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With NSW set to lift its ban on group open homes and auctions this weekend, the head of one of Queensland’s biggest agencies has called for the Sunshine State to follow suit, arguing “there are more crowds at coffee shops”.
Sarah Hackett, managing director of Place, said reinstating “open for inspections” was easily possible with strict conditions, such as letting small numbers in at a time.
She said that open houses and auctions would help to stimulate the market and increase competition.
“I would 100 per cent call for it,” she told The Courier-Mail. “There are more crowds at coffee shops than what we would do,” she said. “We could really control the numbers and the conditions. We control the front door. We’re in charge. Absolutely we could do this with strict safe distances. We want our clients to feel safe and we want our staff to feel safe.”
Antonia Mercorella, head of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland – the state’s peak industry body – yesterday wrote to two ministers that hold the key to the sector’s operations under COVID-19, seeking consultation for a staged return to work timeline.
On NSW opening up auctions and open homes from this weekend, she said: “It’s not totally surprising, but perhaps a little bit earlier than we had anticipated.”
On Friday the Queensland Health Minister allowed for open house inspections “with a maximum of 6 people including the real estate agent inside the building at any one time, with no more than one person per 4 square metres”. Auctions were not included.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella.
“We are not aware at this stage that the Queensland Government or health minister is looking to go as far (as NSW),” Ms Mercorella said
“I am in the process of writing to the Health Minister and the Attorney-General and Minister Justice, suggesting we would like to have a conversation to see what their plans are for the next stage in relaxation.”
She said no one wanted a second wave of coronavirus cases to occur.
“We want to make sure that we don’t go back prematurely and too early. We certainly wouldn’t want to see a second wave, that would be disastrous. So our view is that while we are keen to get back to business as usual, we have to be very cautious in our approach.”
NSW, which had the highest number of coronavirus cases in Australia, announced its ban on open homes and onsite auctions would be lifted from this weekend, after almost six weeks of restrictions.