Melbourne restrictions eased: Top questions for real estate answered

Melburnians are seeing some light at the end of the lockdown tunnel after the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a slight easing of restrictions amid the stage four lockdown, which include a number of important changes for real estate. 

Under a suite of new rules announced Sunday 18 October, residents can travel up to 25km from their home and enjoy an unlimited amount of time outdoors.

Melbourne’s real estate industry will also begin to fire up again following Sunday’s announcement. Here’s what we know so far.

Can live auctions take place?

From 11.59pm Sunday 18 October, outdoor auctions will be allowed with up to 10 people in attendance, not including the required staff.

Northcote facade

Live auctions are once again allowed to take place with limited attendees. Picture:

How many people can attend an auction?

A maximum of 10 people plus required staff can attend a live auction.

Vendors and agents are encouraged to make a strategic decision on the best approach for selling a property, including live auction (albeit with limited attendees), online auction or private sale.

Are online auctions still available?

Yes, online auctions are still being used as a platform for selling homes in Melbourne, and around the country, as buyers take advantage of attending auctions from the comfort of their homes.

Online auctions have been successfully taken up around the country as sellers and agents see the positive side of being able to accommodate potential bidders regardless of their proximity to the property.

Are online auctions better than face-to-face?

Mario Butera from Woodards Northcote said each property will differ when it comes to the best approach for sale.

Whether it be a physical auction, virtual auction or private sale, the method should be determined by characteristics of that specific property and what the potential market for it will be, he explained.

“We’re doing a lot of ‘sale-by-set-date’ at the moment and I’d say that will continue. We’d only look at doing a physical auction if we could be sure that there was a lot of interest and that it would get a better result at the end of the day,” Mr Butera said.

“Without the big crowds, you’re missing that theatre – if it’s not a popular home and you’ve only got a few people in the backyard then you risk people getting intimidated.

Computer gavel online auction

Online auctions for real estate have become the norm for real estate in areas affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Picture: Getty

“We’re not excited about onsite auctions unless it’s a really popular property, but for the average apartment we’ll be leaning towards a sale-by-set-date situation. But if I had a property with five or six couples that want to go hard we’d consider moving that to a face-to-face auction.

“Because of the limit of 10 [people], you don’t really have that crowd to get the same buzz and energy.”

Can I attend a private inspection?

Private residential property inspections are permitted after the state government brought forward the easing of these restrictions in late September.

The ban on physical inspections of Melbourne commercial properties has also be lifted.

Can I stay in short-term accommodation?

Residents from metro Melbourne are still not allowed to travel to regional parts of the state, as the authorities continue to monitor the situation around COVID-19 cases and ensure numbers remain low.

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