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What does Stage 4 lockdown mean for real estate?

Barry Plant Group CEO, Mike McCarthy has issued a market update, hoping to clarify some of the confusion surrounding what the real estate industry can and cannot do.

“The next six weeks will be an eternity for some and for others, it will be over before we know it. But we can do this, if we all stick together and support each other,” he notes.

“The individual challenges we will face will vary from person to person but most importantly if you need support don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family or to one of the organisations you can see on your screen at the moment.

“We’re waiting on clarity on exactly what the shutdown means for the real estate industry but it certainly appears that we won’t be able to do private inspections.

“We also know that we are not an approved industry for working on site so that means that our people will have to work from home and our offices will have to close.

“But many of our offices have been working that way for the past few months and we know that we can continue to support all of our clients out there with all the usual real estate activities in particular around rental collection and so on.

“The Premier, Daniel Andrews has also said that he wants real estate transactions to continue, he wants settlements to happen and he wants people to be able to move at the end of their lease.

“Real estate agents are permitted to attend work for the purpose of settlements and end of lease arrangements, such as handing over keys.

“For our tenants and landlords, emergency repairs and maintenance will still be able to be carried out, rental payments and receipting will continue as normal, as will remittances to landlords.

“A lot of people have been asking me “what does this mean for sales over the next six weeks?” and in my view it depends on the type of property and where its located.

“Firstly, in regional Victoria we are still able to conduct private inspections so new listings and sales will continue as they have done over recent months.

“As I mentioned before, at this stage we understand that we won’t be able to do private inspections in the Greater Melbourne area for residential property, so let’s have a look at what this means for each different property category.

“Off the plan sales for residential property can continue as normal as there is nothing to physically inspect.

“Vacant land and development sites will still be able to be transacted as many of them don’t require a physical inspection.

“And I think many recently completed apartments and townhouses will continue to transact, particularly where buyers are familiar with the project and may have already inspected it.

“And of course there will be many established homes where people have already conducted inspections and are ready to make offers and complete their purchase.

“Other categories of property such as retail, commercial and industrial will all depend on the nature of the property, but I imagine that many of those transactions will continue during lockdown.

What should we prepare for at the end of the lockdown period?

“I think we need to look at the New Zealand experience and what happened when they came out of their lockdown. And in fact they rebounded really quickly in the real estate sector.

“In Melbourne during July we had a really strong month across the Barry Plant Group, we sold 11 per cent more properties than we did in July last year and we know that there are lots of buyers out there ready to buy and I think that number will only grow as we go over the next six weeks.

“So in my view the next six weeks is a countdown to a re-launch of the real estate market and buyers and sellers need to be ready when the green light says go.”

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