Harcourts Group Australia CEO Marcus Williams issued the following statement:
“In response to the Victoria Premier’s announcement of the “Roadmap for Reopening”, specifically in regard to metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
The news is disappointing, of course, as this means that real estate services are heavily impacted, once again. And doubly disappointing is that these measures impact those who will be without assistance for their property needs.
Effectively, this new set of restrictions puts a full stop on any in-person real estate services related to auctions and inspections in Metro Melbourne, while our regional areas’ services are heavily restricted.
A simple solution exists: The Victoria government must restore the ability for consumers to physically inspect a property, in-person with the assistance of a qualified property consultant, before committing to a significant financial decision.
Thresholds to return to work are unacceptable
As part of the Roadmap, a return to providing in-person private property inspections relies upon a zero-case target. We find this unrealistic and unacceptable. Thousands of businesses have been struggling since March and waiting until 26th October will find that many of them will not survive.
We understand the need for guidelines to curb the spread of the coronavirus. What we do not understand is why the Federal government isn’t stepping in to assist Victorians.
How do we help people with obtaining shelter?
While the property industry accounts for a massive portion of the Australian economy, the real damage being done is to those who need to move quickly. Whether it’s a mother and her children fleeing a violent partner or someone who has lost their job and can no longer afford to pay rent, hardworking families and individuals in need deserve better attention. Shelter is essential. And taking away the ability for real estate agents and property managers to assist people with a basic need is unacceptable.
The impact on small business owners
The real estate industry is comprised of small business owners and represents a huge portion of businesses in every part of Australia. To be clear, these restrictions impact thousands of small business owners as well as thousands of our clients and our business partners. There are tolls taken on financial, physical and mental health.
Calling on government to restore private inspections
I want to assure you that Harcourts is lobbying our State ministers and Melbourne government to communicate the real estate industry’s needs and recommendations.
We are working alongside REIP (Real Estate Industry Partners) to strengthen and align the industry’s efforts. And we call on all real estate brands to align with the recommendations of REIP.
To put it simply, we are calling on the government to allow one-on-one inspections of property so that people can physically see a property before they commit to a huge investment. Without inspections, buying and leasing cannot proceed, keeping many people out of appropriate shelter and pushing many vendors and investors to the brink.
Together, we must continue to focus on the big picture at stake - the entire real estate industry’s need to be back on its feet and assisting our clients with their property transactions, whether it is selling, buying, managing or renting.