From the CEO

The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.

These words by Peter Drucker, one of the most influential thinkers on the subject of management have never been more poignant as they are at this very moment. This week’s release of the State of the Nation’s Housing Report for 2022-23 by NHFIC was another sobering reminder of how all options need to be on the table to ensure all Australians have a roof over their heads.

Taking into account new net annual dwelling supply and new net annual household formation for Perth, we are going to be 18,300 dwellings SHORT over the next five years. The fastest growing household type over the projection period is in ‘lone person’ households. With over 80% of Perth’s housing stock made up of 3-5 bedroom stock, we are well short of where we need to be in producing 1-2 bedroom product which is in medium-high density projects.

A similar mis-match in housing need and stock exists in social housing in WA, with under-occupation a key contributor to lack of available supply across the continuum. In WA, 29,800 are identified as in ‘housing need’, 26,200 of those are in ‘rental stress’ and 3,600 homeless.

Today, NHFIC released a research report on International Capital Flows into social and affordable housing. The key insights around investment enablers and barriers will not be a surprise to most of you and backs up the Federal Government’s approach targeting institutional investment to help solve our housing crisis across the country.

A strategic approach to ensuring sufficient housing supply across the continuum is still highly relevant in these turbulent times. What you can’t afford to fail at when flying a plane is in the execution. The Aircraft Flight Manual has all the answers to get you to your destination safely based on precedented flying conditions. Throw a perfect storm of unprecedented factors at an A380 and what you are relying on is human judgement, teamwork and an adrenaline-fuelled rush to get to your destination safely with as little collateral damage as possible.

Yesterday’s logic won’t necessarily work today when it comes to executing our housing strategy. The consequences of not landing the outcomes could be catastrophic. It’s time to put well-worn process aside, focus relentlessly on the destination and take massive action – together.

UDIA WA responds to latest on planning reform

Late last week, with the support of members of the Land Use Standing Advisory Group, UDIA WA made a submission as part of the latest planning reform consultation.

This consultation was regarding the use and application of discretion in the context of development applications assessed and determined under Local Planning Schemes.

Our submission noted general support for the direction being taken and the draft recommendations.  It acknowledged that when applied appropriately, with a robust and transparent rationale, the ability for discretion in the planning system can help in achieving good urban development outcomes. However, it can also hinder this and the timely provision of crucial, diverse housing supply and delivery of supporting amenities which help create communities.

As such, any additional clarity and standardisation that can be provided to improve consistency in decision-making under LPS’s and enhance community and stakeholder confidence in the decision-making process for complex development proposals is welcomed.

Nevertheless, we highlighted key comments at this stage and our interest in being kept informed as the process progresses and engaged further on the drafted amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, as well as the detailed guidelines that we understand will be prepared. The details in the latter, which we appreciate will reflect the guiding principles in Appendix B of the Recommendations Report, will be important in providing guidance for assessing officers and decision-makers to ensure effective implementation of the regulatory changes.

Celebrate 50 years with us

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) is delighted to celebrate 50 years working for the community creators in Western Australia during 2023.

To celebrate this special milestone, we are hosting an exclusive event for members and special guests at the beautiful Bunker Bay Resort from Wednesday 31 May to Friday 2 June 2023.

We will take time at this event to reflect on the Institute and what we have achieved as an industry in the last 50 years. We will also look forward to what we can expect in the next 50 years and the challenges and opportunities we need to prepare for as we navigate the future.

The program will be a mix of networking, plenary sessions and opportunities to connect.

Further information and a full program will be released soon but to book early, click here for more information.

UDIA WA are also producing a special 50th Anniversary Special edition of The Urbanist magazine with limited advertising spaces available in this publication. To celebrate with us through this special commemorative edition, click here for more information.

Ensure your project receives the recognition it deserves

UDIA WA are delighted to announce nominations for the 2023 UDIA WA Awards for Excellence are officially open.

For close to three decades, the prestigious and highly sought after UDIA WA Awards for Excellence program has maintained the status as one of WA’s most respected and valued industry awards.

Specifically developed by, and for, the development industry and judged by highly respected, independent industry professionals, the Awards recognise excellence and innovation across Western Australia.

Winning trophies are displayed with pride in boardrooms and display cabinets across the State as a tangible sign of excellence and achievement.

Enter the Awards and have your project celebrated at the 2023 Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner with over 500 influential development industry professionals and dignitaries from the Western Australian Government.

This year the categories are:

  • Residential Subdivision
  • Masterplanned Communities
  • Affordable Housing
  • Sustainability
  • Seniors Living
  • Urban Renewal
  • Social & Community Infrastructure
  • Marketing Excellence
  • Design Excellence
  • Boutique Development
  • Medium Density Development
  • Apartments (mid-rise)
  • Apartments (high-rise)
  • Diversity in Development
  • Women in Leadership
  • Young Development Professional

You can submit your nomination in 3 easy steps:

  1. Review the nomination kits here.
  2. Gather your project team and get a head start on understanding the relevant criteria and supporting documents you will need to make your submission stand out from the rest.
  3. Start your entry here.

UDIA WA would like to extend our thanks to the 2023 Awards for Excellence Platinum Sponsor Western Australian Planning Commission, Gold Sponsors Stantec and Category Sponsors nbn, Wormall Civil, Longreach Recruitment, Stockland and Slick Design for their support.

RBA holds cash rate

At its April Monetary Policy Meeting the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) chose to hold the cash rate target at 3.6%, a move that will hopefully provide a reprieve for millions of homeowners and was welcomed by UDIA WA and UDIA National.

