RBA lauds apartment developers using virtual walk-throughs in place of in-person inspections

The reference to property development firms using virtual walk-throughs came in a speech from RBA assistant governor Luci Ellis

RBA lauds apartment developers using virtual walk-throughs in place of in-person inspections
RBA lauds apartment developers using virtual walk-throughs in place of in-person inspections

Apartment developers have been praised by the RBA for being among the businesses that successfully adjusted their sales practices during the pandemic.

RBA assistant governor Luci Ellis said on Wednesday that apartment developers had been among businesses that had adjusted to lockdowns and other restrictions on activity.

She noted the pandemic had accelerated existing trends to online.

"Online delivery stretches beyond retail," she noted, adding that the property developer contacts in the RBA liaison program had indicated "they have increased online services and plan to continue with these services."

"This pattern is apparent in a range of industries, from telehealth and online learning, to construction and property development firms using virtual walk-throughs in place of in-person inspections. 

"And although business travel is unlikely to disappear completely, many contacts expect to be more selective about whether in-person meetings are needed," she said.

Ellis added that the RBA's move to working from home also entailed switching to liaison by phone and videoconference.

She said the efficiencies of the change facilitated the increased tempo the RBA implemented to keep on top of "more and more frequent discussions" to ascertain what was happening during the pandemic.

"More recently, we have scaled back the tempo to something more ‘normal’, and resumed in-person visits in some cases. 

"But we plan to continue with a mix of in-person and online meetings," she said.

Ellis concluded the lasting effects of the pandemic "on where and how we live will touch all of us, directly and indirectly."

"And they will have implications for housing construction, urban planning, transport and the provision of social services and infrastructure.

"At the same time, we need to be mindful that some of the shifts going on could in part be temporary. 

"For example, the border closures have paused immigration, which especially affects Australia's 2 largest cities. 

"And internal migration to Melbourne declined during the extended Victorian lockdown last year.

"Those flows are likely to resume as borders open and restrictions ease, though perhaps at different rates to previous years. 

"Similarly, while many of the people moved out of larger population centres to escape the virus, or the lockdowns, some of them might return to their previous locations over time.

"It is difficult to disentangle these transitory effects from the more lasting ones. 

"There will be at least some cases of people moving further out from the city centre, because long commutes will not seem so unpleasant if you only need to do it a couple of days a week. 

"And where full-time working from home is possible, ‘work from home’ really starts to mean ‘work from anywhere’. 

"So for some it has been possible to move to an entirely different population centre.

"These bigger changes are almost certainly going to affect only a minority of the population. 

"But there will be some shifts, at least at the margin, which could alter patterns of relative growth. 

"These could matter for plans for urban expansion and the provision of new infrastructure, even if the distribution of population doesn't shift wholesale," Ellis said.

Her speech, titled, Lessons and Lasting Effects of the Pandemic was to the Ai Group, Adelaide.

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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