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Woodards Roadmap Response

At Woodards we help people make their dreams a reality through property and change lives by supporting programs that give everybody a safe place to call home. Now, more than ever, a safe place to call home is critical to everyone’s wellbeing. Our first response to Victoria’s Roadmap to Recovery was one of frustrations and disappointment. Like many people in our State, our work is a huge part of how we find meaning in our lives. We were disappointed that the Moratorium on Evictions was extended until at least April 2021. We were disappointed that our salespeople will be unable to operate effectively until at least the 26th of October. We were very disappointed when the REIV called for a boycott of Rent Relief Negotiations with our tenants, which will only harm those most vulnerable to our current circumstances.  

At Woodards, we don’t actually represent Tenants, Landlords, Vendors and Buyers, we just help people. We were disappointed by the self-interest we see in some areas of our community. Those who would rather treat our aged population as fodder for this terrible disease, or hang our healthcare workers out to dry. But this was just our first response, and we don’t act without thinking first. 

So, as we thought about it, processed the information at hand and zoomed out from our own troubles to our wider world, we realised something.  This Pandemic isn’t about us, it’s about everyone. This isn’t about a false dichotomy between the economy or our health, they are one in the same. Good luck to those who try to provide good health to 6.3million Victorians without a working economy, and to those who wish to keep the economy turning without their health.

Our first response was disappointment, our second was acceptance. We accept that we all need to make significant sacrifices in tough times to stop the spread of this virus. We accept that not everything is in our locus of control, but our reaction to it is always our own. We accept that our leaders are flawed, and we also know that of the 300,000 public servants from their 1,800 departments, there are many, many people working for our benefit. A carpenter does not frustrate himself with anger at the sawdust in his workshop, and as members of a free democracy we know that our Governments will make mistakes. We have accepted all this, and know that while our salespeople can’t operate effectively until at least the 26th of October, and while our Property Managers will be under unimaginable pressure for much longer, that this too shall pass. Our first response was disappointment, our second was acceptance, and our third is optimism.

We are hopeless optimists at Woodards (most real estate agents are). We are an incredibly important market driver, giving people the pathway they need to find, buy, lease or sell the property of their dreams. It is no wonder then that we are now optimistic about the outlook in Property for the medium term. The modelling used by our State Government is apparently conservative, with a likelihood of succeeding of 97% - almost as good as our clearance rates. If this is the case, then it follows that conservative modelling will allow for a speedier recovery than planned; of this we are hopeful. And even if we stick to the current timeline, globally there has been a direct correlation between the length and severity of the restrictions in a given country, and the speed and strength of the recoveries; the stricter the lockdown, the stronger the recovery. We are optimistic about the Property Market rebounding, for transaction volumes and prices to increase and for people to get back to a new normal. The market will always ebb and flow, from peak to trough and back again. Melbournians are special breed though, and we are optimistic that we will not only ride this out, but also recover, back better than ever.

Yes, there are plenty of pieces of the puzzle still to be placed, but like all great puzzles they are best completed with patience. We need everyone to follow the rules, play your part and never give up, just like whoever will win the 2020 Grand Final (we took a quick poll and it looks like our Directors, by no small margin, are pies supporters). We need the Government to match the severity of their lockdown with stimulus that is targeted in the right places and proportional to the impact these industries have suffered. We need Stamp Duty reform, or at least a holiday, actually, we need a holiday as well – preferably somewhere without COVID-19.

We need to stick together, and to talk more about the practical solutions to the myriad issues we face in our new world. In our opinion, there has been far too much chatter about the rules, what you are allowed to do and what you are not. We need less of this, more common sense, and more people recognising our Australian Ingenuity. This innovative spirit has taken us so far, why keep going without it? Just like the carpenter, we will need all the tools at our disposal to get to a better place, and we have many. We can be more connected and get more done without moving from our homes than ever before. We can summon boxes of food and packages of essentials with the click of a button or the tap of an app. We live like only kings and emperors of the past. We haven’t heard enough about how lucky we are. And we haven’t heard enough about how adaptable, intelligent and tough humans can be, not to mention tolerant.  

Our first response was disappointment, our second acceptance, we are now optimistic and here, forever innovating, for the communities we serve.