Melbourne Real Estate Update – Permitted Work Covid19 Stage 4 Lockdown and Positive Outlook

In this issue:

  • Melbourne Real Estate Update – Positive Outlook
  • CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index report as of 3 August 2020
  • Covid19 Update on what’s permitted during Stage 4 lockdown in the Real Estate Industry in Victoria and Melbourne Metro

The current Covid19 stage 4 lockdown restrictions in Melbourne Metro area and stage 3 restrictions in Regional areas is resulting in resilient Victorians being forced to manage the best we can in a bad situation. Many businesses are closing temporarily, some permanently and families are under pressure for many reasons, this pandemic is effecting many Australians. But we take comfort in knowing our capabilities to adapt and survive as a nation.
Like many other businesses and colleagues in the real estate industry, at Master Advocates we are still open for business as usual, just in an unusual way. Modified services that have been adapted to work from home and serve, inventing new ways to serve and complete duties and services for our clients with limitations in accordance with the stage 4 restrictions of Covid19.

CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index report as of 3 August 2020:

Australian housing values continue to drift lower, falling 0.6% in July as the COVID driven housing downturn moves through a third month of orderly decline.

Australian housing values racked up a third consecutive month of declines in July, with CoreLogic’s home value index dropping 0.6% over the month, a slight
improvement from June when the national series was down 0.7%. Across the capital cities, only Canberra (+0.6%) and Adelaide (+0.1%) posted a rise in dwelling values over the month, while Melbourne (-1.2%) and Sydney (-0.9%) led the decline, recording the largest month-on-month falls in July.

Regional markets are generally showing more resilience to falling values. Across the combined regional areas, housing values were unchanged in July compared with a 0.8% fall across the combined capital cities index. Regional Victoria (-0.5%) and regional Western Australia (-3.2%) were the only non-capital city markets to record a fall in values over the month.

According to CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, housing markets have remained relatively resilient through the COVID period so far. “The impact from COVID-19 on housing values has been orderly to-date, with CoreLogic’s national index falling only 1.6% since the recent high in April and housing turnover has recovered quickly after it’s sharp fall in late March and April.” “Record low interest rates, government support and loan repayment holidays for distressed borrowers have helped to insulate the housing market from a more significant downturn. Advertised supply levels have remained tight, with the total number of properties for sale falling a further 4.3% in the 4 weeks to July 27th, sitting 15.2% below where they were this time last year. Additionally, increased demand driven by housing specific incentives from both federal and state governments, especially for first home buyers, have become more substantial.”

Read the full CoreLogic Home Value Index Report

It does not matter how hard life gets, as long as we all have our health and each other, family and loved ones, we have what we need and compared to many other countries in the world that are suffering which much worse economic conditions and volatile environments, we are fortunate in Australia with an economy that was in reasonably good shape before this global pandemic forced lockdowns and a great health system that we all have access to. Things can always be worse and if we have hope and vision, we can always reinvent ways to do things, adapt and re-build no matter how much we suffer.

We at Master Advocates are using this time to help our clients prepare to act on property buying and selling needs with our Buyers & Vendors Advocacy services and leasing property campaigns via Property Management services as soon as ease of restrictions permit. There are many services still possible in real estate.

Virtual services help prepare and short list target property, but for many individuals and property types, inspecting in person is the essential due diligence step required before an unconditional transaction can take place for rent or sale. Everyone has a different risk appetite, using this time to do nothing toward reaching future goals to buy, sell or lease may leave you behind the pack. Even if you’re putting property goals or needs on hold, using this time to reflect on life and self-improvement or re-inventing yourself and business while staying connected with family and friends will be beneficial and in the process what you think you may need or your ideal goals were, may change.

Life is changing and evolving, even the personal experience we are all having in working from home with or without other family and kids around, makes everyone experience the home and space in a different way. Lockdown stage 4 is certainly the most confronting and challenging experience in that sense, with the home being the place of work, education, rest, play, exercise, entertainment and whatever recreation activities people can creatively invent. Being able to think of work in the future not always being at a common workplace with colleagues and work form home hybrid balance, expands the opportunities of what the physical bones and floor plan of a home needs to be and can look like as well as the location of the home being in a location that suits your passions and lifestyle.
Some of our clients are already planning to sell make plans to buy a new home to relocate to for a sea-change or tree-change to coastal and regional towns with the opportunity to continue working from home outside of the lockdowns and as the Covid19 pandemic eases and virus contained.