UDIA National welcomed the RBA’s decision to pause on interest rates calling it an urgently needed measure to allow the housing industry some breathing space as it copes with increasing headwinds.

UDIA National President Max Shifman said many Australians are heading towards the mortgage cliff in May 2023, which will see rates reset upwards for fixed-rate loan borrowers that is expected to have substantial flow on impacts to the broader economy.

“A pause on interest rates will minimise the damage, and also provide industry with some much-needed stability after 10 consecutive rate rises,” Mr Shifman said.

Between the looming mortgage cliff, declining new housing supply, planning delays, and cost and productivity challenges leading to increasing industry bankruptcies, the upward pressure on house prices is only growing.

“We need to fast track initiatives to bolster development ready land, and we also need to find a way to make projects viable, especially making it possible for buyers to access the market with the financial capacity to purchase new homes,” Mr Shifman said.

UDIA National is keen to work with Government, industry and the community to workshop measures that boost development ready supply as outlined in our policy report ‘Growing affordable and social housing’.

UDIA WA echoed UDIA National’s sentiments in welcoming the pause on the official cash rate.

“While our recent State of the Land report highlighted that Perth is currently the most affordable capital city in Australia, we are acutely aware that 10 consecutive rate rises have put added pressure on those making mortgage repayments and it is also causing those considering purchasing some concern in relation to future repayments,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“The spectre of the ‘mortgage cliff’ is also concerning and I think the RBA has made a prudent decision to wait and see the impact more fully of previous decisions,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“The housing supply shortage that is being felt across Australia, including right here in WA, is at critical levels and interest rate rises have added further disincentives for investment in the current climate,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“The time to act is right now and we need to ensure that State and Federal government policy is aligned and aimed at getting development ready land to the market quickly,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Ensuring adequate supply provides the much needed opportunity for those that are in a financially secure position to be able to access new housing that meets their households needs,” Ms Steinbeck said.  “At the moment there is very little stock available and there is also a lack of diversity to choose from that suits different household sizes, budgets and lifestyles in a range of areas.”

“It is time for all levels of Government and industry to work together and come up with viable, realistic options that can be implemented immediately to address the crisis that we are in.”

“While the RBA has made the decision to hold rates today, we are likely to see further hikes in future months and we must be prepared and face that challenge as a collective for the benefit of homeowners, renters and anyone that is seeking an affordable, secure roof over their head,” Ms Steinbeck said.

Urban Intelligence

On Tuesday UDIA WA released the latest edition of our monthly Urban Intelligence report which includes a round up of the key stats and facts impacting the development industry.

This month’s report includes a feature article from UDIA WA Executive Manager Research Toby Adams exploring recent housing and apartment sales across the Perth market using information from UDIA National’s flagship State of the Land report.

To read this month’s Urban Intelligence report, click here.

UDIA WA would like to thank our principal research partners Urbis, Landgate and CoreLogic for their assistance in putting these research reports together.

UDIA WA Standing Advisory Groups

The latest committee round kicked off with the Infrastructure SAG last Thursday, and Industry Workforce, Urban Water, Land Use Planning and Climate Action so far this week.

Key matters being discussed and progressed include:

  • sub-regional infrastructure coordination and identification of strategic infrastructure requirements for growth nodes
  • current planning-related consultations including parking standards for non-residential developments, Draft Operational Policy 1.12 – Planning Proposals Adjoining Regional Roads in Western Australia, and Planning Scheme Regulations for referrals to the EPA (the latter of which is one UDIA WA will be responding to)
  • environmental assessments and approvals
  • education needs around climate literacy, and climate action priorities in working with local governments

UDIA WA will continue to keep members updated and informed of key developments and discussions at these meetings.

Engagement with the new Development Contribution Plan team

On Friday 31 March, representatives of UDIA met with the new Director and key representatives of the newly established DCP team.

The team will have oversight of DCPs and will perform a regulatory function.  They will be involved in assessing complex scheme amendments involving DCPs at the front end, ensuring there is a clear need and nexus for items and that the costs are in check.

They are working through proposed improvements and UDIA WA will continue engagement around our policy priorities in this context.

UDIA WA will keep members informed regarding engagements and further collaborations with this newly established team.

Innovative Real Estate out to change the game

A new Real Estate Agency, created in collaboration between Burgess Rawson and Perth property professional Sarah Beale is looking to change the way Real Estate is advertised and administered in WA.

Specialising in residential sales, property management and off-the-plan projects for leading developers, the new company, Mouve, is a 50/50 partnership between Ms Beale and Burgess Rawson, headed up in WA by Directors Chris Wiese and Andrew Graham.

“There is a huge gap in the market for an agency that can make real estate about people and communities again. Homebuyers and sellers are saying enough is enough. We’re over egos and influencers,” Ms Beale said.

“Everybody says real estate has changed. But when you look closely it hasn’t changed at all. It’s just that the human connection has got lost somewhere along the way.”

There will be strictly “no scripts and dialogues training” for agents at Mouve, and their faces won’t appear on the agency’s for-sale signs.

“Launching Mouve has been an opportunity to completely change people’s perception of the real estate industry,” Ms Beale said.

Even the digital platform Ms Beale and her team are building is among the first of its kind in WA.

“We know our clients want us to be in front of buyers, focussed on getting the best possible price for their property, not bogged down with the paperwork,” Ms Beale said.

There’s a focus on environmental responsibility too.

Rather than flooding letterboxes with printed flyers, Mouve is favouring digital solutions, including QR codes taking potential purchasers to property information and market updates.

Debuting in Perth’s western suburbs and coastal strip, Mouve has big plans to expand across WA and then along the east coast of Australia.