UDIA seeking collaboration on market stimulus measures

Given the extended property market downturn and the impact this is having on developer members and others in the industry, UDIA is investigating opportunities to work with government and other stakeholders on new measures to stimulate the market.  UDIA is currently writing to a range of state and federal Ministers, seeking collaboration on potential solutions to stimulate the market and assist members in the short to medium term.

In the first instance UDIA has written to the Minister for Housing the Hon. Peter Tinley, MLA to highlight the impact that the extended property market downturn is having on our industry and the financial stress that many companies are under.  UDIA has emphasised the particularly negative impact the downturn has had on the new land, house and apartment markets, with sales volumes in some instances at levels not seen since 2011.  UDIA has also highlighted the value of the property development sector to the broader WA economy, due to the wide variety of direct and indirect inputs which support jobs in many other sectors of the economy, as well as the value to the State, through property and other taxes.

We are pleased that Minister Tinley has accepted our request to meet and we look forward to discussing the issues in more detail with the Minister next month. In preparation for the meeting and to provide context for further government and ministerial meetings, UDIA is developing a paper on the value of development to the State, highlighting the mutual benefits of a strong land and housing market.

UDIA is also coordinating meetings with the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association to discuss opportunities to collaborate on initiatives to stimulate the market.

Further advice on progress in this area will be advised in the near future.

Registrations for our Industry Luncheon event featuring Minster Tinley close tomorrow.  More details here if you would like to attend.

UDIA writes to Premier and Treasurer re Foreign Buyers Surcharge

Over the last year UDIA has strongly advocated with all political parties for the proposed Foreign Buyers Surcharge to be scrapped.   Despite this advocacy, UDIA understands that the Labor Government’s legislation to introduce the new charge is likely to be passed in the Upper House, due to the support of the minor parties.   While the WA Liberal Party does not support the Bill, it is understood that the Nationals, Greens and One Nation will do.

In anticipation of the legislation being passed, UDIA has written to Premier McGowan and the Treasurer recommending that if the legislation is passed, the government should defer the introduction of the surcharge until the WA property market improves.  Given surcharges such as the one proposed are used to dampen ‘hot markets’ we are extremely concerned that any new tax or charge, such as the FBS, will have a detrimental impact on the potential market recovery in WA.

GST fix hits snag

After positive commitments in recent weeks from the new Prime Minister that changes to the distribution of GST would be cemented in legislation, there have been concerns raised by other state Treasurers that could jeopardise the passage of the new legislation.

Under the proposed changes, it is estimated that WA will be $4.7 billion better off, as the new model is designed to prevent the economic shocks which saw the State’s share of GST plummet after the mining boom.

The other states are now calling for a guarantee to be included in the draft legislation that ensures no state will be worse off under the changes.  Agreeing on this inclusion may delay the legislation.

UDIA will continue to monitor progress on this issue as we strongly advocated for the proposed changes to the distribution of GST, which is an important step forward in boosting WA’s economic growth and ensuring long term sustainability.

Legislation Committee: Inquiry into Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 – Termination of strata titles scheme

UDIA has provided a submission to the ‘Inquiry into Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018’ currently being undertaken by the Upper House’s Legislation Committee. Only Part 12 of the Strata Titles Amendment Bill, ‘Termination of Strata Titles Scheme’ has been referred to the Committee.

UDIA’s submission outlines strong support for the legislation as proposed, but advises that minor changes to the provisions relating to the termination of small strata schemes will be accepted if it means the new legislation will be passed in the Upper House.  We await advice from the Legislation Committee as to whether our submission can be made public.

UDIA is monitoring the progress of the legislation closely and will keep members informed.

Analysis of Alternative Construction Methods Research Project

The UDIA commissioned study analysing the implications of alternative housing construction methods and materials in WA, which is being led by EY, commenced in full this week. Following a desktop review, EY will meet with a range of industry stakeholders to discuss the opportunities, costs, benefits and barriers regarding alternative housing construction methods and materials before examining the lifecycle costs of traditional and alternative construction methods in a range of localities / sites.  It is anticipated that the report will be finalised in early 2019. A steering committee is overseeing the study and UDIA will keep members informed of progress.

