statement following the announcement by the premier.
“Relaxing of the restrictions that have stopped Victorians buying, selling or leasing their property will see a slow and gradual return to real estate transactions in Melbourne. This will be an enormous relief to buyers, sellers and renters alike, many of whom have been suffering severe financial and emotional stress over the past few weeks. The announcement is also welcomed by the real estate profession as it will enable the first step in the resumption of property transactions and getting people back to work doing what they do best, helping Victorians find a home,” the REIV’s statement said.
“The REIV highlighted to government the impact that the ban on inspections has had on the property market. Spring is usually the peak time for sales; however, the inability to conduct any inspections saw the number of transactions plummet. The number of auctions over August was down by over 80 per cent compared to recent years, with September numbers reduced to under 10 per week. Although virtual auctions and inspections were permitted, the reality is that most people will not purchase or lease a property sight unseen. Being able to inspect properties in a private and safe manner will enable online auctions and private sales to return.
“The REIV appreciates the engagement with Hon. Melissa Horne, Minister for Consumer Affairs, who took the industry’s feedback onboard and played an important role in developing a reopening strategy based on the information provided. Real estate agents will now be able to conduct inspections by private appointment. While we await further details regarding the second step, REIV members are prepared with all safety measures in place to ensure the market can resume in a safe and efficient manner.”
Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Adrian Kelly also responded to the news, saying the easing of restrictions “signalled an important step forward for Victoria’s property industry, the stakeholders of which had been forced to make unprecedented sacrifices across the past few weeks”.
“We commend the Victorian state government for getting the real estate sector back on a path towards normality,” he said.
“Our thoughts have been with the buyers, sellers and agents who have had their lives and livelihoods disrupted as a result of the ban on inspections.
“The REIA encourages Victorians to get in contact with their agent for property-related enquiries they may have in the wake of this development.
“We look forward to hearing the plans for the industrial and commercial sectors.”