UDIA in Action

It has been another extremely busy week for the team at UDIA WA with the latest round of committee meetings in full swing, the latest edition of our quarterly magazine The Urbanist going to print today and welcoming our new Policy Officer Toby Mortby to the team.

Toby joins us after having recently moved to Perth from London and spent the last five years working for the UK Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs in a number of roles including Trade Negotiator and Board Governance Advisor. Toby was the lead and driving force behind setting up a new engagement program between NZ and UK stakeholders on their Free Trade Agreement.  Look out for Toby and say hello at an upcoming event or committee meeting!

On Tuesday UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck was interviewed by Channel 7 News as construction commenced on the revitalization of Roe Street in Northbridge, as part of the $1.5 billion Perth City Deal plan. We welcome the commencement as another step toward enhancing the CBD as a place to live, work and invest.

Tanya also made the trip to Bunbury this week for the South West Careers Expo 2021 to assist Outlook Committee member Mark MacKenzie in hosting the Property Education Foundation stall to help find the next generation of property leaders.

At the end of last week UDIA WA together with our Environment Partner Strategen-JBS&G were proud to host Minister for Environment; Climate Action; Commerce, the Hon. Amber-Jane Sanderson MLA at an exclusive boardroom lunch. The Minister acknowledged the alignment of UDIA WA’s policy priorities with those of the State Government and discussed the status of key initiatives impacting the urban development and housing industry.

UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green attended the Urban Development Advisory Committee (UDAC) with the Water Corporation this week to discuss our priorities in relation to water infrastructure.

This week the Industry Workforce & Diversity, Land Use Planning and the Housing Diversity committees also met.  The Land Use Planning group heard from DPLH on their new community engagement toolkit.

UDIA WA will also be preparing a submission on the latest stage of planning reform in the coming weeks and we welcome any feedback. Please send relevant comments through to policy@udiawa.com.au by 11 August.

Medium Density Policy Progression

UDIA WA welcomes the progression of the Medium Density policy with the State Government announcing a 12-month testing and feasibility period before potential finalisation of the Medium Density Design code in 2022.

DPLH received more than 220 submissions on the draft policy, one of which was UDIA WA’s wherein we outlined a strong argument for why we did not support the draft Medium Density Design Code in its current form.

Our fundamental concern centred around the application of a Code that may be appropriate for one component of the infill market where land values are high but could have negative consequences for greenfield and some brownfield developments.

The delivery of medium density product is more important now than ever as we continue to recover from the pandemic and prepare for an anticipated additional 1.5million people over the next 30 years.

UDIA WA looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the State Government and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage over the coming months around the finalisation of the code.

We will keep members informed of further progress. To read our submission, click here. For more information about the next stage of the Medium Density Policy, click here.

Phase 2 of planning reform

At the end of last week UDIA WA welcomed the State Government’s move to open up broad community and stakeholder consultation on the next stage of planning reform.

Not only is it critical that we achieve a much simpler and clearer planning system, it is also important that all stakeholders, including local community members, have faith in the rigour of the statutory processes.

We are pleased to see that the Special Matters Development Panel will be established to consider State-significant developments moving forward.

Minister Saffioti has provided excellent leadership on the planning reform journey to date, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic when immediate measures were taken to ensure that industry could respond and contribute effectively to the economic recovery.

You can view the Ministers’ statement here and you can view UDIA’s response here.

UDIA WA will be preparing a submission on the latest stage of the reform and welcome any feedback our members may have. Please send your comments through to policy@udiawa.com.au by 11 August.

Home in WA on air this Saturday!

This weekend will see the continuation of our Home in WA series with episode 2 airing on Saturday 5 June at 5.30pm on Channel 7.

The upcoming episode progresses the conversation around some of the fantastic apartment developments around Perth as well as looking at solutions to our current rental crisis including initiatives such as Build-to-Rent.

To view previous episodes, click here.

New apartment market remains steady

Perth’s new apartment market recorded another strong quarter of activity with 405 sales in the March quarter 2021 based on the latest release from the Urbis Apartment Market Essentials. Though down slightly from the previous quarter which recorded 455 sales (which was boosted by the Foundation Housing purchases), this is still the second highest quarter recorded since Q1 2018.

Once again owner occupiers dominated sales in the quarter, a trend demonstrated across the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, who each had owner occupier sales ranging from 56% to 59% in the quarter. However, owner occupier sales are even more prevalent in Perth, accounting for 70% of surveyed sales in the quarter.

As of the end of March 2021, there are 1,280 built apartments remaining for sale. One quarter ago this number was 1,594 and one year ago there were 1,838 built apartments available for sale. At current sales rates this is meaning that there is only 12 months of completed apartment stock.

Investor activity is starting to pick up with approximately 121 of the sales this quarter being purchased by investors. However, the new apartments sold in the quarter is less than half of the number of units that are rented each week across Perth. However, the total number of completed and un-sold apartments is comparable to the total number of units currently available for rent in the Perth market.

