From the CEO

It seems this week ‘Orange is the new Black’. As interest rates rise, so do the scary headlines from our east coast media outlets. Today we are anticipating homeowners in ‘mortgage prison’ with falling home values negating any equity built within home loans. Sure, our friends on the other side of the country are experiencing some sharp falls in home values however they are coming from a pretty high baseline. I’ll take our median house price of $530,000 over Sydney’s at $1,552,000 any day.

REIWA CEO Cath Hart and I spoke at a property dinner in the western suburbs last week and the sentiment in the room overall was quite positive for the market in the year ahead for WA and Perth specifically. With an audience of around 100 real estate agents and consultants, the vibe on the ground is that our fundamentals are strong. Our rental vacancy rate is still less than 1% and our number of established homes listed has stayed very consistent at just over 8,000, well below an average market at 12,000. Unemployment is at record lows and our migration rate is increasing.

Land sales in Perth are slowing and likely a combination of capacity constraints in supply and bringing forward some demand. Construction costs & labour issues are still hampering apartment development although starting to improve. Keystart this week provided a great insight into cost of living impacts in Perth and housing affordability, quoting a Deloitte Access Economic Report commissioned by the Department of Treasury that showed our mortgage repayments on median house price sits at 24.6% – below most other capital cities.

So I don’t think we need to get the prison garb out just yet. What we do need to do is be positive about where we are at relative to the rest of the country and not let some aspects of the media drive WA consumer sentiment down into the doldrums. Our glass is well and truly over half full as we stand today and UDIA WA will be highlighting that at every opportunity.

RBA raises rates again

As expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia once again raised the cash rate target by a further 25 basis points to sit at 2.85% during its November Monetary Policy Meeting.

The increase comes off the back of consistently high inflation with the CPI rate sitting at 7.3% in September, the highest it has been in more than three decades according to Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe.

In announcing the decision Dr Lowe said global factors are the cause for much of the high inflation but strong domestic demand relative to the ability of the economy to meet that demand is also playing a role.

“Returning inflation to target requires a more sustainable balance between demand and supply,” he said.

“A further increase in inflation is expected over the months ahead, with inflation now forecast to peak at around 8 per cent later this year. Inflation is then expected to decline next year due to the ongoing resolution of global supply-side problems, recent declines in some commodity prices and slower growth in demand. Medium-term inflation expectations remain well anchored, and it is important that this remains the case.”

Dr Lowe also noted that the labour market remains very tight with 3.5% unemployment rate around the lowest rate in almost 50 years.

“The central forecast is for the unemployment rate to remain around its current level over the months ahead, but to increase gradually to a little above 4 per cent in 2024 as economic growth slows,” he said.

“Wages growth is continuing to pick up from the low rates of recent years, although it remains lower than in many other advanced economies. A further pick-up is expected due to the tight labour market and higher inflation.

“Given the importance of avoiding a prices-wages spiral, the Board will continue to pay close attention to both the evolution of labour costs and the price-setting behaviour of firms in the period ahead.”

Looking ahead Dr Lowe said the outlook for the global economy remains a source of uncertainty as is how household spending responds to the tighter financial conditions following repeated interest rate increases each month since May.

He finished his speech by stating the Board expects to increase interest rates further over the period ahead and is closely monitoring the global economy, household spending and wage and price-setting behaviour.

“The size and timing of future interest rate increases will continue to be determined by the incoming data and the Board’s assessment of the outlook for inflation and the labour market,” Dr Lowe said.

“The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that.”

Last chance to see Jonathan Pain

While the latest interest rate rise came as no surprise yesterday, there is growing uncertainty around ‘where to next’ for our economy in the context of global economic challenges.

There is no better expert than Jonathan Pain to give us the insight we need to make business decisions and prepare ourselves for the next 12-18months and beyond.

