This Saturday, Australia marks the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli. There will be dawn services, parades, ceremonies, community events and BBQs across the country. It’s a public holiday, so workers will get at least a half day off. Aussies everywhere will be celebrating the freedom hard-won by our ancestors.
The one thing you won’t be able to do? Buy a house. Well, in Queensland at least.
What Queensland state law says
Under Queensland state law, agents can’t do business on Anzac Day. This means open houses, inspections, auctions, sales and more. In fact, there’s a whole section of an Act dedicated to it.
Section 34 of the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 says ‘Real estate sales prohibited (:) A person must not conduct the business of selling real estate on Anzac Day.’ The maximum fine is 40 penalty units. Currently, one penalty unit = $113.85. This means those caught selling houses on Anzac Day could be fined up to $4,554.
Agents are playing it fast and loose with the fines. According to ads on major real estate websites, there are dozens of inspections scheduled for Saturday. Then again, agents might not care. The commission rate for an agent is around 2.5%. The median price for houses and units in Queensland is around $430,000. This would make the average commission a bit over $10,000. Agents might be willing to risk it.
What about the other states?
Other states don’t have the same laws. The laws only restrict certain shops and entertainment venues. State peak bodies for the real estate industry, like the REIV and the REINSW, recommend that agents don’t do business on the day. But they’re not bound by that recommendation.
Some stakeholders think there should be consistency between state laws. Amanda Lynch of the REIA says we ‘need a nationally consistent position on ANZAC Day opening hours, to clear up the confusion and provide guidelines that promote respect for this national day of significance’. It seems that lots of states agree. For example, the Victorian government’s Anzac Day website says ‘Because of the solemnity of the day, trading and entertainment restrictions are in place to prevent distractions that could distract from its significance.’ But none apart from Queensland have pushed it to the point of banning real estate deals for the day.
A few commentators have noted that Anzac Day doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone. They say it’s hard for agents to deal with the demands of clients who don’t get the significance of the day. This includes new arrivals, foreign investors and those with certain political beliefs.
If you’re anything like me though, you don’t buy that. After all, the property market is crazy right now. There wouldn’t be any disadvantage to sellers in waiting a week to have their inspection or auction. Take one day off from property fiending to honour the sacrifice of our fallen.
Contributor, Money Morning
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