CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Public auctions and commercial property inspections resume

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AFTER more than 100 days under one of the world’s toughest and longest lockdown, Melbourne’s residential and commercial property market will reopen but retail stores will need to wait until November 02.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced from 11:59 pm Sunday night, residential and commercial real estate auctions will be able to take place with up to 10 people, plus agency staff.

In addition, commercial property inspections, exempt from the September 27 wind back of restrictions, will also be permitted to resume with one agent and one prospective purchaser or tenant.

Real estate agents yesterday welcomed the announcement. The REIV said it will allow the sector to get back to work. Since September 27, Melbourne’s real estate auction market has started to show green shoots.

“The commercial sector has been suffering with many businesses unable to open or trade. The ability to commence inspections of commercial properties for sale or lease will help with economic recovery allow business owners to sell, buy or lease properties to rebuild their businesses,” the REIV said.

The institute’s president Leah Calnan said this decision is recognition that the real estate profession can be trusted to conduct inspections and auctions in a safe and responsible manner.

“We have done so previously and will continue to do so for the benefit of all Victorians.” Calnan said.

Hairdressers are also permitted to reopen but retail stores and hospitality will need to wait another fortnight, until 11:59 pm on 1 November.

The Australian Retailers Association’s CEO Paul Zahra said the announcement brings enormous relief and certainty for businesses with Christmas just around the corner.

“Whilst this date is many weeks later than we would have hoped, coming just two days before the official start of Christmas, it is still very welcome news for retailers who have been desperately seeking clarity for months,” he said.

“The ability for staff to return to physical stores on 28 October to prepare the stores for Christmas is a clear sign the government has listened to our advice.

“The ARA has been calling for store staff to have the ability to return earlier to begin the arduous task of store preparations in time for the busiest and most important trading period of the year.” Zahra said.

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