Melbourne Metro access to employment and CBD is constantly improving with transport and infrastructure to expand which will accommodate the need to be able to travel into the city for work when required. Our city is still on track to be the largest metropolitan capital city based on population in our nation within the next decade, planning your future now and possibilities outside of the pandemic can be the silver lining that no one could have perceived pre-Covid19.
What we can expect once property inspections to introduce new prospective buyers and tenants to view properties are permitted, will be a bottle neck of private property inspection bookings based on buyers and tenants waiting to act once restrictions ease and the number of vendors and landlords waiting for the same opportunities to market and show their properties for sale and lease as soon as conditions permit. This may feel like a small boom or rebound period which the market and economy will welcome and is something that we have started to experience in between each stage of the lockdown restrictions and announcements of public health risks this year due to Covid19 since March. Buyer and vendor confidence and market sentiment has been changing with the flow of the lockdowns like a saw tooth pattern, but as activity and economy can resume a somewhat normal activity, this should stabilise and then return to a consistent market activity and demand for buying and selling at a more confident level.

We all need a roof over our heads, the type of roof may change but primal instinct is to secure and seek shelter that’s one reason why historically the housing market is the strongest asset class that underpins our national economy and wealth with consistency for capital growth as demand and population increases and as an investment with fair and consistent yields and low vacancy rates.

Even during other economic and house crisis periods during our personal working experience of the last 20 years in Melbourne or as historical records indicate during crisis periods of the last 100+ years, when the housing market was predicted to take a dive and prices drop dramatically, the result was never as grim as predicted. Although the current economic lockdowns and state of the pandemic is unlike anything we have experienced before in our generation, the world has faced many tough times historically and devastation like war and pandemics such as the Spanish Flu. Some historic records report that even in Australia during the Spanish Flu pandemic when the property market was predicted to suffer dramatically, though it recovered in time and rebounded with growth better than expected.
The landscape of real estate may change temporarily and with confidence changing, prices may rise and fall, this presents opportunities and different types of buyers and sellers to emerge that will hold the market. This period is a small drop in the ocean compared to historical figures and once it is over and housing prices and demand rebounds, people may regret that they did not prepare and explore or consider opportunities.

The best advantage buyers can gain at this time is to prepare and research their criteria, communicate with agents and the same goes for tenants seeking to relocate out of lockdown. Being the first one in the booking system once agents can allow private inspections again will be a great advantage. We are already being shared multiple off market or pocket listings which sales agents have in the pipeline, preparing for marketing and inspection on the other side of the stage 4 lockdown.

We are performing due diligence and short listing and first round inspection waitlist to allow a head start for our clients that are seeking change to upsize, downsize, relocate, return as Expats or be first home buyers to start a new dream in a market which is proving more fair than ever before, both in opportunity of property prices and historical low bank interest rates available with the major banks between 2% to 3% on average. The opportunities for investors to benefit on property yields that are at better rates compared to the bank interest rates is another benefit. There are many people stressed and suffering with job loss or fear of redundancy, illness or access to financial lending capabilities with the banks. This will be a factor for some, but people can still adapt and change expectations short term to reach the end goal.
We are in a country that was fortunate to be able to support job loss and subsidise wages for those in hardship and with major banks supported by the government to hibernate mortgage repayments and interest rates for those in hardship so our people and the economy has a fighting chance to stabilise and recover. Others with more stability in the current times will have access to opportunities and benefits, especially in the property market to prosper and increase wealth, ultimately keeping our market within established suburbs stabilised.

Although the number of property listings available are low, you just need to work harder to find them, as they are out there, just not in the usual way at present or in your face online. People’s perception is their reality be it positive or negative, one important thing to remember is, tough times don’t last, tough people do! It may seem tough in the moment and day by day, but small steps to a positive goal, long term will give you a chance at a better than expected outcome. The goal posts may change and sometimes you need to change the goal and expectations several times. The main thing is that you keep moving forward and trying. Don’t give up!

If you speak with anyone dealing with rehabilitation after surviving and beating a terminal illness or traumatic accident, they have dealt with tough and devastating times and found a way to overcome them and be better and stronger than before and self-belief after discovering what they are capable of when faced with a challenge. This puts life in perspective, what is important and your own personal values. You can often feel isolated and like the world is going on without you. In this current climate with Covid19, we are all experiencing it together and will re-build together, that is a positive factor of our times.

Communicating with sales agents, buyers agents and property managers on the phone right now to share your goals and needs and detailed criteria may be the best way to touch base with another human and stay connected during this lockdown as well as planting a seed with a professional that may be able to connect your goals and criteria with the right property and property owner to make it happen on or off market.

Master Advocates – Here to Help Serve and Advise

As Buyers Agents and Property Managers with a combined 40 years real estate experience in Melbourne, we know how to adapt to continue serving our clients and adding value in any market.

Resilience is part of who we are!

