It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, unless of course you live in Perth where the rental vacancy rate has dropped to less than two percent and you are having a restless night worrying about having a roof over your head.  If Santa was looking at housing availability in WA there would certainly be a list of what was naughty and what was nice this year.

The Nice List

  • Affordability has improved due to wages growth of 4.5 per cent, a 1.75 per cent cut in the Reserve Bank Interest rate and steady housing prices.
  • Some improvements in the approvals system (unfortunately the government hasn’t used the four year downturn to comprehensively reform the approvals process).
  • Release of the report outlining planned local government amalgamations which has the potential to improve efficiencies and streamline process.
  • Ongoing Federal Government funding commitment to programs such as the National Rent Affordability Scheme.
  • Ongoing State Government commitment to the shared equity scheme and an expansion in Keystart eligibility.
  • The development of new housing product that has reduced the entry point for new homebuyers down to less than $280,000.
  • Release of major plans and commencement of works on significant projects to revitalise the City including the stadium and the Perth Waterfront.

The Naughty List

  • The introduction by the Federal Government of excessively high fees for applications considered under the Environmental and Biodiversity Conservation Act .
  • The decision of the Economic Regulation Authority WA to burden new homebuyers with the tax on the assets that developers of new estates gift to Western Power for free.
  • Cutting staff and resources at the Department of Planning and other approval agencies through the mid-year budget review which will potentially impact on approval timeframes.
  • The 40 basis point gap between the reduction in the Reserve Bank overnight cash rate and what the banks passed on.
  • The lack of funding for some of the public transport projects announced in 2012.
  • Increasing developer levies to finance infrastructure provided by local governments.
  • The failure to remove duplication in the approvals process.

UDIA remains committed to working with all stakeholders to deliver affordable, sustainable housing for a growing Western Australia.  We wish everybody a happy and safe festive season.