With sales level picking up developers are becoming more active with launching new projects. Six projects containing 494 apartments launched in the quarter in addition to 717 apartments across 5 projects in the previous. There are an additional 1,216 apartments that could be launched some time over the next six months, showing confidence from Developers in the market.

Awards for Excellence entries close soon

There is less than a month to go until nominations for the 2021 Awards for Excellence close. Now is the time to make sure your project gets the recognition it deserves.

Follow these five easy steps to success

  1. Create your account.Visit awardsplatform.com and create an account, or log in with your details from last year. Your log-in details can then be shared with your team so anyone contributing to the submission can access the platform as needed over the coming weeks.
  2. Choose your categoryThere are 12 categories to choose from. Projects can be entered into multiple categories! Projects that have been entered in the past can also be nominated again, either in the same category or a different one (so long as it hasn’t previously won that category).
  3. Work on your nomination. You’ve got 4 weeks leftto finalise your submission! You can save your progress as you go. So, with the help of your project team, start completing the nomination criteria and get your supporting materials ready to load.
  4. Submit your nomination on or before 30th JuneOnce your nomination is complete and you are ready to submit, you can review your information and then hit “submit”.
  5. Complete and return the nomination payment form.Once your nomination is complete and you have submitted it, complete the payment form and return to UDIA WA to ensure your entries are finalised and accepted for judging!

To view the nomination kit, click here and to start your entry, click here.

Last chance to book!

Following an unprecedented demand for tickets to our upcoming Industry Luncheon themed ‘Infill Dreams & Market Realities’ featuring Minister Saffioti, we have moved the event to a larger room to allow more people to attend. With registrations closing tomorrow, please book now to make sure you are part of the conversation with over 400 industry colleagues.

With a keynote delivered by Planning Minister the Hon. Rita Saffioti and expert panellists Jane Bennett, Col Dutton, Joanne Abbiss and Tanya Trevisan, this lunch is set to challenge the assumptions, ask the burning questions and provide an excellent platform for debate around the future of urban development in Perth and Peel.

Register now by clicking here.

Payment in Lieu of Parking Plan gazettal

At its recent meeting, the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) considered the gazettal of the Payment in Lieu of Parking Plan and resolved to approve the Method of Calculation to be published in the Gazette, as well as the payment in lieu of parking plan manner and form template and explanatory guidance, all to come into effect on 1 July 2021.

Following this, the Department of Planning, Lands & Heritage will undertake further consultation, testing and analysis to better understand the implications of including land value within a Method, including the need for specific criteria, conditions and/or further WAPC oversight and provide a further report for consideration.

It is anticipated the Method of Calculation approved will be published in the Gazette on 8 June. All approved documents will also be published on the Department’s website as soon as possible.

Please note that these documents will not be operational until 1 July 2021 when the wider provisions under Part 9A of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 come into effect, acknowledging that:

  • there is a 2 year transition period (until 1 July 2023) to implement a payment in lieu of parking plan in accordance with the manner and form template, should a local government wish to continue to apply cash in lieu, and
  • as of 1 July 2021, the Method of Calculation published in the Gazette will need to be utilised by local government to calculate cash in lieu payments, should it apply a development condition in this regard.

View the Method of Calculation Gazette Notice here, the Manner and Form template here and the explanatory guidance here.

Promote your sustainable project

Each quarter a National EnviroDevelopment Newsletter is released which showcases exemplary examples of sustainable projects from around Australia and yours could be one of them.

With the latest edition of the newsletter ready to be sent out, the call is on for projects to be included in the next edition. This is an excellent opportunity to promote the incredible work you are already doing and showcase it on a national scale.

Email policy@udiawa.com.au for more information.

Open House Perth talks

Open House Perth have several talks coming up at the Rechabite as part of the Design Matters Series and are offering UDIA WA members a 10% discount on tickets to these events.

The next of these talks takes places on 23 June, with special visiting speaker Shaun Carter from Carter Williamson discussing the topic Unusual Usual_ green living through good design, with the focus being on small footprint homes and renovations that use existing homes rather than demolish them.

Doors open at 5.30pm with the talks starting at 6pm. Tickets are available for purchase here and use the code friend10 to secure your 10% discount.

Enhance your career with UDIA WA

As we come to the end of the financial year, UDIA WA is offering exclusive discounts on all professional development courses for the month of June.

UDIA WA members receive 10% off all UDIA WA professional development courses, with this offer valid for those who book by COB Wednesday 16th June.

For more information and to see full T&C’s, click here.

Investment activity increased in March but still lagging

Recent research from CoreLogic found that during the March quarter the value of investment lending for housing increased by 28.7%.

Despite the rise in investor lending, investment loans comprised only 25.9% of the value of new mortgage commitments in March, up from a recent record low of just 23.1% in January this year, but well down on the decade average and the historical highs recorded in 2015.

