New housing boost helps more West Aussies and supports economy

UDIA WA welcomed the state government announcement earlier this week of a $150 million housing investment package that addresses many of the recommendations included in the package of policy reform measures presented to the state government by the joint industry group in October.

The $150 million housing investment package was announced on Tuesday and includes measures aimed at benefitting the state’s housing market and stimulating broader economic growth.

The package includes:

  • $125 million for 300 + new public housing units targeting homeless and vulnerable people on the priority waitlist;
  • $6 million to refurbish 20 regional and 50 metropolitan public housing properties; and
  • $19.2 million for 200 additional shared equity homes, delivered in partnership with Keystart

In addition, the state government announced Keystart’s temporary changes to income limits for borrowers have also been extended to June 2020 and an additional increase to Keystart’s borrowing limit by $437.2 million has been granted.

UDIA congratulated the state government on recognising the importance of the property industry to the broader state economic recovery and we are glad they have listened to our recommendations.

These are well thought out measures that will have a positive impact on people wanting to get into the market as well as boosting construction jobs and giving West Australians most in need a place to call home.

Following the release of the housing investment package, UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck attended the WA State of the State 2019 event on Wednesday, which saw Premier Mark McGowan present on the government’s three main focus areas: Westport, METRONET and the housing investment strategy for social housing.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Michelle Andrews from the Department of Communities, Anthony Kannis from METRONET and Nicole Lockwood from Westport Taskforce.

Simon Basheer confirmed as new National President

Following the recent UDIA National annual general meeting in Canberra, Simon Basheer has been announced as the UDIA’s new National President for a two-year term.

Simon has served on the UDIA National Council for 10 years, having also served on the NSW Council for eight years and been NSW President from 2012-14.

Simon Basheer has more than 30 years’ experience in the development industry, holding a number of senior Marketing and General Management positions across several states since he first joined the industry in 1987. He is currently General Manager, Sales for the Australian Residential business at Lendlease.

Simon has outlined the EPBC Act review, working with National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to deliver better research and housing forecasts, and simpler, fairer taxation as priorities.

Simon succeeds Darren Cooper in the role – though Darren will continue on the National Council as Immediate Past President and Treasurer.

A copy of the media release detailing Simon’s appointment can be viewed here.

UDIA National opens doors in Canberra

Last week UDIA National completed a two-day swing through Parliament House in Canberra briefing political leaders on the state of the industry and our advocacy priorities.

Members of the National Council, along with Executive Director, Connie Kirk held almost 15 meetings with ministers, shadow ministers and senior agency officials.

The two-day briefing session coincided with the release of Building a Better Australia – our National Policy Priorities for 2020. Find out more here and you can also download a PDF copy of the document here.

Meetings with the Government included Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Housing Minister Michael Sukkar, Cities & Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Red Tape, Ben Morton – as well as Chair of the House Infrastructure, Transport and Cities Committee, John Alexander.

The delegation also met a range of shadow ministers including Catherine King (Transport & Infrastructure), Jason Clare (Housing) and Andrew Giles (Cities and Urban Infrastructure) – which provided insight into the Opposition’s cycle for policy development and the chance to provide ongoing advice and ideas.

Two main focus areas emerged:

  • There is an acute understanding of the looming slowdown in housing construction and risks that thinning development pipelines present for affordability and the economy
  • The review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act represents a rare opportunity to make a major cut to red and green tape

Problems with the EPBC Act were arguably the most consistent theme through all the meetings and our schedule included an hour with the head of the Independent Review, Professor Graeme Samuel.

UDIA National will soon be reaching out to members to seek case examples to inform the submission process and ongoing engagement with the Government and the review.

UDIA National also secured commitments for a series of follow up meetings with key ministers and the new Centre for Population to allow for a greater deep dive on policy priorities.

We will continue to report back to members on how you can participate and support our advocacy efforts and engagement with policy makers across the aisle.

UDIA chief features at SOAC conference  

Earlier today UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck presented at the State of Australian Cities (SOAC) conference Plenary Panel discussion and delivered a thought-provoking speech that challenged the audience to consider the way Perth is trying to create its own authentic identity and how the people of Perth can help in this aim.

