Regional Victoria, it’s time to celebrate – at least a little!

Yesterday, Australia heard that you’ve jumped ahead of your metropolitan counterparts and into the third step of the Andrews’ government’s COVID-19 restrictions road map.

This change from midnight on Thursday, September 17 finally gives you the freedom to roam past home boundaries whenever you choose and for whatever reason.

This includes taking a spring holiday break anywhere in regional Victoria, having a drink at your local pub and getting your hair cut as well as getting back into your favourite sport (non-contact sport for adults and community sport for children).

Our real estate industry in regional Victoria has reason to celebrate as well with up to 10 people now allowed at open home inspections and onsite auctions now on offer. Just be aware though that auctions can still only be conducted outside with everyone needing to wear face masks, except for the auctioneer.

If all this isn’t good news, what is?

Grim outlook continues in metro Melbourne

But suburban Melbourne – we know you’re still experiencing a highly difficult period.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV)’s president Leah Calnan has said she’s pleased about the third step jump for regional Victoria, acknowledging it was great news for the area. But when it comes to metropolitan Melbourne’s real estate sector, she admitted this week was simply a new week with the same fight ahead.

On Monday, the REIV called on the Federal government to review Premier Andrews’ COVID-19 roadmap on behalf of buyers and vendors who have saved and invested in property but who were now unable to sell this asset to tide them over the current tough times.

The REIV is especially concerned about one-on-one private home inspections still not being allowed in metropolitan Melbourne, a decision it believes will hurt many Victorians suffering from financial distress and homelessness.

The announcement came after the REIV met with government ministers last Thursday, September 10, to urge them again to consider one-on-one inspections by appointment.

Allowing such events will see people able to physically consider a property before splashing out considerable cash and the REIV says they could be done under COVID-Safe guidelines, with measures and protocols already in place during stage 3 of the lockdown ensuring everyone’s safety.

Ms Calnan said the meeting with the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne, and Victoria’s deputy chief health officer Professor Allen Cheng, allowed her to double down on this crucial request that the REIV has already pressed for several times.

“Again, we ran through the practical ways we could facilitate safe one-on-one inspections,” she said.

“It was no different on Thursday to what it was the week before or the week prior – but we had a different audience with the deputy chief health officer being there.”

Unfortunately, the only relief the REIV has obtained from this meeting is a mention from the government on Monday that their request is still being worked through and considered.

REIV CEO Gil King said he wasn’t asking for public auctions and open house inspections for all, but private one-on-one inspections were “absolutely safe”.

“This is about people – buyers, vendors and tenants alike,” he said.

“Allowing private inspections means that the market will be ready for revival when the time is right.”

Here’s hoping the time will soon be right for our great city – the most liveable city in the world for so many years – to open up again soon, both for laughing and good times and for people to start afresh in the many wonderful homes Melbourne has to offer.