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Industry body slams NSW’s ‘unfair’ property advantage

By Bianca Dabu 01 September 2021 | 1 minute read

With half of the nation in a new wave of lockdowns, the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is calling for equal opportunities for buyers, sellers and agents alike in order to keep the property sector alive and healthy.

Currently, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra remain in lockdown following a surge of COVID-19 infections, which means most activity related to real estate are currently restricted.

Regional areas across New South Wales and Victoria are also subject to restrictions.

Pertaining to home inspections and auctions, here’s what restrictions look like for these areas:

  • Victoria: In-person inspections and live auctions are banned and can only be conducted remotely/online.
  • Canberra: In-person inspections and live auctions are banned and can only be conducted remotely/online. Property inspections required by law for a sale to proceed (e.g. energy, building inspection), as well as photography and filming, can be done by one person provided no one else is present in the property.
  • New South Wales: Open homes are banned, but private one-on-one inspections are allowed by appointment. Greater Sydney residents can also obtain a permit to inspect real estate in regional NSW if it is a home to live in, not an investment property. Live auctions are banned and can only be conducted remotely/online.

Pointing out the looser restrictions in New South Wales, REIA president Adrian Kelly has argued Sydneysiders are being given an “undeniable comparative advantage” over other states for no justifiable reason.

“Every Australian needs access to the same options when it comes to housing… but the citizens of NSW now have an advantage over their counterparts in Victoria and the ACT for no apparent reason at all,” he continued.

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Mr Kelly expressed this as “beyond unfair, given that real estate has never had a single case of community transmission”.

As such, the president is calling on the government to urgently address the consequences of the ongoing lockdowns and put a stop to the “fractured approach to policy-making across states and territories”.

He has recommended “risk-based pragmatic rules that are consistent across Australia” in order for the housing sector to continue to function for the benefit of all home buyers, owners, tenants and investors.

Depending on the length of the lockdown period, Mr Kelly suggested these measures for the singular national code of practice for the industry:

  • Short, snap lockdowns (<7 days): Contactless activities should be allowed to proceed, including virtual inspections, settlements, filming for listings
  • Longer lockdowns (>7 days): A base-level continuity plan including one-on-one inspections and pre-listing photography.

RELATED TERMS

Property

Property refers to either a tangible or intangible item that an individual or business has legal rights or ownership of, such as houses, cars, stocks or bond certificates.

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Industry body slams NSW’s ‘unfair’ property advantage
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