‘Make Use of Technology’: Auctions, Open Homes in Coronavirus Shut Down


The real estate industry needs to “step up” and take advantage of online inspections and auctions in the wake of new Covid-19 restrictions according to REIA.

There were 2,635 auctions scheduled in capital cities for 28 March, prior to the Australian government’s update on coronavirus measures.

That was up from last weekend which was the second busiest for auction activity this year—2,539 homes went under the hammer with a clearance rate of 61.3 per cent.

However this was expected to change with national cabinet agreeing to new social distance measures which banned real estate auctions and open-for-inspections from 25 March with the exception of private appointments.

“Real estate auctions and open house inspections - in particular, open house inspections - that cannot continue,” prime minister Scott Morrison said.

“We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable.”

REIA president Adrian Kelly said while it was not “business as usual” there were still ways of conducting inspections and to auction a property.

“This is the time for the industry to step up and respond to what is happening,” Kelly said.

“Innovative and flexible agents should make better use of technology.”

However online auctions and inspections have been around for years including established online property auction site Openn Negotiation platform.

Australian real estate agents sold more than $830 million in property since the platform’s inception in mid 2017.

Openn Negotiation chief executive Peter Gibbons said there was a significant increase in enquiries from agents looking to get trained in the platform since the coronavirus restrictions took place.

“We've seen a 350 per cent increase in registrations for our online learning in March,” Gibbons said.

“We expect that to continue to grow.”

REA Group announced they would continue to allow agents to use videos to showcase listings with a new inspection feature going live on their app in the coming days.

REA Group chief sales officer Kul Singh said they were focused on supporting the property market through these unprecedented times.

“We want our customers and consumers to know that the property market is still open for business and inspections remain open online,” Kul said.

“Digital Inspections is the first of our new features to help the market adapt to the evolving conditions.

“We all have a responsibility to flatten the curve when it comes to the spread of Covid-19 and we are focused on helping our customers continue to operate their businesses in a safe environment.”

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