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What each state's restriction status means for real estate

While the Victorian government has announced a Stage 4 restrictions amid a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 cases, most states and territories are allowing open home inspections and in-person auctions with limited attendance.

Here’s a state-by-state look at what each government is now permitting, and what it means for real estate in your region.


From midnight 2 August, Metro Melbourne entered Stage 4 lockdown restrictions for a period of six weeks until Sunday 13 September, while the rest of Victoria entered Stage 3 restrictions.

Melburnians have just four reasons to leave their homes including shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work. 

Under stage four restrictions, shopping for food and necessary supplies must be within 5km distance from the resident’s home, except if the nearest supermarket is further than 5km. Only one person per household can leave to go shopping per day. Exercise must take place within 5km of home, and must be in metropolitan Melbourne. Exercise is limited to one hour, once per day and can only be carried out with one other person (no family or share house groups). There are exemptions to the 5km radius rule for those visiting intimate partners. 

In addition, there is now a curfew on Melbourne residents between 8pm and 5am. 

The mandatory wearing of masks has been extended across the entire state of Victoria. 

Digital open for inspections and auctions will remain as per Stage 3 restrictions and agents are required to keep records of attendees’ names and contact details, as well as enforcing strict social distancing and hygiene practices when people do visit properties. Open for inspections must be carried out by private appointment only.

The Victorian government is yet to confirm whether Melbourne residents can travel outside the 5km radius to inspect a property for sale.

Metropolitan Melbourne will re-commence its lockdown restrictions for the next six weeks. Picture: Getty

New South Wales

The NSW government has announced the return of open home inspections and on-site auctions after a six-week ban due to COVID-19.

As of 9 May, the government gave the green light on open for inspections and live auctions.

Physical distancing of 1.5m will still be required, good hygiene at open homes and auctions is required with hand sanitiser made available, and any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to attend the auction or enter the property.

In terms of the number of people allowed within the property, the rule is to “manage the number of people entering a small property”.

“Choosing a home is one of the biggest decisions anybody makes, and easing the restrictions to ensure people can more easily inspect, buy or rent a property is an important step for NSW,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

“The real estate industry has been adaptable in transitioning to online auctions, property inspections by appointment or online, and now as we make the move back to a more normal mode of operation we must ensure safety measures such as social distancing remain a key part of the process.”

As of 9 May, the government has given the green light on open for inspections and live auctions. Picture: Getty

Western Australia

The WA Government also relaxed their restrictions, moving to a Phase 4 on their recovery roadmap.

Where previously gatherings of more than two people were previously banned, forcing real estate agents to conduct private inspections or host property showings via digital video platforms this has been drastically relaxed.

There are now no restrictions on gatherings aside from the one-person-per-2sqm rule meaning that all existing gathering limits and the 100/300 rule removed.

Provided local infection rates remain low then the WA government plans to introduce Phase 5 on Saturday, July 18 (effective from 11.59pm Friday, July 19) and will result in the removal of the 2sqm rule.

It is also expected to see the removal of all gathering restrictions, other COVID-related rules introduced by the WA Government, and the 50% capacity limit for major venues.

However, plans to ease WA’s tough border control have been put on hold amid the spike in numbers in Victoria.

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Northern Territory

Open homes and in-person auctions were back on in the Northern Territory as of noon Friday 1 May, in a move welcomed by the local property industry.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced stage one adjustments on 30 April, “for simple and safe outdoor activities where physical distancing can be maintained at all times”.

“This also includes allowing real estate open house inspections and auctions, and gatherings in homes,” he said in a statement.

The NT Government will continue to roll out updates on restrictions through May and June.


Commencing midday July 3, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer relaxed the rules surrounding real estate auctions and introduced further relaxation of the rules surrounding open house inspections.

In-room auctions and open houses can now be conducted freely with up to 50 people present, provided no more than one person per 2sqm for spaces less than 200sqm and 4smq for larger spaces. Strict hygiene standards, social distancing and the collection of personal data for potential COVID-19 tracing purposes will also continue to be required.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Government allowed the return of open homes and in-person auctions as of midnight 8 May.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced that real estate open houses and auctions could resume with a maximum of 10 people, along with the expectation of strict health measures.

“Physical distancing must be maintained and any of the businesses impacted by these changes should be very careful and measured in the coming days as they change their operations,” Mr Barr cautioned.

South Australia

South Australia has recorded one new case of coronavirus since 23 April, and as of 11 May, live auctions and open for inspections can proceed.

There is a limit of one person per four square metres and a maximum of 75 attendees on-site at one time, excluding real estate agents facilitating the open home. There must also be a record of who attends in place.


Tasmania took the first step towards phasing restrictions on 18 May.

Under phase one, gatherings of up to 10 people for indoor and outdoor gatherings are allowed including auctions and open homes. 

All attendee names and contact details must be recorded so they can be contacted if someone present turns out to have had the coronavirus.