The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has called for the state government to consider relaxing the restrictions on public auctions and open-for-inspections.

Leah Calnan, president of REIV, said Victoria has to follow the lead of other states, including New South Wales and Western Australia, in easing the ban on open houses and auctions. She said public auctions and open homes can be conducted with strict rules in place to prevent any possible risks of COVID-19 transmission.

"Sales and rental open-for-inspections, and public auctions can safely operate with crowd restrictions, social distancing and other measures; the easing of these restrictions would inspire confidence in our market," she said. "Public auctions can be conducted in a safe and responsible manner. The real estate sector is willing to work with the state government to gradually progress to normal levels of activity.”

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Calnan said the property market is crucial to the state's economy, given that it employs thousands of Victorians and contributes over 45% of the state's taxation revenue.

"An active property market is a key building block for economic growth and auctions are the most visible way of rebuilding consumer confidence," she said.

Calnan said estate agents have adapted well in transitioning to online auctions when restrictions were put in place. While the number of auctions has declined significantly over the past month, success rates continue to be strong.

"Property transactions are a critical factor in a strong economy. The strong clearance rates and the level in interest in attending private inspections shows there is still a strong demand in the market," she said.