Industry NewsNationalReal Estate Industry News

Open homes and auctions halted

Real estate auctions and open homes are the latest casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison tonight announcing these were among the events that “cannot continue” in a bid to combat Coronavirus.

In an address to the nation, the PM labelled 2020 the toughest year for Australians

“Our goal is to combat this together by following common-sense rules,” he stated.

As a result, restrictions were extended for social gatherings in enclosed spaces outside of work.

From midnight tomorrow night (March 25) open homes and auctions are among a raft of events that will no longer be permitted.

 “In the retail space, auction houses – gatherings together in auction rooms – they can no longer continue,” the Prime Minister said.

“Real estate auctions and open house inspections – in particular open house inspections – that cannot continue.

“The principle is clear. Large gatherings brought together by particular organised events are things we are seeking to avoid.”

Open homes and auctions joined services like beauty therapy in a long list of non-essential gatherings that needed to stop, according to the PM, along with play centres, and community and recreation centres.

Meanwhile, funerals have been limited to no more than 10 persons observing social distancing rules.

“This is not an easy decision,” Mr Morrison said.

“Some of the major transmission settings, particularly weddings, have been these type of events.”

As increasing restrictions are placed on everyday Australian life, going out for the basics is still allowed, along with going to work where you cannot work from home.

Remote working is a rising trend which Mr Morrison strongly encouraged.

“Visits to your premises should be kept to a minimum,” he said.

“If we do all these things, we are able to put greater pressure on slowing the spread of this virus.”

Many of the state institutes have been working collectively with real estate professionals to develop health measures, tool kits and alternative methods for real estate transactions.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said, ” The Prime Minister’s announcement is not a total ban on real estate transactions from taking place as that would have a devastating impact on the Australian economy”.

The Prime Minister also announced that the National Cabinet will be meeting again tomorrow evening, with an announcement regarding support measures for commercial and residential tenants struggling to pay rent expected. 

Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said it appears the scope of new business operating practices the group proposed earlier today to support the flattening of the COVID-19 infection curve has been endorsed as appropriate.

The Prime Minister said on-site and in-room auctions, along with open for inspections, were banned as of midnight Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

“While these restrictions will no doubt provide us with some challenges, we view them as necessary to face the current crisis and welcome the opportunity to continue to support the many Australians who rely on us to support them in renting, buying, selling and managing their homes. We are well prepared to do this,” Mr White said.

‘No other restrictions were announced for either property management or sales businesses, subject to other restrictions on physical distancing and hygiene.

“The key message to take away is that all real estate onsite and in-room auctions and open house inspections will be cancelled as of Wednesday night, but our members will still be able to host virtual property tours, private inspections and on-line/digital auctions, as we have been encouraging.

“We can take heart from the statement that ‘all workers in the economy are essential’ and we will carefully adhere to the latest restrictions.”

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