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Covid-19 Week 2 from home: Melbourne property market report - new rules, tips for buyers and sellers

Jarrod McCabe, Wakelin Property Advisory:

- Hi, everyone. Well, welcome to week two of social distancing and hence working from home. Obviously, it's been an interesting 24 hours in the real estate sector.

The prime minister last night announced that all auctions and open-for-inspections are now to be banned as part of the new regulations being brought into effect, which rules out any future public auctions, obviously, in the short term, and also open-for-inspections. We'll need to revert to private appointments, which at this stage our understanding is that they are able to proceed.

So that will be the best way for any prospective buyers who are still out there in the market place to consider moving forward. In terms of transacting real estate, for a lot of parts of the country, it actually won't change too much, because the predominant method of sale in Australia is private sale.

However, obviously, in the capital cities, the auction method is quite common. So the way that things are likely to move is that it either, most sales will be via private sale, so that gives a couple of options including expressions of interest. I think there'll be a lot more off-market transactions that are likely to occur in coming weeks. Now, for that aren't aware, the off-market sale process typically works when an agency is not looking to advertise a property to the public, it's just using their database to try and attract buyers. Typically, they're considered qualified buyers and those that are quite active and ready to buy. And it obviously saves on marketing expenses and in the current market, where you could very well be advertising to a lot of people that really aren't interested in transacting real estate, it can be a way of saving some money, just to still try and get a sale to go ahead.

The important things at the moment, from a vendor's perspective in that light, is to make sure you've got an agent that's very, very active in their market and has got a really good position in their market, so that they do have a strong database and that they will be able to bring through qualified buyers at the moment, that would be interested in your property.

Agent selection is always an important thing when selling properties, but it's even more important in the current climate.

From a buyer's point of view, make sure that you're making your agents, or the agents that are in the areas that you're interested in purchasing, that they're very aware that you're still out and about, that you are still interested in property. Because they will put properties forward to you and give you options to buy.

Obviously, you've got to be a little bit cagey around how much information you give, but if you don't give them enough they won't consider you a qualified buyer and you may not get the phone calls and the opportunities to purchase property.

There could be some opportunities around in coming weeks. There's still a fair bit happening, albeit that things are going to change. There was due to be another, certainly in excess of 1,000 auctions this weekend, and a further 1,000 on the 4th of April. However, obviously with last night's turn of events, I would expect that that's likely to change. The clearance rate's certainly been steadily dropping over the last few weeks anyway, so many of the qualified buyers that have been out in the marketplace are now pulling back and, or have purchased, sorry, and now are no longer being replaced by other buyers. So, look, it's interesting times.

Keep in contact, look after yourselves, and all the best with your property purchasing or selling in the present times. Thank you.