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Sector seeks to confirm what stage four lockdowns mean for Melbourne real estate

The Victorian real estate sector is seeking to confirm exactly what stage four restrictions in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will mean for the state’s property industry after a raft of announcements were released today relating to retail, the construction sector, and other industries.

Here’s what we know so far…

Clarity still needed on real estate operations

At present it remains unclear exactly how stage four lockdowns will affect the operation of real estate agencies.

An announcement from the Real Estate Industry of Victoria (REIV) is expected on Tuesday, but in the interim REIV president Leah Calnan told the Herald Sun she had not been informed of any further restrictions being placed on the city’s real estate industry.

“As of yesterday (Sunday), we were still able to conduct online auctions and private inspections by appointment,” she said.

“Agents have continued to acknowledge the very privileged place they work in. We’ll make sure they continue to abide by the highest level of hygiene and processes.”

Moves still possible

Meanwhile, Premier Daniel Andrews has also flagged further announcements regarding real estate.

“I don’t want to see people not able to settle on their home. I don’t want to see people who are supposed to move from one place to another because the lease has run out unable to do so,” he said.

“We’re going to get some specific advice on that. We’ve already given it a fair bit of thought.

“I think the answer will be ‘yes’ if you’ve got a contract, an arrangement in place.”

Remote working likely

At this stage it does appear remote working will be mandatory for agencies. The Herald Sun states documents released by the Victorian Government have indicated Melbourne property operators and real estate services would be required to close on-site from 11.59pm Wednesday.

Again, further clarity is being sought on this matter.

Eviction ban extension?

On the issue of residential and commercial eviction bans, Mr Andrews told reporters he would have “more to say very, very soon” regarding whether they would be extended beyond their September expiration date.

Domestic construction safe for now

One area of the industry that does appear to have some definite guidelines is construction, with the HIA welcoming the news domestic building will continue, albeit in a scaled back capacity.

“The decision to allow domestic building to continue with limited numbers of workers on a domestic building site will allow hundreds of thousands of Victorians to stay in work and complete the more than 60,000 homes currently under construction in Victoria today,” said HIA Executive Director Victoria, Fiona Nield.

“During the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions and the subsequent lock down, HIA and our members voluntarily adopted a set of industry guidelines and systems to help builders, trade contractors and suppliers safe on a building site which included a limit of 6 workers on site.

“From the start, the nature of the domestic building sector means that it is possible for workers to socially distance and keep home building projects going.

“As Victoria moves into this stage four lockdown phase, today’s decision is vital recognition by the Government that the procedures our industry has already put into place are working and that housing construction can practice the necessary safety measures.

“The economics of this decision are also criticial – allowing housing projects to continue will save jobs, limit the risk of longer rental costs and loan charges for home owners, and ensure that Victoria’s housing supply keeps up with demand.

“There are more than 30,000 houses under construction across Victoria today, and there is more than another 30,000 apartments under construction, mostly in Melbourne.”

“This is an industry that can navigate its way through this crisis and stay open. Supporting home building with practical arrangements for trade supplies and building products and material will ensure activity can continue with sensible COVID-19 safety controls.

“HIA has been providing support for the industry through our Making space on site guidelines and other resource released since March.

“There are now seven industry guidelines for new homes, renovation projects, small commerical projects, kitchen and bathroom projects, home owners, display homes, new home buyers and returning to the workplace. These resources are freely available to assist everyone working in the residential building industry.

“The housing industry is committed to complying with any and all directions from government regarding health and safety and we will continue to work closely with the Victorian government as these changes are implemented,” concluded Ms Nield.

Emergency maintenance only

When it comes to maintenance, tradespeople will only be allowed into properties to conduct emergency repairs, according to the Herald Sun.

The new restrictions are all part of a stage four lockdowns currently in place in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, which are expected to last until at least September 13.

Elite Agent will continue to update our site when more information comes to hand.

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