Relief for residential tenants and landlords is on the way but may look different in every state and territory.
With millions of people facing job losses or pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic, protecting tenants without hurting landlords too much has proven thorny for Australia's leaders.
The national cabinet agreed to a six-month moratorium on evictions and urged those on both sides to sit down in good faith and work through the issues.
But the Real Estate Institute of Queensland says that's proving tricky because the states and territories are yet to enact the laws needed.
"We need that certainty as a matter of urgency, and once we understand what those parameters are, then I think it makes life far easier for all parties and provides much-needed certainty to all of the parties involved in this transaction," chief executive Antonia Mercorella told ABC TV on Thursday.
"The sooner we can get the framework in place, the sooner landlords can talk to their mortgage providers about pressing pause on payments."
The Queensland government on Thursday released a package to help tenants - including offering grants of up to $2000 to help with rent - and setting up a compulsory conciliation system that will ban requirements to draw on superannuation or sell basic personal assets.
"Neither landlords nor tenants are to blame for this, and now is the time for them to work together to get through this pandemic," Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said.
In the ACT, the government is offering land tax rebates of up to $100 a week to landlords who lower rent for affected tenants by 25 per cent.
It's also delaying rates notices by one month.
NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet told the Sydney Morning Herald a plan was in the works to waive or defer some land taxes, on the proviso the savings are passed on to tenants.
But he also urged tenants not to go on a "rent strike".
Meanwhile, the number of houses up for auction and the clearance rate plummeted in the final weeks of March as the coronavirus restrictions took effect.
Property data from CoreLogic shows the overall clearance rate for the March quarter, at 62.5 per cent, was better than a year ago when just under half of auctions ended in a sale.
But that figure masks the cliff the auction rate dropped off at the end of the period.
In February, the clearance rate was around 70 per cent but by the end of March it had dropped to 37.3 per cent.
"The banning of on-site auctions and open homes have physically prevented some auctions from going ahead or prompted vendors to pull out of the market," research head Eliza Owens said.
The next few months would present an unprecedented challenge to the auction market, and the housing market more broadly, but once the virus was contained property was better placed for recovery, she said.
One agency in Canberra, Ray White, was talking up its transition to online auctions, saying more than $5 million in property had gone under the hammer over the past week.
At one point, one of their online auctions had 80 people viewing it.
Australian Associated Press