Real estate industry in testing social distancing shutdown amid coronavirus fears

Real estate industry in testing social distancing shutdown amid coronavirus fears
Real estate industry in testing social distancing shutdown amid coronavirus fears

Australian estate agents will set out this week to ascertain if they can continue to transact their property sale listings and leasing managements given the social distancing shutdown regulations.

In the absence of any official industry edict as at Monday morning, some estate agents will seek to adapt how they can continue to transact their property listings and managements.

Many agents are hoping it is business as usual.

On Sunday both the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew announced they will enforce a comprehensive shutdown of “non-essential services.”

But neither Premier indicated that the real estate industry was restricted from trading.

The later official advisory on stage one of the measures from the Federal Government advised the following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues 
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals.

The Urban Taskforce CEO, Tom Forrest, has called on State and Commonwealth Governments to be clear with their messages.

The announcement must be clear and targeted”, Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest said that the messaging to date has too often been clumsy and ambiguous.

“If there is to be a close-down of business in NSW, what does this mean for construction workers? What does it mean for those working out-doors or indoors? What does it mean for delivery drivers or manufacturers?

Mr Forrest called on the NSW Government to be clear about if businesses should continue to operate remotely or shut down altogether.

Urban Taskforce members support measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19. But support for the property, construction and development industry is critical to the economy and the hundreds of thousands of jobs involved,” Mr Forrest said.

The real estate industry appears spared from the extreme of the first stage of the shutdown if it enforces social distancing that doesn't put the participants at risk.

One of the ways agents can adapt to these measures is using available technology.

Whether open for inspections for multiple unknown parties can continue is highly questionable. 

Limiting auctions to registered bidders practising social distancing appears wise.

Requesting that visitors to open inspections come in small private groups and keep hands in their pockets while doing so are among measures being taken by some agents.

Last week some auction slated for inroom or indoor were moved outdoors to stay within the government's 100 person limit on indoor non-essential social gatherings

All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. 

"All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule," the latest official update advises.

There are around 115,000 sale listings on the market, according to CoreLogic. SQM calculate 68,079 vacant residential properties.

 

 

 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Tags: 
Real Estate Agents Coronavirus

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