On-site real estate auctions will be able to go ahead from Wednesday after Victoria announced on Monday morning that it would begin loosening restrictions.
Auctions will be limited to 10 people, plus the minimum amount of people required to facilitate the sale and those selling the house.
The same eased restrictions will apply to open for inspections, and real estate agents will be required to take the name and phone number of each visitor to make it easier to contact trace.
On-site auctions have been banned since March, when restrictions began. The lack of auctions has seen buyer activity plummet in Melbourne, with online auctions struggling to replace their in-person counterparts.
Victoria now joins NSW, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia in announcing the easing of auction bans.
Agents have welcomed the news, but said they wouldn’t be rushing back into in-person auctions en masse.
Marshall White director John Bongiorno said they’d be planning to get as back to normal as possible by late June, but a few already listed properties could potentially convert to the classic auction style.
“I think it’s really exciting, we’ve had a lot of vendors waiting for this announcement,” he said. “We’ll start to set up auction dates from 20 and 27 June.”
Jellis Craig chief executive Nick Dowling said his company would keep most auctions and expression of interest campaigns as-is.
“The ones that are mid-campaign, the majority will remain the way they are,” he said. “There will be some consideration to switching online auctions to in-person, and new listings will be on a case-by-case basis.
“I think if [agents] feel there is sufficient demand for that property to warrant an auction, I think they will make quick decisions around this but it won’t be across the board.”
Mr Bongiorno was keen for on-site auctions to go ahead in some way.
“A lot of the auctions we had were withdrawn because people felt they were marketing with their hands behind their back,” he said.
Mr Dowling said for a little while agents might have to change the casual nature of Melbourne”s auctions.
“There will be some new ways of running an auction. In Victoria, it will be through registrations and invite-only to limit numbers,” he said. “While we can run an [on-site] auction, it will be under limited circumstances.
“This is new ground, so we’ll see an invite-only process may be the way that we go.”
Wakelin Property Advisory director Jarrod McCabe said it was good that on-site auctions could now go ahead, and that he felt the 10-person limit was reasonable.
“It’ll give people who have been wanting to and needing to sell the opportunity to hold a public auction,” he said. “It’s still sort of a private auction, and you won’t have that emotion or a large crowd but it’s a step in the right direction.”