To read the speech in full click here.

EOY Sundowner finishes year off in relaxing style

Breaking from the traditional festive lunch event of previous years, yesterday’s inaugural UDIA WA End of Year Industry Sundowner proved to be a roaring success with attendees enjoying a spectacular sunset on the river with over 250 industry friends and connections.

The Nedlands Yacht Club proved to be the perfect setting to round out another busy year with guests enjoying a drink, delicious food by T Sisters and music by local singer songwriter Keeley Connolly followed by industry favourites The Subdividers.

There were also lawn games to get the competitive juices flowing, with Connect4, Jenga and cricket getting people engaged and having fun.

The feedback on this new format event has been fantastic and we are already setting our sights on next year and how we can make it even bigger and better!

Take a look at the photos from the event here.

AHURI Study: Urban Regulation and Diverse Housing Supply

UDIA’s Director of Research and Policy Chris Green participated in an investigative panel discussion on Monday as part of an Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) study examining Urban Regulation and Diverse Housing Supply.

Specifically, the panel discussed the regulatory barriers to housing diversity, models for alternative forms and tenures of housing and how any regulatory barriers could be overcome.

UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity to provide input into this study and eagerly awaits the outcomes of AHURI’s research.

Final report on uncontaminated fill thresholds released

On Wednesday the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) announced a final report into the review of the uncontaminated fill thresholds in Table 6 of the Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions 1996 (amended 2018) has now been released.

The final report follows a technical review of the thresholds between November 2018 and August 2019 and the review was undertaken in consultation with industry stakeholders, of which UDIA WA had representation through Chris Green and Darren Walsh, before being overseen by independent national experts.

For more information or to view the final report in full, click here.

10-year strategy on homelessness released

Wednesday saw the long-awaited release of the state government’s 10-year homelessness strategy along with significant funding for a “housing first” approach similar to that adopted in several countries overseas.

The strategy, All Paths Lead to a Home – Western Australia’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020–2030 was first announced 16 months ago and includes four focuses, that of housing provision, homelessness prevention, improving Aboriginal wellbeing and strengthening and co-ordinating responses through a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach.

The strategy commits to Housing First, which is a model that provides people with a permanent home with no readiness conditions, which it is hoped will provide a safe environment for residents to address any issues they may have.

In the creation of this model the State Government announced a $72 million investment over five years to develop two facilities to provide permanent affordable housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness.

The investment will be split in half with the first half paying for two apartment complexes, which will come with intensive case management to help people regain control over their lives and the second half being put towards Housing First initiatives.

To view the strategy in full click here.

Infrastructure Australia appoints WA talent

Yesterday Infrastructure Australia welcomed the Australian Government’s appointed of four new members to the Infrastructure Australia board with WA-based Marion Fulker among those appointed.

Ms Fulker has a proven track record in infrastructure-related research as well as being the inaugural Chief Executive of the Committee for Perth Ltd and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia.

The new appointments will see the Infrastructure Australia Board remain as 12 members, including the Chair.

To view the announcement in full, click here.

Perth property prices show fleeting signs of rising

Although small, Perth property prices during November saw an increase for the first time since April 2018.

In November collectively property prices rose by 0.4 per cent in the Greater Perth region to sit at $470,000 for houses and $335,000 for units. The price rise was mainly due to increases seen by premium properties in Perth’s inner and coastal suburbs.

The top 25% of properties (upper quartile) in November rose by 0.9 per cent while the middle 50% fell marginally by 0.1 per cent and the bottom 25% (lower quartile) remained flat.

While the overall price increase is modest, it is at least moving in the right direction and with other measures such as Perth being reclassified as a regional centre for immigration set to provide a boost to population growth, it is hoped there will be further price increases in the next year or so.

RBA holds official cash rate again

For the second consecutive month the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) chose to hold the official cash rate at 0.75 per cent at its December meeting following three rate reductions within the space of five months prior.

The move will see the official cash rate stay at its historic low until at least February 2020 but some economists feel the rate will likely be reduced again to 0.5 per cent following the annual January break.

