Coronavirus: Auctions and open for inspections scrapped as restrictions return to hotspots

Public auctions and open for inspections have been banned once again in Melbourne’s coronavirus hotspots.

In a blow to the property industry, public sales will be canned in the affected areas from Thursday as stage three government restrictions are reinstated until at least July 29.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan said the peak industry body was still waiting to confirm with the Premier’s office the finer details of how real estate would be affected.

But stage three restrictions meant vendors in the 10 affected postcodes would have to revert auctions online or change to a private sale, she said.

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Public auctions have been cancelled in coronavirus hotspots. Picture: Sarah Matray


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Buyers would likely have to arrange private inspections of properties for the next four weeks too.

It means many of the 411 auctions scheduled across Melbourne for Saturday, July will have to be cancelled at the last minute.

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An Essendon auction in June allowed up to 20 people. Picture: Jason Edwards


“We want to give agents the opportunity to start making changes tonight for auctions that are this weekend,” Ms Calnan said.

“I think most have still been running a blended approach online and onsite.”

She urged agents, buyers and vendors to “apply a higher level of common sense” when dealing in the 36 locked down suburbs.

“I think the reintroduction of restrictions is disappointing for everyone – it’s not just postcode specific,” Ms Calnan said.

“But the market has been sound and shown great resilience this year, and it’s only four more weeks in the middle of winter, when Melbourne’s stock levels are traditionally down anyway.”

Auction

It could be a while before we see crowds like this again. Picture: Sarah Matray


Hocking Stuart Inner-West director Leo Dardha said the renewed restrictions were “basically rewinding the clock to eight weeks ago”.

“We’re well placed because we’ve been through this before,” Mr Dardha said.

“Let’s get back to what we were doing prior to the release of restrictions.”

With three auctions planned for this Saturday, Mr Dardha said his agency would try and negotiate sales with interested buyers ahead of the auction date, or revert listings to private sales.

59 Ringtail Circuit, Maidstone was supposed to go under the hammer on Saturday, July 4.


“It’s just such a shame because the momentum has been building steadily since the Queen’s Birthday (long weekend),” Mr Dardha said.

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“We’ll just have to get back to being creative.”

Industry Insider director and property advocate Andrew Date said vendors in affected suburbs would have to “put the brakes” on their plans, in a blow to the property market.

“If you can’t have people going into those suburbs, it means less demand,” Mr Date said.

“It’s going to hurt a lot of vendors in that particular area. Even though there’s only 10 postcodes, there’s a lot of suburbs.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to affect the confidence in the market somewhat.”

It comes as buyers filed into coronavirus hotspots last weekend to attend auctions and open for inspections, despite community transmission concerns.

Suburbs not under lockdown can continue to operate open for inspections and public auctions with up to 20 registered people, according to the state government.

Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services were contacted for comment.

— with Jack Boronovskis

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