On Wednesday, Research4 Director Colin Keane delivered his annual Greenfields Development Masterclass for UDIA WA participants where he analysed the performance of the national Greenfield land market with a focus on WA.

During his presentation, Mr Keane also addressed the implications of COVID-19 on the existing and ongoing performance of the market.

The Masterclass started with an overview of what happened around the country in the March quarter before Mr Keane revealed details of a mini National Land Survey that was intended to see the immediate impact of the shutdown of states on the land market in terms of sales and return rates.

Around the country Mr Keane highlighted that all states had a reasonably positive first quarter including Perth which experienced a 20% increase in land sales for the first three months of the year.

In terms of the mini National Land Survey which looked at about 20% of major estates around the country, this highlighted that from the last two weeks of March to the end of April, there was a significant drop in sales across the country during the period. Perth’s drop was not as severe as some of the other States and Territories due to the weak demand we had previously experienced.

Looking to the future, Mr Keane highlighted that reduced overseas and interstate migration as a result of border closures, along with the rising unemployment rate will likely have the biggest impact on reducing the level of buyer demand across the country, something we needed to be extremely mindful of in WA.

He said the Western Australian Government needed to focus energy on stopping the loss of net interstate migration as this will play a significant role in the fortunes of the WA land market into the future.

Finally, he advised that WA is in an incredible position to leverage its management of COVID-19 but with the hard border protection with the Eastern States still in place, WA is struggling to stand up as a desirable place to come.

“I think if the government and WA reframe their position, it will save a lot of pain over the next 36 months through net interstate migration,” Mr Keane said.