Mr Pain will provide an overview of:

  • What is the ‘real’ story in relation to the current economic and political context?
  • How will global and national economic and political issues and challenges impact on WA and in particular, housing affordability and cost of living pressures?
  • Will interest rates begin to decline again in late 2023 as some are predicting?
  • What will all of this mean for property & development in WA?

Seeing through short-term noise, Jonathan will share his exceptional insights into what we can expect to see across global, national and local financial markets and monetary policy in the year ahead.

Register here to make sure you and your business are fully prepared for what is to come.

Big thanks to our supporters of this event Wormall Civil Pty Ltd., Australian Property Investor Magazine, Glen McLeod Legal, Industry Partner Harvey Norman Commercial Division and our Networking Partner JDSi Consulting Engineers

UDIA in Action

This week UDIA WA representatives took part in various meetings and engagements including a productive meeting with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and filming for future Home in WA segments showcasing more of our member’s projects and achievements.

At the end of last week UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck attended the CEDA WA 2035 Luncheon that looked at A smarter, more sustainable and diversified economy which saw a keynote presentation from The Hon. Roger Cook MLA: Deputy Premier of WA; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Tourism; Commerce; Science.

On Monday Tanya attended a business lunch with Infrastructure WA CEO Phil Helberg along with other Industry Groups and Small Business representatives looking at the future of infrastructure in WA.

Wednesday saw UDIA WA engage in a meeting with DWER wherein we detailed the progress of our Development Ready Pipeline Project and receive updates from DWER around State Government priorities and alignment for UDIA.

The meeting was a highly productive engagement and provided plenty of opportunities for UDIA and DWER to work collaboratively across various initiatives.

UDIA finished the week with filming for future segments for our partnerships with Home in WA. This morning saw us head to the Award Winning Golden Bay by PEET Ltd and DevelopmentWA and The Rivergums by Cedar Woods to highlight the incredible work going on in these estates.

We also filmed a segment for Homes for Homes, the philanthropic arm of The Big Issue. Homes for Homes raise funds to increase the supply of social and affordable housing nationally.  Donations from properties registered with Homes for Homes are pooled and granted out to the community housing sector, creating more homes for people in need.

We will share details when these episodes will be going to air in the coming weeks.

Building approvals fall in September

The total number of dwellings approved fell 5.8% in September, in seasonally adjusted terms, following a 23.1% increase in August, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“The fall in approvals was driven by private sector houses, which declined 7.8%. Approvals for private sector dwellings excluding houses fell 1.8%,” Daniel Rossi, Director of Construction Statistics at the ABS, said.

Across Australia, total dwelling approvals fell in South Australia (-19.7%), Tasmania (-10.8%), Western Australia (-9.3%), New South Wales (-8.8%), and Queensland (-6.2%). Victoria was the only state to record an increase, rising 3.4%.

Approvals for private sector houses fell in all states: Western Australia (-11.4%), Queensland (-8.6%), New South Wales (-7.9%), Victoria (-4.7%), and South Australia (-4.3%).

The value of total building approvals fell 6.9% in September, following a 19.5% rise in August. The value of total residential building approvals fell 12.7%, comprising of a 14.0% decline in new residential building and a 2.9% decrease in alterations and additions.

The value of non-residential building approvals rose 3.7%, after rising 11.5% in August.

Home in WA showcases EnviroDevelopment excellence

On Sunday UDIA WA’s latest segment on Home in WA, which focused on our EnviroDevelopment certification program and DevelopmentWA’s 115 Hamilton Hill project which is certified under all six elements of EnviroDevelopment, went to air.

You can view the episode by clicking here and to view all UDIA WA’s Home in WA segments and more, head to our YouTube channel here.

State of emergency to end

This week Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced that WA’s State of Emergency will end on Friday 4 November, after 963 days, as the State of Emergency declaration will not be renewed.

The Public Health State of Emergency, under the Public Health Act 2016, will also be revoked at the same time.

Following the end of the State of Emergency, the State Government will continue to manage COVID-19 and keep Western Australians safe through appropriate policy settings, the WA Free RAT program and maintaining systems and procedures that allow for the swift re-establishment of testing and vaccination clinics, if required.

