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Sight unseen sales increase as private inspections may return within a week

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September 13, 2021

Hi ,

There were 151 auctions reported over the weekend resulting in a 95% clearance rate.  80 sold at auction, 64 before auction and 262 were postponed. There were additional 114 private sales.

More buyers seem to becoming more comfortable buying properties sight unseen with a considerable rise in agents offering virtual tours of properties and then surprisingly, the properties being sold within days after with competition from multiple buyers.  Most of the auctions that were held and sold over the weekend likely would have been for properties that had not been inspected in person.  Vendors and selling agents are walking buyers through via Zoom and Facetime with purchasers having the ability to ask questions directly to the vendor and also having the ability to request to see specific parts of the property.  I attended six virtual inspections on Saturday and felt they all worked very well with also having the additional bonus of having direct access to the vendor to ask specific questions.  Of course, not as good as viewing them in person but unfortunately this is the best we all can do at present.

Obviously there are some risks with buying a property this way but some buyers are tired of waiting and others have sold their homes and need to find somewhere to live.  On the flip side of this, some vendors have purchased properties and need to sell whilst other vendors are keen to keep things moving along and not have to wait until the news about private inspections.  Building inspections of properties are permitted which assists in conducting the appropriate due diligence prior to purchasing.

Restrictions eased in regional Victoria last week which allows upto 10 people to view a property at any one time (1 per 4 sqm rule applies).  Even though onsite auctions are now allowed, some are still being conducted online due to the demand from Melbourne buyers who are unable to attend the auctions.

Many properties that did go through to auction over the weekend sold well with multiple bidders.  The auction of 12 Shenfield Avenue, Bonbeach had 12 registered bidders.  As this is a land site the risk of purchasing site unseen is considerably less.  However, buyers who lived outside of 5 km of the property would need to rely on google maps and street view to view the surrounding areas.  The property sold for $1,950,000 which was $250,000 above the reserve.

22 Euston Street, Malvern was another property that sold extremely well at auction.  505 sqm, with no herage overlay and no value in the house.  The new home site sold for a huge $545,000 above the reserve price for $2,415,000.

We are eagerly awaiting the announcement this week in relation to when private inspections of unoccupied properties will be permitted.  The premier has indicated this will be when 70% of the eligible population have had their first vaccination.  Some clarification is needed as to what  an ‘unoccupied’ property actually is.  After lockdown 2 last year, one on one inspections were allowed on all properties being vacant or occupied however the vendor/tenant of an occupied property were not allowed to be home, and were only able to leave for one of the four reasons to leave home.  We should know more in the coming days.

Have a great week.

Kim Easterbrook

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