Victorian lockdowns do little to dampen buyer enthusiasm

Two additional postcodes have been added to the list of locked down suburbs in Victoria, with Kensington, Flemington, Hotham Hill and North Melbourne joining the restricted areas as of midnight Saturday.

They add to a lengthy list of suburbs already subject to restrictions due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the Victorian capital.

According to the Victorian State Government, as at July 5, 2020, the following postcodes are subject to restrictions:

3012 – includes Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
3021 – includes Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
3032 – includes Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
3038 – includes Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
3042 – includes Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie, Niddrie North
3046 – includes Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
3047 – includes Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
3055 – includes Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
3060 – includes Fawkner
3064 – includes Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo
3031 – includes Flemington, Kensington
3051 – includes Hotham Hill, North Melbourne

Explaining “every Victorian in these postcodes must play their part”, the State Government said residents of these areas are only permitted to leave for the following four reasons:

  • To shop for food and essential goods and services.
  • For care or compassionate reasons (for example, this includes shared parenting obligations or providing care and support to an unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant friend or relative).
  • Exercise.
  • For work or study – if you can’t do it from home.

The real estate impact

Under the lockdown, auctions can only be undertaken remotely in the impacted areas, while open homes have again reverted to private appointment and rental inspections for prospective tenants are also by appointment only.

These restrictions are expected to remain in place until at least July 29.

Industry quick to adapt

The real estate industry has been quick to react since the Stage 3 restrictions came back into force in select areas on July 1, with most agents shifting auctions in impacted areas online.

When lockdowns were first announced last week, Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan urged agents, buyers and vendors to “apply a higher level of common sense” when dealing in the 36 locked down suburbs.

“The reintroduction of restrictions is disappointing for everyone – it’s not just postcode specific,” Ms Calnan told News Corp.

“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.”

Little to dampen results

Despite the setback, lockdowns did little to dampen auction enthusiasm in Melbourne over the weekend.

CoreLogic results indicate there were 439 Melbourne homes taken to auction at the weekend returning a preliminary clearance rate of 64.3 per cent. This was higher than last week’s preliminary figure of 62.7 per cent across 645 auctions.

Domain reported results that were generally on par with the same time last year. Their figures indicated 373 properties were listed for auction this weekend, with 171 sales reported and a preliminary clearance rate of 62.2 per cent.

In the same week last year, 361 properties were listed for auction, and 200 properties were sold, resulting in a clearance rate of 67.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Ray White also noted there was little impact on their results.

“Re-imposed restrictions in Melbourne didn’t dampen activity,” Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said. “Results were consistent with recent weeks, as our members and the community are now very comfortable with online auctions, and confident they can produce great results.”

Ray White Victoria and Tasmania Chief Auctioneer Matt Condon said a large number of auctions converted to online once restrictions were announced for 10 post codes.

“This raised a lot of questions around how properties located within and on the fringe of these hotspots would perform,” Mr Condon said.

“Based on preliminary data from the Ray White Group, it’s great to be able to report that the properties auctioned within these locations performed exceptionally well, with a number of them selling well above reserve price.

“This just goes to show the confidence that buyers have in Victoria’s real estate market, but also buyers willing to embrace technology and bid online for their desired property.”

Related stories:
Auctions go back online for some suburbs in Victoria  
Preliminary clearance rate improves while fewer homes taken to auction

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.