AUSTRALIAN PROPERTY INSTITUTECORONAVIRUS COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Property valuation industry responds to covid-19

Photo Glenn Hunt
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OPINION: AS COVID-19 presents an unprecedented health and economic crisis, I know Australians will pull through to support each other, just like the property industry supports our economy, and the Australian Property Institute supports our members.

The API is fiercely advocating on behalf of our members, as are other key industry bodies, to support a key contributor to Australian economic life, defending our members’ livelihoods and the role that property professionals will play in our nation’s future economic recovery.

The uncertainty in this crisis has forced our industry to respond in an innovative way.

It has meant a re-tooling of our professional development events, with an expanded online offering and a learning hub to provide resources for working in this new environment.

It has meant developing new protocols to guide members through uncharted territory and working with stakeholders including banks and insurers to deliver a higher level of agreed certainty and protect both valuers and the consumer through our important professional standards scheme.

To deal with these times the API has released a new Valuation Protocol for significant valuation uncertainty, to give members greater clarity around undertaking valuations in the current environment. This is the first part of a new framework which will look at how our members can continue to provide services to the financial sector if government restrictions on business and the community continue to tighten.

This evolution in valuation protocols will look at all property and valuation types including restricted assessments, physical and non- physical inspections, utilising technology and other data sources and, alongside the advice already released, will mean the next time there is a disruption in the economy property professionals are well equipped to handle it.

The API is also engaging with government and industry stakeholders to highlight the critical role our members play in the economy and in supporting key industry stakeholders, including financial services, government, and plant and machinery asset owners.

Valuations support the regulated financial services industry by managing credit risk and underpin the many assets held by real estate investment trusts and superannuation funds, as well as financial transactions and investments across the board.

The services of our members underpin rating and taxation frameworks used by all levels of government in Australia which will be critical as government plan for economic recovery. In addition, valuations are required for balance sheet reporting and Australian’s superannuation fund investments through our active REIT sector amongst others.

All of this is more important than ever as the community responds to the COVID-19 crisis.

We have contacted the federal and state Treasurers and the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Business Liaison Unit to make clear the essential service our members provide and the need for them to continue if further business restrictions are introduced.

This advocacy is critical to maintain the trust and respect when dealing with the homes and investments of millions of Australians. It ensures families can make the decisions they need to make regarding their property assets, banks can continue to loan to businesses while the industry manages risk and supports employment and economic activity.

The property industry, Australia’s largest, supports over 1.4 million Australian jobs. The API is standing behind our members, property professionals, just as the wider property industry will be standing behind Australians as we navigate the uncertainty of 2020.

Amelia Hodge, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Property Institute.*