Public auctions back on in Melbourne with a maximum of 10 people


Melburnians will be able to attend public auctions for the first time since stage four restrictions were introduced in August, under new rules announced Sunday.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said a maximum of 10 people could attend public auctions from 11.59pm Sunday, under new rules set to see Melbourne work towards a COVID 19-safe summer.


The announcement is expected to be a second shot in the arm for Melbourne’s property market, which ground to a halt when stage four restrictions were announced in early August.


The restrictions  banned private inspections and public auctions for seven weeks, seeing buyers and vendors go into hibernation.


When the ban on private in-person inspections was eased on September 28, auction numbers rebounded, though not to the amount expected during a normal spring market across the city.


But that could quickly change, with agents reporting they had been inundated with calls from vendors and buyers wanting to take part in traditional public auctions immediately after the announcement.


“I’ve already received emails from directors in the past half an hour and our phones have been ringing off the hook,” Hodges chief executive officer Carmel Kellett told Domain.


Ms Kellett welcomed the return of public auctions, adding that another positive would be the return of non-essential renovation work which would allow prospective vendors to fix up their homes before selling, also announced on Sunday.


Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan hailed the result a success and said the industry body had been lobbying the state government for public auctions to return.


“It’s very good news,” Ms Calnan said. “We’re now sending out information to agents because work permits are still required and agents still must work from home,” she said.


Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy said this new step would make all the difference to Melbourne’s property market.


“It’s a really positive step for us,” Mr McCarthy said. “I think vendors and buyers have put faith in online auctions but there are some who have been holding back to be able to do a traditional outside auction.”


Mr McCarthy said the move would also be good for the mental health of agents across the city who had been unable to undertake auctions face-to-face.


Marshall White Stonnington director and auctioneer John Bongiorno said momentum had returned to Melbourne’s market, and this news would support it further.


“I think we’re all craving some social interaction [at work],” Mr Bongiorno said.


There had been a boost in listings since the ban on private inspections had been lifted, and he expected a similar boost with news that public auctions were back.


“I think it will continue the momentum that’s already there,” Mr Bongiorno said.


The new relaxations only apply to auctions in Melbourne, with regional Victoria still out of bounds for those from the city, protected by a”ring-of-steel”.


Public auctions with restrictions have been allowed in regional Victoria since September, when rules there were eased.


“I know these changes can’t be absolutely everything everyone wants. But they are the steps we can safely take that will make life a little bit easier,” Mr Andrews said during his regular press conference on Sunday.



Ref: MELISSA HEAGNEY, SENIOR JOURNALIST (on 18 Oct 2020). Public auctions back on in Melbourne with a maximum of 10 people. Retrieved from,a%20COVID%2019%2Dsafe%20summer.


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