With over 40 years combined real estate experience in Melbourne, Master Advocates strength is our true personal focus to deliver excellence across independent Buyers Advocacy, Vendors Advocacy and Property Management services.
Husband and wife team, Mark and Michelle met working together in real estate in 2002. Mark being a second generation Melbourne, Northside agent started his career in 2000. Michelle who always had a passion for property, already invested in buying her own home before starting her career in real estate in 2002.

It has now been more than 13 years since Michelle almost lost her life at age 24 in a traumatic accident which took place at the real estate workplace the couple worked at the time when they were engaged to be married later in that same year.

In 2007 the accident occurred when Michelle was on the footpath outside of her workplace, an out of control car came off the road, hitting Michelle and traumatically amputating her right leg. She rehabilitated triumphantly, eventually learning to run again and competing for Athletics Essendon, went on to break a 100m and 200m World Record in the T42 Female Above-Knee Amputee Sprint, was an Australian Institute of Sport Athletics Scholarship holder and represented Australia at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, competing in the 100m T42 Sprint Final and finishing 5th in the World.

Licensed Estate Agents, CEA Real Estate Institute of Victoria [REIV]

Accredited Members Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia [REBAA]

Specialising in Buyers Advocacy, Vendors Advocacy, Boutique Property Management and Trust Account Management.


Our full comprehensive Buyers Advocacy Service is just one of our methods where we take on the buying process from initial search to purchase, settlement and beyond for our clients, by sourcing property within our On and Off Market Real Estate Networks throughout Melbourne and Victoria wide.


We can also add value and benefit to clients who have already sourced a property on their own but need help with the process. This can be gained from our years of experience in the game to make sure you enter a negotiation to purchase being well informed with due diligence, selecting the right property to ultimately create wealth with property as an investment or to occupy.

Auction or Private Sale Due Diligence and Negotiation/Bidding Services most common scenario before contacting us:

You have found your ideal property and it’s coming up soon for auction or ready to enter private sale negotiations. You know it is a once in a lifetime opportunity you really don’t want to miss out on. Yet you feel nervous and anxious. Participating in real estate auctions and negotiations can be very daunting and confusing for the inexperienced buyer. You don’t want to miss out, but you also don’t want to pay too much or be choosing the wrong type of property.

Buying property is not something one does every day and for most people, they only buy a few properties in their lifetime.

We understand how stressful the impact of economic and real estate market sentiment, price changes and trends can be on property buyers, vendors, tenants and landlords. We are here to support our clients as much as possible. Operating in accordance with current state government regulations and recommendations of best practice from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria and Consumer Affairs Victoria, essentially online by email and various software, on the phone, video conferencing and in the cloud with digital verified and protected documentation.

We take the stress and worry out of the property search and auction or private sale and bidding process.

Call us or get in touch online for a free consultation and discussion about your property goals and needs, even if you are just initially seeking some tips on the basics of the buying process.

9379 1919 or 0408 988 118

Master Advocates Real Estate Services Main Website


If anyone needs support or advice or just wants to talk, please do not hesitate to contact us at Master Advocates.

Covid19 Update on what’s permitted during Stage 4 lockdown in the Real Estate Industry in Victoria and Melbourne Metro, extracts below, as shared by the REIV to Members this week.

The REIV have promised to keep its members updated with clarification on government directives and they are doing a fantastic job at following up and keeping members informed during this pandemic and have consistently done so since the beginning of this year as the matter escalated in Victoria.

Update Saturday 8 August 2020
Below is a further update on real estate matters for the next few weeks. REIV discussions with government continue and they will endeavour to share updates as they come through.

All of the information below must be read keeping in mind the following:
• Workplace Directions; requirements like face coverings, curfew timings, social distancing, one person only etc. must be observed at all times. Further details available online on permitted work duties and Covid19 safe practice procedures.

Workplace Directions

• Your workplace includes your office, a property that you may be leasing/ selling/managing, car that you use while travelling to the workplace
• Any individual performing the permitted work listed below must have a valid permitted worker permit at all times.