Basic public health advice such as mask wearing as needed, staying home if unwell, getting tested and avoiding high-risk settings until symptoms have cleared are highly recommended, and these measures can be adopted as a requirement through businesses’ own policies and work health and safety arrangements.

As part of the transition away from a State of Emergency, the State Parliament passed new legislation this month, which provides a fit-for-purpose framework for WA to safely manage COVID-19 in the future, should the virus escalate and require additional levers to protect the WA community.

The Emergency Management Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Bill 2022 has received Royal Assent and regulations are being drawn up for the new laws.

Under the new framework, if required, the State Emergency Coordinator can make a ‘Temporary COVID-19 Declaration’, which will only come into effect if the State Emergency Coordinator is satisfied that COVID-19 poses a risk to the safety of the community, and requires a co-ordinated response to prevent loss of life or harm to the health of the community.

If required, the framework can be used to implement measures such as mask wearing on public transport and in other settings, isolation requirements for individuals, enhanced cruise ship protocols and prohibitions to remote Aboriginal communities.

The State Government also announced it will commission an independent review of WA’s response and management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The independent review will ensure preparedness for future pandemics by considering programs and structures that performed effectively and identifying any areas for continuous improvement.

Further details of the review will be announced before the end of the year, and the report will support Western Australia’s input into any future Commonwealth-led review of the pandemic.

Look out for your Awards for Excellence Showcase Magazine

This week UDIA WA members will be receiving your exclusive copy of the UDIA WA 2022 Awards for Excellence Showcase Magazine which includes all the information about this year’s winners and finalists.

This 68-page glossy magazine is an incredible collection of what makes Western Australia great and we are delighted to share this with our members.

To view the digital edition click here and to view the physical edition, keep an eye out for it in your mail this week.

WA local governments to be covered by State employment laws

This week it was announced that all Western Australian local governments will be covered by State employment laws from 1 January, 2023.

Most local governments in WA currently operate under Commonwealth employment laws.

The move was first flagged by the independent review in the State industrial relations system in 2018, which identified significant legal doubt about whether local governments could validly operate under the Commonwealth laws.

The Government passed legislation in 2021 to enable WA local governments to move to the State industrial relations system with the Commonwealth’s endorsement. This legislation created a strong transitional process.

It is anticipated 137 local governments, eight regional local governments and around 23,000 employees will be covered by the State system.

WA joins Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales in regulating local governments under State-based employment laws.

Join us for an evening to remember!

Don’t miss an opportunity to hear West Australian singer songwriter Helen Shanahan at the UDIA WA End of Year Sundowner on 24 November.

Helen has supported the likes of Missy Higgins, Claire Bowditch and Tim Minchin and is an accomplished recording artist with several awards to her name including WAM’s song of the year in 2018.

Click here to register for the event.

Big thanks to our End of Year Sundowner Sponsors MNG., Douglas Partners, Effective Property Solutions and Underground Power Development.

National Congress – get involved!

UDIA National Congress returns to Perth in 2023 and there are opportunities for UDIA members to get involved with the national celebrations.

Set to be held from March 27-29 at Crown Perth, it is the key networking event of the year as delegates from all over the country come together to learn, engage and interact with the compelling content on offer.

There are a variety of sponsorship opportunities available, including sponsoring one of the categories at the UDIA National Awards for Excellence where the WA winners announced at the 2022 Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner will be flying the flag for WA.

To view all of the opportunities available, read the National Congress Partnership Prospectus here and reach out to National Sponsorship Manager Anthony Nicolaou at  with any questions.

UDIA Online Access Code

UDIA WA are pleased to share the Corporate Accommodation Rate Code for our members to receive 15% off accommodation with Crown Perth.

To access the discounted rates simply book via the Crown Hotels website and quote our Corporate Access code urband3357 in the promotional code field to receive your negotiated corporate rate.

Full instructions can be found here and for more information and T&Cs, click here.