Investor activity remains below average across every state and territory, ranging from just 13.3% of mortgage demand in the Northern Territory to 31.5% of demand across New South Wales.

The loan commitments data shows investor demand remains concentrated in New South Wales with most of this activity likely to be concentrated within the Sydney region, however this area has the lowest rental yields, signaling some imbalance between housing values and rental rates.

The highest capital city gross rental yields can be found in Darwin (5.6%), Hobart (4.4%) and Perth (4.3%) for houses, while gross yields for units are highest in Darwin (7.2%), Canberra (5.5%) and Perth (5.4%). Yields are generally higher across regional markets, with Regional Northern Territory (6.3%) and Regional Western Australia (5.9%) recording the highest gross yields for houses. Regional WA also stands out with the highest gross yield for units at 8.0%.

For more information and to read the CoreLogic release in full, click here.

Building approvals

The number of dwellings approved in Australia fell 8.6% in April, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to figures this week released by the ABS.

Private sector houses rose 4.6% in April, reaching a new record high of 15,063 houses, however private sector dwellings excluding houses decreased 28.6% in April, driven by a large fall in approved apartment developments in Victoria.

Total dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales (12.3%), Western Australia (5.5%) and South Australia (3.4%), in seasonally adjusted terms. Total dwelling approvals fell in Victoria (-23.5%), Queensland (-14.3%) and Tasmania (-2.5%).

Approvals for private sector houses rose in New South Wales (30.1%), Queensland (8.3%), and South Australia (2.7%), in seasonally adjusted terms. Meanwhile, falls were recorded in Victoria (-5.0%) and Western Australia (-3.8%).

The value of total building approved decreased 22.6% (to $12.24b), in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of total residential building fell 7.1%, comprising of a 7.6% fall in new residential building and a 3.8% fall in residential alterations and additions.

The value of non-residential building fell 43.2% (to $3.85b), following a record high for March ($6.78b).

WA leads the way with increased State Final Demand

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week revealed Western Australia is once again leading the economic recovery from the pandemic by recording a 3% State Final Demand increase in the March 2021 quarter.

This increase helped the Australian economy rise 1.8% in seasonally adjusted chain volume measures, with the National GDP rising 1.1%.

Within WA’s increase total final consumption expenditure increased 0.4%, thanks to a 0.3% increase in household consumption driven by increased expenditure on hotels, cafes and restaurants and recreation and culture with household consumption returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Private gross fixed capital formation increased 10.8% and public gross fixed capital formation increased 4.5%.

COVID and the need for better standards in high-rise living

Research conducted by Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has analysed the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on influencing better apartment design standards.

The research found that while issues with the design and quality of living spaces in high rise residential apartment buildings existed pre-COVID, the pandemic response restrictions that forced people to stay and work at home focused community concern on the problems of poor design and operation in some of these buildings.

Building on this, the research identified that COVID restrictions have influenced the 2021 update to the Victorian Government’s 2017 ‘Better Apartment Design Standards’, which is being introduced because ‘the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that all homes need to have access to air, nature, sunlight and personal space.’

While the ‘Better Apartment Design Standards’ were introduced initially to stop the ‘proliferation of buildings with windowless, tiny bedrooms and unhealthy spaces,’ the current changes are designed to improve the external design of apartment developments and to update requirements to the communal and private open space standards.

AHURI research also highlights the importance of public infrastructure for high density neighbourhoods, particularly for lower-income residents, finding many existing public facilities—such as libraries, community centres and public open shared spaces—were at risk of overuse.

For more information, click here.

Outlook Alumni Drinks

This evening will see the first Outlook Alumni Drinks taking place at Refuge Bar from 5-6.30pm.

Meet & mingle with previous winners of the Young Development Professional Award including Fenualla O’Brien, Daniel Panickar, Mark Mackenzie, Ali (Wheeler) Simmons, Louise Nazareth & Jeremy Cordina, ahead of submissions closing for this year’s awards on 30 June 2021. More information here.

This is an invaluable networking opportunity for any young professional looking to enter into this year’s awards.

See here for more information.

Australian Urban Design Research Centre workshops

The Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) recently announced it will be delivering a program of CPD workshops for professional in related fields. These workshops focus on sustainability, scenario planning, multifunctional street design, and 3D visualisation skills – amongst others.

For more information on any of these courses, click here.

Become a key player in sustainable development

Register to be part of the upcoming EnviroDevelopment Professional Training to enhance your company’s skillset and become a key player in sustainable development.

The next intake of the course takes place on June 17 as a 3-hour webinar that is a direct steppingstone to becoming a certified EnviroDevelopment Professional (EDP).

The course offers the opportunity to gain knowledge of the EnviroDevelopment program and stay in touch with latest trends and technologies in green communities across Australia.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to become an EDP. For more information, click here.