Rates hold

The RBA kept the official cash rate on hold for the 26th consecutive month on Tuesday, stating that the low level of interest rates continued to support the Australian economy.

According to the statement by Governor Philip Lowe, “conditions in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets have continued to ease and nationwide measures of rent inflation remain low. Growth in credit extended to owner-occupiers remains robust, but demand by investors has slowed noticeably as the dynamics of the housing market have changed. Credit conditions are tighter than they have been for some time, although mortgage rates remain low and there is strong competition for borrowers of high credit quality.”

Some commentators are expecting rates to hold until early 2020 given current economic and market conditions.

The RBA also released a chart pack with information on macroeconomic and financial market trends in Australia that includes useful data here.

Dwelling approvals rise

The number of dwellings approved in Australia fell by 1.9 per cent in August 2018 in trend terms, according to data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Dwelling approvals rose in trend terms in Western Australia by 2.7 per cent. The trend estimate for the number of private sector houses rose 1.4% in August.

More details here.

We want your feedback!

UDIA is currently working on several submissions on behalf of members.  We encourage you to forward any feedback on these items to policy@udiawa.com.au.

The discussion Paper on cost recovery for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is out for comment and submissions are due by Thursday 1 November, 2018.  More information here.

The DPLH and DWER joint discussion paper on Planning for Entertainment Noise in the Northbridge Area is out for comment. Submissions are due by 26 November, 2018. More information here.

The next stage of the Local Government Act Review has been released for comment, with submissions closing 31 March, 2019. More information here.

UDIA Professional Development Program: Module 2 – Last Chance!

Registrations for Module 2 of the Professional Development Program –Project Planning and Marketing, close on Monday, 8 October.

Register now to examine the key strategies for community engagement and integrating community feedback into project design with Allan Tranter from Creating Communities; learn how market research is a key tool used in shaping a project with Peet Limited’s Dion Warnock; and be introduced to the key concepts of urban design and place-making with Zanda Cameron from Roberts Day.

Places are strictly limited, don’t miss out! More information here.

Understanding Perth’s ‘deep structure’ and the need for housing density

New WAter Ways are hosting a free seminar on Thursday 18 October around the theme of communicating and understanding the ‘deep structure’ of a place as fundamental to environmental awareness and conservation.

The event will feature presentations from Geoffrey London, Professor of Architecture at The University of Western Australia and Daniel Jan Martin, a researcher and PhD candidate at the UWA School of Design.

Email info@newwaterways.org.au for more details.

Perth’s first ‘smart’ freeway

The major contract to construct Perth’s first Smart Freeway has been awarded.SmartWays Alliance will construct an extra northbound lane on the Kwinana Freeway using smart technology.

The project will create an additional lane from Canning Highway to the Narrows Bridge and make use of smart technology aiming to safely implement an ‘all lane running’ environment. The Smart Freeway infrastructure will deliver enhanced lane-use management, variable speed limits and coordinated ramp signals.

The project is part of the Federal and State Government’s $2.3 billion ‘boosting jobs, busting congestion’ package of WA road and rail projects announced in May 2017. Planning for the $47 million project is underway, with construction and installation expected to be completed in 2019. The project is being jointly delivered by the Australian ($37.6 million) and State ($9.4 million) governments.

Building and Construction Industry Training Fund levy exemption scrapped

The state government has announced that the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund (BCITF) levy exemption has now been removed and will now apply to resource sector engineering construction work.

The Minister for Education and Training says that the policy change will ensure all industries undertaking construction work contribute to the training and development of the State’s construction workforce.

The BCITF levy is invested in training incentives and support for employers of apprentices and trainees in the construction industry. The levy has previously applied to all residential, commercial and civil engineering projects undertaken in Western Australia where the total value of construction is estimated to be more than $20,000.

More information here.

UDIA National Congress early bird ends tomorrow!

The UDIA National Congress early bird registration is ending tomorrow. If delegates book before midnight tomorrow you can save $500 off your 2019 ticket.

Congress will be held from 26-28 March 2019 on the Gold Coast in Queensland featuring a range of international and local speakers and experts.  More information is available here.