Prospective Illawarra home buyers will have to abide by new rules for real estate auctions and open inspections, due to the current COVID-19 lockdown.
Online auctions will be a go-to during lockdown, while changes to inspections are also expected to eliminate some "sticky beaks" who don't have a genuine intention to buy.
Under newly announced lockdown rules issued by the NSW government, the following activities must not take place in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour:
*Auctions that people attend in person.
*Open inspections of properties, although inspections may be conducted by private appointment for one person only.
Also, if you are a real estate agent or a prospective buyer and you live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in Greater Sydney, you must follow the stay at home rules.
Daniel Hastings from MMJ Real Estate Wollongong, also an auctioneer, said they didn't run any online auctions last weekend, but had scheduled some for this weekend for properties in Balgownie and Huntley.
Mr Hastings said it would be an "interesting test" of how the online auction process would work locally.
"Last time (there was a lockdown) there was more doom and gloom, because we weren't aware of how the market was going to be affected during the lockdowns of 2020," he said.
"But I think this time people are more comfortable that we are likely to get out of this pretty quickly... And with interest rates still being low and things like that, I think it will be more a bump than a big issue."
He expected Illawarra buyers would adapt quickly to these changes, particularly the online bidding process via platforms such as Auction Now. Mr Hastings said buyers and agents would need to adjust to inspections being conducted by private appointment for one person only.
"Most people inspecting are family units, or at least a couple, so we'll have to accommodate that a little more," he said.
"But I think the genuine buyers are still going to want to make inspections.
"We'll probably just have less of the 'sticky beak' element, with qualified buyers making inquiries and inspections and bidding effectively as well."
Real Estate Institute of NSW CEO Tim McKibbin said there were concerns that when auctions went online due to COVID-related restrictions, "that we wouldn't be able to generate that competitive tension that I think you can create in an environment where we're all in the space space".
However, he said last weekend's Sydney auction clearance rate of 81 per cent indicated that this wouldn't be an issue going forward.
"The strength in the market has demonstrated that going online isn't going to be an issue," he said.
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