Permitted Worker and Childcare Permit Scheme Directions

Department of Health and Human Services VIC: Permitted Worker Scheme Covid19:

• The permit is only applicable for the specific permitted work we have listed below. Heavy fines apply for the individual and the business so please exercise caution.
• Information provided here applies for all property types – residential and commercial/ industrial

1. Services required for end or start of lease
• This can include final inspections, key collections, final cleaning and any other services directly related to the start or end of lease only.
• You must ensure that the requirements listed above are adhered to.
• The tenant may move in or out of the property keeping all the requirements like face coverings, one person at a time etc. in mind
2. Services related to completing a property settlement
• This can include final inspections, key collections, final cleaning etc. and any other services directly related to the settlement.
• You must ensure that the requirements listed above are adhered to
• The buyer may move into the property keeping all the requirements like face coverings, one person at a time etc. in mind.
3. All other inspections can be online only
4. Auctions must be online only

As advised earlier:
• All inspections must be by private appointment only
• All auctions must be online only
• People should work from home unless they are unable to
Travel from between Melbourne and Regional Victoria is only permitted for one of the reasons stated under “METRO MELBOURNE – WHAT WORK IS PERMITTED”
• A resident of Melbourne must adhere to the Stage 4 restrictions even when they travel to Regional Victoria.
• A resident of regional Victoria must adhere to the Stage 4 restrictions while they are in Melbourne for the permitted reasons.
• A buyer or tenant moving in or out of a property, may travel between the areas while meeting the requirements of Stage 4.
• A prospective buyer or prospective tenant cannot travel between the areas, only online inspections are permitted

Available online:

• The Fair Work Commission has announced some flexibility in Real Estate Award for commission only arrangements.

• An update on VCAT operations under Stage 4.

• Members should consider redirecting mail during this office closure period.

Stay Safe and make the most with planning for the other side of the stage 4 restrictions.

Update Tuesday 11 August 2020

REIV are receiving a number of questions regarding the services permitted during the 6-week lock down. Discussions with government are continuing and the REIV expect that there will be some revisions to the current Directions. All of the REIV feedback has been taken on-board and some concessions will be made to allow the sector to continue helping people move in and out of properties.

However, until we have seen the written Directions the REIV recommend that movement of agents in Metro Melbourne be limited to the following:

1. Work that can be done remotely i.e. from your home can still be done. Work activities that you can perform from home are permitted. For example, signing up new clients, negotiations, document signing, etc. that could be managed via video calls, emails or phones can continue. The Directions do not limit this.

2. Lease ending during this period:
• Services related to the end of a lease can be performed. Ensure correct permits are in place and all social distancing measures, curfew period, face coverings, etc., as per Workplace Directions are implemented.
• Arrange a contact less handover of keys, electronic exchange of documents where possible
• Agent can go to the property to conduct a final inspection.
• REIV recommendation – document the property thoroughly with photographs and video as there is unlikely to be another opportunity for the agent to do this.
3. Lease signed before 6th August and commencing during this period
• If a lease was signed prior to 6th August and the tenant is expected to move in during this period, they can do so.
• The Directions DO NOT explicitly permit the agent to visit the property to assist in this process. However, you can assist the new tenant via email, phone, and any other non-contact methods.
• REIV recommendation – consider using key locks, couriers or any other means to provide keys to the new tenant
4. Signing a new lease during the period
• The Directions do not allow for any photography, video, etc. i.e. no physical access to the property. This applies to professional photographers and the Agent.
• A person living in the property may be able to assist, if appropriate.
• Where a potential tenant is willing to sign the lease electronically, without a physical inspection, you may do so.
• REIV recommendation – images captured at the end of lease final inspection could assist you in re-leasing the property. Please ensure detailed records are maintained where such a contract is entered into
5. The Minister’s Office has re-confirmed that no movement is permitted from Melbourne to Regional Victoria for the purpose of inspecting a property.

6. There are still some agents hosting online auctions from their offices. Online auctions can only be held from your home. There are no provisions for visiting the office to sell a property. We urge you to reconsider the risks you are taking. The fines imposed are very high so please act with caution. A reminder to also update listings that may be still advertising inspections by private appointment.

7. REIV have requested Consumer Affairs Victoria to extend the due date of audits for real estate offices.

Please remember that all Directions are written with the objective of limiting the movement and physical interaction amongst people. Keep that consideration in mind when you are weighing up whether an activity should be done during the lock down period.
This is not just for property industry activities but all activities essentially.

Update Wednesday 12 August 2020

Update to the permitted work premises list and a message from your peers

The REIV were pleased to advise that, as a result of our multiple discussions with government, a change has been made to the Permitted Work Premises List. The list now allows for “Services related to property settlement or commencement/end-of-lease (including removalists)”.

Please consider this to apply to both commercial and residential property as the document refers to “real estate”.

Key points for today’s update:

REIV are excited to share the second in our series of messages shared by some Members. Now, more than ever, we need to adapt, innovate and and keep looking after each other.

Stay safe and warmest regards,

Mark Errichiello
Director, Licensed Estate Agent, CEA (REIV)
Accredited (REBAA), DipPropServ (Agency Mgt)

P: +61 3 9379 1919
M: +61 408 988 118

Information sources: REIV, CoreLogic RPData, Master Advocates Real Estate Services, DHHS, Victorian State Government

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