Selling during level 3: 9000 Auckland houses for sale face tight new restrictions

Around 9000 houses for sale in Auckland have entered a tough new restricted phase under alert level 3 conditions.

A further 20,000 sales in other regions are less hampered under level two, but new measures are now also in place on them.

Bindi Norwell, Real Estate Institute chief executive, spelt out the changes which could have a big but temporary impact on the multi-billion dollar house sales market.

All 30,000 residential properties now on the market are affected by the three-day changes and around 9000 of those properties are in Auckland.

“Auckland open homes and property viewings are restricted to a maximum of two private viewings per property per day. Auckland auctions can occur but only via phone and online bidding,” she said.

House moving could occur during these three days but Auckland borders being shut did have an impact, she said.

People can travel into, out of, and through an alert level 3 region but only under extremely specific circumstances, Norwell said.

Those reasons are if they are returning to their primary home or relocating a home or business.

People travelling for those reasons did not require an exemption from the Ministry of Health for this lockdown level 3 but should bring documents to support their reason for travel, she said.

“For the rest of New Zealand in alert level 2- open homes, private viewings and auctions can occur, but you must be able to ensure that physical distancing can occur between all attendees from different bubbles,” she said.

“Buyers and sellers may move house within a region that is at alert Level 2. People can travel into, out of, and through an alert level 3 area if they are returning to their primary home or relocating a home or business,” she said.

The real estate sector had clear guidelines on what can and can’t happen at different Alert Levels, and agents and property managers were well versed at this given their experiences throughout last year, Norwell said.

“Buyers and sellers are also more used to engaging with digital tools as part of the buying and selling process, therefore, the move to alert levels 3 and 2 are unlikely to significantly slow down the real estate market given people’s adaptability and flexibility,” she predicted.

Data will also soon be supplied on the value of Auckland and New Zealand houses sold during these three busy days in February which is the height of real estate agent’s calendars.

Spring sees a surge but summer is when most people are buying and selling properties traditionally.

Kiri Barfoot, a Barfoot & Thompson director, said Tenancy Services had a list of guidelines for people renting.

Tenants are allowed to move to a new house and moving companies will be able to help tenants. Movers will have to adhere to physical distancing rules and should keep records for contact tracing purposes, Barfoot said.

Routine inspections of rental properties cannot take place unless it is an emergency situation, such as a landlord needing to confirm that emergency maintenance is required. Our property managers have been encouraging tenants to conduct self-inspections as an alternative during this time.

Maintenance can only occur in emergencies or with tenant approval. This might include plumbers, electricians, and tradespeople who can work on, and inside rental properties.

Professional services to clean or undertake maintenance of a vacant rental property can be arranged, Barfoot said.

Open homes where multiple people view a property cannot take place.

In-person/private viewings for rental properties can take place under Alert Level 3 with some restrictions. If the property is tenanted, landlords will need approval from the tenants, and viewings should only occur when the tenants are not on the property.

During viewings, physical distance should be maintained and contact with surfaces kept at a minimum. Anything that is touched should be wiped with disinfectant. In-person/private viewings should be limited to two per day per property, Barfoot said.

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