Victoria has opened the floodgates on the Melbourne property market by lifting restrictions on inspections and display suites.
The changes to the second step of Melbourne’s “roadmap to reopening” allow real estate services to conduct private inspections by appointment, which was originally scheduled to happen at the end of October.
This follows weeks of subdued activity in the Melbourne property market and only 60 properties head to auction at a clearance rate of 28.6 per cent over the weekend.
Spring is usually the peak time for sales, however “the reality is that most people will not purchase or lease a property sight unseen” and the number of August auctions was down by more than 80 per cent compared to recent years, according to a statement by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
This could all change with the lifting of lockdown coupled with lending reforms which are expected to fire up the metropolitan market.
Buyers in Melbourne will have more access to mortgages, and those buying off the plan will also have access to HomeBuilder and the first home owner incentive.
REIV president Leah Calnan said the inspection changes are an enormous relief to buyers, sellers and renters alike, many of whom have been suffering severe financial and emotional stress during the past few weeks.
“It is encouraging to see that the plight of many Victorians who were unable to make decisions about their own property 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,” Calnan said.
The real estate industry has been calling for changes to the government’s “roadmap to Covid-normal” which would have seen inspections banned until the end of October.
Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria is even further ahead than had been hoped, and is on track to hit single digits in the next few weeks.
“Those same projections have enabled us to make a few small changes to our second step,” Andrews said.
“Our move to the third and last steps will no longer be defined by dates in the calendar.
“Instead, the trigger point, for review by our public health team, will be based solely on reaching our case number targets.”
Real estate agents, along with prospective purchasers or tenants, accompanied by one other person will be allowed on properties or in display suites.
However, travel between regional and metropolitan areas is not permitted.
Andrews also confirmed that large-scale construction projects can increase their limit to 85 per cent of the baseline workforce, or 15 workers; and small-scale construction contractors can move up to five sites a week, with a two-site per day maximum.
While early-stage land development projects will ease, allowing 20 workers per hectare.
Despite restrictions on real estate and construction during this period, a number new projects commenced this month including Melbourne-based developer Pace on its $250 million Blackburn project.
Pace sales director Ash Bramich said that the industry and buyers were ready.
“While the industry understands the seriousness of the pandemic and the need to adapt to protect the community, it was difficult to understand how one-on-one appointments on strict time frames with Covid- safety measures in place created a greater risk then going to your local Coles to buy groceries,” Bramich said.