State Budget overview: Foreign Buyer Surcharge; Infrastructure investment, METRONET, housing affordability and more…

UDIA is pleased to advise that the government has heeded some of the key recommendations in UDIA’s State Budget Submission, committing to no increases in Stamp Duty and Land Tax rates.

Whilst this is an advocacy win, we were disappointed that the government didn’t commit to a broader review of the State’s property tax regimes moving forward.  It is also disappointing that the Government has increased the proposed Foreign Buyers Surcharge from 4% to 7%, potentially stifling foreign investment into the property market recovery in WA.

Read our full report here.

Federal government budget: key issues for industry

A busy week this week with the Federal Budget tabled on Tuesday evening.  A fairly conservative budget this year that was aimed at winning votes from what has been dubbed ‘middle Australia”.  No major suprises given the significant $3.2 billion infrastructure spend in WA was announced a couple of weeks ago.

UDIA provided members with a comprehensive rundown on the features of the budget relevant to the property market directly following the release.   If you missed it, you can read the full report here

APRA: easing on investor finance conditions

The Australian Financial Review has reported that following the recent decision by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to lift lending caps on borrowers, rates on interest-only investment loans are being slashed by up to 30 basis points.  The AFR report says that this has triggered speculation that other lenders will start reducing investor rates in a bid to stimulate demand and boost profits.

Real estate companies and developers are hoping the move will reverse the investment lending plunge that has caused new borrowing to plunge nearly 18 per cent from market highs.

Read the full AFR report here.

Department of Mines – Building and Energy Division update

The newly formed Building and Energy Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Building and Energy) has launched two new initiatives that it says will support those working in the building and construction industry. Along with a website revamp, Building and Energy has developed a series of short videos on the following topics concerning the CCA:

  • Topic one: An overview of the CCA
  • Topic two: How to make a payment claim under the implied provisions of the CCA
  • Topic three: How to apply for adjudication
  • Topic four: How to respond to an application for adjudication
  • Topic five: The “determination” (or decision-making) process of the adjudicator


Building and Energy has also partnered with HHG Legal Group to deliver a series of three information seminars on contract management.  These seminars are aimed to assist industry participants to understand common contractual issues and pitfalls that can arise on construction projects. More information here.

Changes to sub-metering arrangements with Water Corporation

From 1 July 2018, it is proposed to remove the option of multi-residential developments, such as strata complexes, from being able to supply their own private sub-meters.  Water Corporation will supply and install these sub-meters.

The Water Corporation advises that the aim behind the change is to ensure a one to one relationship between the Corporation and the customer at the earliest possible opportunity. It is important to note that this change is aimed at ground level metering arrangements only and not apartment blocks or other similar development types.

For more information contact Dean Campbell at the Water Corporation.

Healthy Active by Design survey

Healthy Active by Design (HAbD) is a tool developed by the Heart Foundation to showcase features of the built environment that contribute to healthy public spaces via resources such as case studies, advocacy guides and research evidence.  New implementation and translation programs are being developed and you are encouraged to provide feedback via a 2 minute survey to inform if/how you use the HAbD tool and what would help you to utilise it more in the future.  Please follow the link to complete the survey prior to 14 May 2018.

The future of housing construction in WA – we want your ideas!

Following a recent UDIA breakfast event on the topic “What does the future of residential construction look like?”, it has been suggested Industry needs to come up with a different term to reference “lightweight” construction, so that we are not inadvertently disadvantaging this type of construction method by using a term that may have negative connotations for some people.

We would welcome our member’s feedback on what you believe the terminology should be.

You can participate in our brief survey here.  It should only take about 1 minute to complete!  We look forward to reporting back on the outcomes.

Building cladding audit update

Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston has provided an update on the audit into Western Australian buildings that is examining potentially dangerous wall cladding.  The audit was commissioned by the State’s building regulator in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017.

So far, 453 buildings have been identified within the audit scope – 206 have been cleared and 247 buildings require more detailed assessment. The Building Commissioner is writing to each building owner, and/or strata manager, to advise them of the outcome of the preliminary assessment and provide advice on the next steps.

The government says that amendments to the Building Code of Australia, in March this year, will ensure all future external walls of high-risk buildings are either non-combustible or be the subject of a full scale fire-test to demonstrate their acceptable performance.

More information here.

New water charges target ‘water guzzlers’

The state government has announced that a new water pricing model will be introduced in Western Australia on 1 July 2018 that will aim to charge higher water prices for those households that they label ‘water guzzlers’.

Under the new model, the planned increase to the fixed service charge will be reduced and those households in Perth that use more than 500 kilolitres of water per year will receive an average increase to their water bills of around 16 per cent.

In country areas the model will target those that use more than 300 kilolitres a year with a 10 per cent increase.

More information here.

Property taxes constitute 53% of state revenue

According to recent research by CoreLogic RP Data, the latest annual taxation data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that state and local government coffers were boosted by $52.5 billion in 2016-17 due to taxes on property.

The taxation take from property is now more than double what it was in 2005-06.  Property taxes accounted for an historic high 52.8% of all tax revenue for state and local governments, up from 51.9% over the previous year.

The data clearly reflects the volatile nature of taxes such as stamp duty and reinforces UDIA’s position on the need for the state government to investigate the instruction of a broad-based land tax to replace current regimes.

Full CoreLogic report here.

AUDRC Strategic review

UDIA took part in a strategic enquiry workshop to discuss the future of The Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) recently.

The Institute is delighted that AUDRC has sought the views of industry as part of its review and looks forward to working with the Centre in the future as it delivers its exciting program of urban design research and professional training programs.

AHURI report on inclusionary planning

AHURI’s latest study examines how land use planning mechanisms can support affordable housing inclusion within new and renewing communities.

They say there is growing interest in the potential for inclusionary planning approaches to help deliver affordable housing supply in Australian cities and regions.