20 August 2021

Still house hunting in lockdown? Here are the rules

| Karyn Starmer
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Zango auction sold sign

In-person property inspections and on-site auctions are currently not permitted in the ACT. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Just as a ‘white-hot’ property market was reaching new heights, Delta arrived in the capital and sent Canberrans home. So can you still buy or rent a property in the ACT or NSW?

Lockdown restrictions that came into effect on 12 August mean that sales and leasing may continue, but the Saturday morning crowds are gone for now, as in-person property inspections and on-site auctions are currently not permitted in the ACT. The same goes for NSW.

McIntyre Property owner and sales agent Col McIntyre said the ACT property market has now moved online.

“Not only are open inspections not permitted, but we also cannot do inspections by appointment either. But buyers can still view properties online, and most of our auctions will still take place on the weekend – they will be online too,” Mr McIntyre said.

“It is not ideal, but it is what we have to do to keep everyone safe.”

With the lockdown extended to 2 September, the Real Estate Institute of the ACT (REIACT) is holding discussions with the ACT Government to find a realistic way for real estate transactions to continue in the Territory.

“We fully support the government’s response to this outbreak,” REIACT CEO Michelle Tynan said.

“This is not like last year, Delta is different. The primary aim of the restrictions is to stop people moving around and keep people safe. We all have to play our part in helping control the spread of the virus.”

Ms Tynan said the market has responded to reflect the government’s restrictions. Property inspections have moved online, and agents are producing more videos of higher quality to entice buyers.

“But now the lockdown has been extended, we do need to have another look at the restrictions. There are many moving parts to real estate, it is not just about sales. There are people who need to move to be safe, there are also people under financial stress.

“We are hoping to have constructive discussions with the government to resolve some of these issues, ” Ms Tynan said.

Anyone wanting to view a property in person in regional NSW may still do so as inspecting a potential new place of residence within regional or rural NSW is currently listed as a reasonable excuse to leave home under the NSW stay-at-home rules for regional NSW.

Although inspections must be conducted by private appointment for one person only, open inspections are not permitted. As in the ACT, onsite auctions are not permitted. All auctions in NSW must also be online.

Anyone wishing to move to a new place of residence or between different places of residence (either within the ACT or in another jurisdiction) may do so, but if you are leaving the ACT, you must ensure you comply with another jurisdiction’s travel requirements before entering. Furniture removalists have been included as essential workers, but only where the move cannot be reasonably delayed.

To learn more on how you can attend and participate in an online auction, contact the selling agent.

For more information on lockdown restrictions in the ACT, visit COVID-19 ACT. For information about NSW restrictions, visit NSW Health.

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Time to snap up a bargain as we all know what happens to house prices once a lockdown ends.

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