Onsite auctions return to Canberra as lockdown ends

Agents in the ACT have woken up this morning out of lockdown and able to conduct onsite auctions again, albeit with a few restrictions.

Under the ACT’s pathway out of lockdown, live auctions can recommence from today with a maximum of 25 people on site.

Mask wearing and social distancing requirements also remain in place, with Real Estate Institute of the Australian Capital Territory (REIACT) Chief Executive Officer Michelle Tynan saying only the auctioneer was allowed to remove their mask when calling the auction.

“Our auctioneers are very excited to be back out in front of crowds, it certainly makes a difference with the emotional side of purchasing a house and being able to have that one-on-one interaction with bidders,” she said.

“Obviously there will be COVID-safe practices in place with things like social distancing and only the auctioneer will be able to remove their mask.”

There are no vaccination restrictions required for agents, vendors or buyers at auctions.

HIVE Property Canberra Director Josh Morrissey said the group had a handful of live auctions back on the weekend, but most would remain online.

“We’re going to keep the majority of ours online at the moment just because there are some people who are bidding interstate that can’t get here,” he explained.

“So it will be case by case.”

Mr Morrissey said the market was also looking forward to open homes returning at the end of the month.

“I think from the 29th we’re allowed to have 25 people through an open home at a time,” he said.

“So I think, just for the general psyche of the market and everybody’s morale more than anything, that’s a positive. 

“We’re moving in the right direction and everybody’s really positive about it.”

Mr Morrissey said there had already been an uptick in the amount of inquiry, with vendors who had previously been sitting on the fence about whether or not to sell, making contact.

“It’s helping people make decisions because they can see a bit more fluidity with the process,” he said.

“When they announced from the 15th that restrictions in the city would lift, people started contacting us again.

“People just calling out of the blue, that’s probably tripled in the past five or six weeks, and then you’ve got Christmas as well. 

“People are trying to just slip in before that Christmas window.”

Ms Tynan said with a limited head count allowed at auctions until the end of October, it was important only serious buyers attended.

“Probably our greatest concern is managing onlookers,” she said.

“It’s very different to what it was last time and only having that capacity of 25 people, which includes the vendors, means it’s really only 23 people onsite.

“So it’s all about being able to manage those people who are just there to look, because obviously they’ll have to be told to go away… I just hope that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm or spirit of the auction.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.