The reasoning behind this thinking follows a speech RBA Governor Philip Lowe gave last week where he insisted monetary policy remained effective and the RBA would cut the rate twice more before implementing more unorthodox monetary policies, such as Quantitative Easing, a measure some economists thought would be seen in Australia next year.

In announcing the decision to leave the cash rate unchanged Dr Lowe said the outlook for the global economy looks reasonable and while risks are still tilted to the downside, some of the risks have lessened slightly.

He said following a soft path in the second half of 2018, the Australian economy appeared to have reached a gentle turning point. The aim is for growth to pick up gradually to around 3 per cent in 2021.

To read the full statement announcing the decision to hold the cash rate, click here.

We value your feedback!

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

  • Draft East Wanneroo District Structure Plan (here). Submissions close December 20, 2019.
  • Draft Position Statement: Residential Aged Care (here). Submissions close January 19, 2020.
  • Environmental Protection Act 1986 amendments consultation (here). Submissions close January 28, 2020.

MNG Access – free trial

Being able to access near real time data on your projects is a vision that many people strive for in today’s busy life.  MNG Access is your portal to the future for all projects associated with the land market.  Designed specifically for property developers, affiliated consultants, and all users that require accurate, real-time data of land parcels and relevant attributes in a clear, easy to use package, MNG Access is the answer.  Whether your requirements are for desktop studies or in the field, MNG Access quickly displays all pertinent information in a simple, easy to use format that allows you to make informed decisions.

Divide into two core functions, Project and Maps, MNG Access operates from either an active web page on a desktop computer, or from a smart mobile device with an active internet connection, running the MNG Access App.  Projects allows the user to check upon the status of current projects with MNG, whereas Maps provides Users with a multi-layered display ranging from high resolution aerial imagery, planning and environmental maps in one easy to use interface.

MNG has teamed with UDIA-WA to provide members a unique opportunity to trial MNG Access for a 30day period with no obligations.  Simply click the link below and complete the application form to enjoy the benefits of MNG Access.

Access the Possibilities:

Security update

November is typically a busy month for building site crime and this year was no different with PACT Site Security reporting a total of 58 incidents of burglary, theft and damage to police during the month of November, made up of 16 x burglaries, 35 x stealing and 5 x damage reports.

The incidents occurred across 29 different suburbs with 60% of reported offences occurring in the Southern Suburbs. For a full report into the November Build and Construction Industry crime statistics click here.

One of the reported crimes resulted in an adult female from Singleton being charged with stealing when six stolen hot water units were recovered after the execution of a search warrant. For a full overview of this incident, click here.

Another incident saw offenders in Wildwood Estate, Carramar explode a gas bottle in a skip bin which had been deliberately set alight. Luckily the blaze did not extend to the building and was extinguished by the attending fire brigade, recently in the same area three site toilets were also set ablaze.

For more information or to report crime, click here.

National Congress Earlybird tickets close tomorrow

Time is fast running out for UDIA Members looking to save up to $550 per delegate on tickets to the UDIA National Congress as the Earlybird Ticket packages close tomorrow, Friday December 6.

Last week some of the confirmed key note speakers were revealed with Congress MC Ticky Fullerton from Sky News set to be joined by international speakers including Dr Parag Khanna from Future Map, Peter Calthorpe from HDR Calthorpe and Luci Ellis from the Reserve Bank of Australia, among many other high calibre presenters.

Find out more here.

Building approvals on the rise but values dropping

The latest figures from the ABS have revealed the number of WA building approvals for houses lifted 10.5% MoM in October to 1,019, 4.0% below figures at the same time last year.

October also saw residential building jobs for new houses increased in value by 9.7% MoM to sit at $294.2 million, 1.5% below the value at the same time last year.

The total value of residential building jobs in WA increased 10.9% MoM to $401.8 million, but this remained 4.9% below levels at the same time last year.

This total consisted of $352.5 million for new construction building jobs (+16.5% MoM; -5.2% YoY); and $49.3 million for alterations and additions (including conversions) (-17.8% MoM; -2.5% YoY).