After a six week ban, the NSW property industry will be given the green light to resume property inspections and on-site auctions this weekend.
The concessions should go some way towards restoring confidence in the market, after a dismal few weeks which saw auction clearance rates drop below 40%.
While real estate agents were quick to embrace digital solutions such as online auctions and virtual tours, the return of traditional face-to-face operations will likely come as a welcome development, said Mozo’s property expert Steve Jovcevski.
“Right now a lot of properties have been withdrawn from sale because of the inability of prospective buyers to inspect the properties in person. These withdrawn properties are counted in the clearance rate figures, thus distorting the overall picture,” he said.
“Now that public inspections will resume, properties will be less likely to be withdrawn and we’ll see clearance rates go up. People are also more likely to bid for a property that has been physically inspected.”
But Treasurer Dominic Perrottet reminded Australians that community safety is still a priority, and the easing of restrictions shouldn't give way to complacency.
“The real estate industry has been adaptable in transitioning to online auctions, property inspections by appointment or online, and now as we make the move back to a more normal mode of operation we must ensure safety measures such as social distancing remain a key part of the process,” he said.
“If we want to keep as many people in jobs as possible and businesses in business it is important to follow the safety advice and not put others at risk.”
Along with observing the usual physical distancing requirements, vendors will have to take measures to minimise the risk of infection on-site.
“Real estate agents should limit the number of people viewing a property and attending an auction, follow stringent cleaning and safety guidelines, ensure clients do not touch surfaces and always have hand sanitiser available,” said Minister for Health Brad Hazzard.
Anyone showing symptoms of illness will be barred from attending, and agents are urged to keep detailed contact records in case contact tracing is required.
Attendance by spectators will also be discouraged.
“If people are not genuinely in the market for a new home, now is not the time to be having a look through their neighbour’s house,” Mr Perrottet said.
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