What does ‘non-essential services’ mean to the real estate industry
Over the past few days Daniel Andrews announced that Victoria will implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity across our state to combat the spread of Coronavirus. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) sought clarification regarding the definition of ‘essential services’ as there were many unanswered questions following this announcement.
The REIV have now confirmed that real estate businesses can continue to operate at this time. Auctions, property inspections and sales can continue but it is critical that health advice is followed. Should a business choose to remain open, they must modify work practices to ensure the safety of all involved – recommendations included increased sanitation, maintaining social distancing and limiting the number of people allowed in an open home at any given time.
Real Estate Institute of Australia President (REIA) Adrian Kelly said while they recognise the impact on trading this will have, it is important the entire industry pulls together and supports the Government and their efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“As an industry, we are all in this predicament together and the sooner we all do what needs to be done, the sooner we can return to a more normal real estate market,” he said.
REIA recommendations for home inspections and public auctions
- Home Inspections: All inspections should now be conducted as a one-on-one private session, coupled with the appropriate safeguards as recommended by health authorities (increased sanitation and social distancing).
- Public Auctions: All public auctions should now be conducted via telephone bidding or by using one of the many online auction platforms available. The real estate industry should show resourcefulness during this time.
The situation continues to evolve so it is important that you review your work practices and monitor the advice daily.
Latest interest rate and auction clearance rates
Last week the Reserve Bank of Australia made an unprecedented cut to the cash rate, altering it in an unscheduled meeting to a record-low of 0.25% in an effort to provide relief to the industry. It is expected to remain at this level until progress is being made towards full employment and the RBA is confident that inflation will be sustainable within the 2–3 per cent target band.
Although auction rates continue to drop, they are still up year-on-year indicating there is resilience in the market yet. While agents declined to shake hands and encouraged bidders to keep their distance at auctions, but attendance figures remained high and many homes sold above reserve.