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Easing real estate restrictions: what you need to know

Following changes to social distancing and tough restrictions on businesses across Australia to stop the spread of COVID-19, many states and territories are beginning to look towards life post-coronavirus – including easing restrictions on open homes and on-site auctions. 

With so many different regulations across the country, read our guide to what this means for the property industry and how you can view properties in your state.

Easing restrictions giving industry a much-needed boost  

Since the Federal Government’s March decision to ban open homes and in-room auctions, we have seen the real estate industry, sellers, buyers and renters adapt to the use of online and digital means of viewing and selling property, but are still seeing a flow-on effect from the economic downturn.

“Although the real estate industry has evolved with online and digital technology, and we respect states and territories who wish to keep restrictions in place, we support those governments who recognises the importance of real estate on the economy,” says CEO of Hockingstuart and Belle Property, Peter Hanscomb.

“As one of the biggest assets a person can own, we believe it’s important that the public are able to sell, buy and rent without the pressure of heavy restrictions.”

Keeping community safety front of mind

While these initial easing of restrictions comes as a welcome relief, many government and health officials warn that social distancing and community safety must be kept front of mind when viewing property. Peter agrees, saying that agents running public open homes and on-site auctions need to ensure proper planning and protocols are followed.

“We have seen the real estate industry adapt quickly to restrictions and know we will see this same responsibility and professionalism in maintaining state and territory regulations at open for inspections and onsite auctions,” says Peter.

A snapshot of what each state and territory are doing


With the announcement this week by Premier Daniel Andrews, from Wednesday 13 May Victorian real estate businesses are allowed up to ten people at residential auctions and opens for inspections (this does not include the people required to facilitate the auction or open). Strict social distancing, personal hygiene and cleaning measures must be followed at all times. 

Visit Victorian Government for more information and updates.

New South Wales

Real estate agents can conduct open for inspections, and on-site and in-room auctions under strict hygiene and social distancing rules. Under these guidelines, agents are to limit the numbers attending inspect­­­ions, encouraging only registered bidders and visitors to properties, as well as following physical distancing requirements, stringent cleaning and hygiene measures, and attendance recording for contact tracing if needed.

Visit New South Wales Government for more information and updates.


Queensland real estate businesses can conduct open for inspections with a maximum of six people (including the real estate agent and homeowner/tenant) in the building and following the 1.5m and 4m2  social distancing rules. On-site auctions still remain banned for the moment.

Visit Queensland Government for more information and updates.

South Australia

Deemed one of the safest places in the world from the pandemic, the South Australian government will be keeping bans on open homes, and on-site and in room auctions for the foreseeable future. Private inspections and online auctions are permitted with social distancing.

Visit South Australian Government for more information and updates.

Australian Capital Territory

Bans will remain in place on open for inspections and onsite auctions across the territory. Private, one-on-one property viewing appointments are allowed, as well as virtual and online auctions with registered bidders.

Visit Australian Capital Territory Government for more information and updates.

Northern Territory

As part of a three-step plan to ease restrictions across the state, from May 1, real estate businesses can now conduct open homes and on-site auctions.

Visit Northern Territory Government for more information and updates.


Tasmania is holding strong on their ban of open home and on-site auctions for now.

Visit Tasmanian Government  for more information and updates.

Western Australia

Easing restrictions from April 27, open homes and displays homes are allows with appropriate record keeping of attendees, hygiene best practice and a 10-person limit with social distancing. On-site auctions are still currently banned across the state.

Visit Western Government for more information and updates.

To talk with one of our real estate experts, find a Hockingstuart agent or office near you.

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 restrictions and current regulations in place for real estate services, please visit your relevant state or territory government website.