Victoria’s Real Estate Roadmap out of COVID

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

The response to Premier Daniel Andrews’ roadmap of release from COVID-19 restrictions has met with mixed responses, with some praising the slow and steady approach and others critical that it may be the death knell for their business.

Potential Pandemic Impact on Melbourne House Prices

With the news that on-site auctions can’t happen in Victoria until at least October (dependent on a continued decline in new case numbers), the impact on the already falling property prices in Melbourne could be further impacted – something that could mean savings for savvy, cashed-up buyers.

Private inspection and on-site auctions subject to attendance limits won’t be able to resume until we hit ‘step three’ of the Government’s prescribed roadmap, which is technically due to commence on October 26, 2020, pending the meeting of case number targets that are below five over a long-term average, or below five with an unknown source.

A Staggered Easing of Restrictions

While real estate professionals await the easing, they can look forward to some activities at the ‘step two’ stage, including related appointments that can’t be achieved remotely, such as tasks required to begin or end a rental lease, including engagement of removalists, or in-person settlements of real estate sales.

If numbers continue to decrease as hoped for, the final step towards a return to something resembling our pre-pandemic world will mean no limits on auction attendance and the allowance of open homes for would-be buyers to inspect.

The Effect on the Construction Industry

Caps on the amount of workers able to be on-site, as well as the numbers of sites able to be open across the city, will continue in Melbourne in the short-term, with construction work restrictions on everything from major projects, to private home renovations and new developments gradually eased incrementally, as our case numbers continue to decline.

Better News for Regional Victoria

In regional Victoria, ‘step two’ kicks off from September 13, which means private inspections can resume.

However, on-site auctions will have to wait a bit longer until ‘step three’ is in place.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria criticised the restriction roadmap, with a spokesperson claiming that private inspections are far safer than going to the supermarket.

The REIV also expressed disappointment at the gradual relaxation of regional restrictions, adding that they should have been eased even more from September 13 to help regional real estate continue to do business easily.

The Property Council, though, was more positive and said that the Government’s roadmap was supported and welcomed as a way to avoid the risk of an endless cycle of ongoing restriction measures.

Regardless of the differing opinions around the announcement on Father’s Day, the reality is that restrictions will only be eased slowly and by focusing on the increased freedoms that Victorians will eventually enjoy, the real estate sector, as well as many other important industries, can look forward to a better 2021.

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