Real estate open for inspections have been banned by Australian government

Real estate open for inspections have been banned by Australian government
Real estate open for inspections have been banned by Australian government

The holding of public open for inspections for houses for sale have been banned in Australia from Thursday to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Auctions have also been banned, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced after the Tuesday night national cabinet meeting.

"Real estate auctions and open house inspections, in particular open house inspections — that cannot continue," Scott Morrison said.

"In the retail space, auction houses, gatherings together in auction rooms, that can no longer continue."

“We’re trying to limit the gathering of people in large numbers that can relate to the transmission of that virus,” Mr Morrison said.

Private appointments for inspection are permitted, the official paperwork showed.

There were 2000 onsite and inroom auctions scheduled around Australia in the capital cities for the next two weekends in the traditional pre-Easter sales rush.

The decision came despite a concerted eleventh hour campaign by the property industry who suggested home open for inspections could be held with inspectees keeping their hands in their pockets.

The major real estate brands had lobbied the Federal Government for its agents to be deemed an “essential service”,  the same as the financial services industry, in a bid to prevent a "catastrophic fallout" in the property sector.

The national cabinet has been asked to consider the property market as one of the foundational cornerstones of the economy.

“Despite some media reports to the contrary, the property market is continuing to yield high clearance rates and it’s clear that many Australians still have a strong need to buy and sell property, regardless of the current situation,” one agent complained. 

There are around 115,000 sale listings on the market, according to CoreLogic. 

Limiting auctions to registered bidders practising social distancing had been initially suggested, along with the shift of some auctions slated for indoor to move outdoors to stay within the government's then 100 person limit on indoor non-essential social gatherings.

Agents were also seeking to encourage more online auctions along with absentee phone bidding.

Last week the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo barred brokers from showing homes, as part of a sweeping ban on activities that risk spreading the coronavirus.

At a press conference Friday, Cuomo announced an executive order mandating all employees of non-essential businesses to stay home from work.

The list of essential jobs includes food delivery, doormen and some construction.

It does not include real estate brokers.

The Real Deal website reported when Cuomo discussed the 90-day ban on evictions, he said, “I don’t know who you think you’re going to rent an apartment to now, anyway, if you kick someone out. 

"By my mandate, you couldn’t even have your real estate agent out showing the apartment.”

Across the other side of America, parts of California’s real estate industry are grinding to a halt because of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “stay at home” order.

The 15,000 L.A.-based realtors represented in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) had been hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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