As COVID-19 lockdown restrictions slowly ease across the country, most states and territories are now allowing open home inspections and in-person auctions.As a market leader across Australia, Harcourts sat down with sales consultants from varying states across the country, to hear how they have fared and are faring now that the industry is trying to advance toward a new kind of ‘normal’.
New South Wales
Current Status: In terms of the number of people allowed within the property, the rule is to “manage the number of people entering a small property per guidelines”.
Sales Consultant and Auctioneer Shiv Nair, from Harcourts Hills Living NSW, said he had begun conducting 3-4 open homes per property, per week which had resulted in some great competition and quick sales.
“Sellers are more confident and more open to listing their property on the market now that restrictions have eased however, it seems the buyers have always been there, we’re still achieving great results - we have and are seeing a lot of competition for property across the board.”
Current Status: The WA Government relaxed some of the state’s Stage 3 restrictions with up to 10 people at open homes, if record-keeping and hygiene practices are in place. Come 6 June, that eases further to include up to 100 attendees and spacing reduced to 2sqm per person.
Business Owner Wayne Davey, of Harcourts Mandurah, said despite COVID-19 enforced restrictions the greater Mandurah market had remained strong, adding that with restrictions eased, that sentiment was sure to continue.
“Harcourts Mandurah is currently selling twice as many properties as our closest rival. In these strange and challenging times, we have managed to sell a property per day, which is quite an achievement - we expect that these results will only improve now that some restrictions have been eased.”
Current Status: Queensland’s relaxed rules surrounding real estate auctions and inspections. In-room or in person auctions can now be conducted with up to 20 people, with one person per 4 square metres and social distancing observed. A maximum of three people can conduct the auction in addition to the 10 attendees. This may include the auctioneer and agency staff.
Harcourts Queensland CEO, Jonathan King said offices across the state’s 96-office network in the state had welcomed yet another small step towards some kind of normalcy for the industry.
“Our Queensland offices have continued to operate to great affect during the COVID-19 lockdown and now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, we expect both buyers and sellers to feel a further sense of confidence that the real estate market in the sunshine state remains buoyant.”
Current Status: As of 1 June, on-site auctions and inspections will have up to 20 people in attendance – plus those required to conduct the activity. The state also eased restrictions on visitors to a household with up to 20 visitors allowed, in addition to the residents. Up to 50 people will be able to gather in outdoor spaces.
Director/Auctioneer Dexter Prack, of Harcourts Judd White, said the ease of restrictions had, without doubt, a dramatic impact on both vendors, who may have been sitting on the fence in anticipation, as well as on the mind set of his team.
“It (easing of restrictions) has lifted our volume pretty much instantly. May volume on auctions were down, but June is now quite positive with over 20 auctions booked for the month and July already beginning to fill up.”
Business Owner Brad Ryan of, Harcourts Narre Warren South, echoed Mr Prack’s sentiments.
“We were able to hold open for inspections again for the first time last weekend which was well received by the buyers in attendance, the enthusiasm from agents and buyers alike was an energy unlike any time before and very enjoyable to be a part of.”
CURRENT STATUS: As of 11 May, live auctions and open for inspections could proceed. There is a limit of one person per four square metres and there is a maximum of 20 attendees at one time, excluding real estate agents facilitating the open home.
Principal/Auctioneer Mark Forde, of Harcourts South Coast, said the most noticeable affect (of restrictions easing) was attendance levels at the first weekend of opens.
“We had beautiful weather and being a holiday destination just over an hour’s drive from Adelaide, we were amazed with the number of people who visited our region. We have also had a strong response to our Holiday Rental portfolio with a large number of new bookings, it looks like the June long weekend will become our belated Easter break.”
Government guidance on restrictions as of 2 June 2020