Several groups are calling the state government of Victoria to reconsider its decision to extend the restrictions on real estate services.
The state government announced earlier this week that the stage four lockdown restrictions will be extended until 26 October. This means that private property inspections are still not allowed.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) criticised the state government’s move, saying that the irreversible impacts of its decision continue to be ignored.
"The lack of understanding by the Victorian government regarding the operations of the real estate sector is evidenced in almost every facet of the way which it has handled the restrictions and the moratorium," said a statement from REIV.
Marcus Williams, CEO of Harcourts Group Australia, said the restrictions will impact those who will be without assistance for their property needs. He said that the state government's decision is "unrealistic and unacceptable" as many businesses continue to struggle.
"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," he said.
Williams said without proper inspections, buying and leasing cannot proceed, leaving many people without appropriate shelter and pushing many vendors and investors to the brink. Williams believes the restrictions will have significant impacts not only on the economy but also on individuals who have the real need to sell their homes and 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," he said. "And taking away the ability for real estate agents and property managers to assist people with a basic need is unacceptable."
Cate Bakos, president of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association, said even with the proposed video inspections, buyers will not be at ease making property decisions.
"There are many buyers and sellers out there caught in the crossfire who have bought and sold, now needing to transact in order to avoid financial losses or homelessness, who are very distressed," she said.
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