Planning and Development Bill becomes law

Good news for those developers with a ‘significant development’ proposal that they would like to get off the ground!  The Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2020 received Royal Assent on Monday 7 July, meaning that the legislation is now in operation.  Some parts of the Act will take time to implement including the establishment of a Special Matters Development Assessment Panel to assess projects of State or regional importance.

UDIA WA once again congratulates the McGowan government on ensuring that this critical legislation was progressed through Parliament in such a timely manner and we look forward to working with the government moving forward as elements of the legislation are implemented.

UDIA receives clarification on Building Bonus eligibility for strata schemes

The UDIA WA policy team has been working through questions and points of clarification on behalf of members with regard to the eligibility criteria for government stimulus, particularly regarding single tier strata schemes.

In general, the Office of State Revenue advises that to be eligible for the single-tiered development stimulus the purchaser must “be the registered owner of the land on which the new home is built and must be the buyer named in the off-the-plan contract or an eligible transferee.”

However, there are circumstances where the developer can receive the grant and pass it on to the home purchaser.  For example, a developer who’s looking to build a row of townhouses if they (the developer) enter into a contract to construct those homes with a builder, they can obtain and pass the grant on to the home purchaser. As long as they sell the townhouses as completed dwellings the developer can receive the grant.

Building Bonus example scenarios are available on the Department of Finance’s website here together with contact information.

UDIA has also put together a flyer that outlines some of the basics regarding the state and federal stimulus packages, download it here.

RBA keeps status quo

The RBA met on Tuesday and unsurprisingly, agreed to keep the official cash rate on hold and the yield on 3-year Australian Government bonds of 25 basis points.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement that the Bank is prepared to scale-up its bond purchases again and will do whatever is necessary to ensure bond markets remain functional and to achieve the yield target for 3-year AGS. The yield target will remain in place until progress is being made towards the goals for full employment and inflation.

The Governor says that the Australian economy is experiencing the biggest contraction since the 1930s. Since March, an unprecedented 800,000 people have lost their jobs, with many others retaining their job only because of government and other support programs. He went on to say that conditions have stabilised recently and the downturn has been less severe than earlier expected.

It is likely that fiscal and monetary support will be required for some time. Read the full statement here.

UDIA meets with Western Power

UDIA WA met with Western Power representatives to discuss the mitigating risks associated with the building stimulus packages including restrictive covenants. UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity provided by Western Power to discuss industry issues and will keep members informed.

WA Tomorrow story mapping

Something of interest for those that like their data and forecasting information laid out in a visual way.  The WA Tomorrow Population Report No. 11 forecasts are now presented in Storymap incorporating PowerBI.

The Storymap section is an infographic summary of the forecasts at the state level. It explains the components of population change and provides an overview of what the future population may look like. The forecast data can be explored further with interactive tables, charts and maps in the PowerBI section.

WA Tomorrow Population Report No. 11 contains the latest population forecasts by age and sex, for Western Australia and its regions.  They represent the official WA State Government forecasts to 2031.

Read more here.

Loan activity falls dramatically across Australia  

The housing market downturn in NSW and Victoria has driven the largest fall in national loan commitment data since the series commenced in 2002.

The value of new loan commitments for owner occupier housing in May 2020 fell 10.2 per cent, while investor housing fell 15.6 per cent. The number of owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments fell 9.3 per cent.

There was strong growth in the value of fixed interest rate loans funded in April and May driven by refinancing activity.

Interestingly, owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments accounted for 31.7% of all owner occupier commitments (excluding refinancing), in original terms.

Turning to WA in particular, the total number of new housing loan commitments (owner occupier) decreased 21% Month on Month, comprised of a 13% fall in commitments for the construction of dwellings (-8% YOY), a 26% fall in commitments for the purchase of newly erected dwellings, a 22% fall in commitments for the purchase of existing dwellings (-14% YOY), and a 20% fall in commitments for the purchase of residential land.

The total value of new housing loan commitments fell 20% MOM.

Looking at the investment market in WA, the total number of new investment housing loan commitments decreased by 30% MOM, comprised of a 52% fall in commitments for the construction of dwellings, a 6% fall in commitments for the purchase of newly erected dwellings, and a 29% fall in commitments for the purchase of existing dwellings (-14% YOY).

On a positive note, investor commitments for the purchase of residential land increased 21% while the total value of new housing loan commitments fell by 29% MOM and 22% YOY.

The number and value of new housing loan commitments made by non-residents increased by 10% and 31% MOM respectively.

Public Open Space planning in Rockingham open for discussion

The City of Rockingham is seeking public comment on its draft Public Open Space Community Plan Strategy (POS Strategy).

The City is responsible for the management of over 460 individual parcels of POS including parks, active playing fields and nature reserves. Additional POS is regularly being added in emerging areas through the land development process. At least 27% of the total municipality area is currently reserved for conservation, foreshore and formal open space.

The draft POS Strategy is a new item that aligns with the City’s Strategic Community Plan 2019-2029. The Strategy has been prepared to guide the planning, development and management of POS.

View a copy of the draft strategy here

The submission period for the draft POS Strategy closes on the 31st July 2020.

Perth home values continue to fall

According to the latest figures released by CoreLogic, following a 0.4% decline in May, their Home Value Index recorded a second consecutive month of falls, with the national index down 0.7% in June.  Each of the five largest capital cities recorded a decline in home values over the month, ranging from a drop of 1.1% in Melbourne and Perth to 0.2% in Adelaide.

CoreLogic head of research, Tim Lawless said “The downwards pressure on home values has remained mild to-date, with capital city dwelling values falling a cumulative 1.3% over the past two months.  A variety of factors have helped to protect home values from more significant declines, including persistently low advertised stock levels and significant government stimulus.  Additionally, low interest rates and forbearance policies from lenders have helped to keep urgent sales off the market, providing further insulation to housing values.”

The median house value in Perth sits at $441,997, which is down 1.4% for the quarter and 2.5% for the year.

More here.

NSW Productivity Commission reviews infrastructure contributions

The NSW Government is currently reviewing the state’s infrastructure contributions system and the NSW Productivity Commission has released an issues paper outlining a broad summary of key issues with the existing system that have been identified by key stakeholders.

The current system is considered by stakeholders as complex, with a perceived lack of transparency and efficiency. In addition to this, limitations on other funding sources is placing greater pressure on the contributions system to raise the funds needed to meet rising infrastructure costs.

A new system will look to ensure the principles of efficiency, equity, certainty, and simplicity.

Read more about the review here.

Retail Trading surge

It seems relaxing restrictions such as social distancing measures and the reopening of ‘brick and mortar’ shops in several areas across Australia has had a significant impact on retail trade in May. The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent a 38 year record high in retail sales in May 2020.

In seasonally adjusted terms, nationally the total whole industry retail turnover increased 17% month on month and 6% year on year. WA experienced the highest lift in activity than any other state, with a huge 20% lift MOM and 13% YOY.

Some retailers are reporting that they are experiencing consumer activity comparable with pre-Christmas December activity.

Particularly of note were strong increases in industries reporting very low levels last month such as clothing and footwear, however these industries remain below May 2019 levels of trade.

Get the details here.

UDIA supports upcoming SHIFT Cooperative Innovation DigiConference

UDIA WA is pleased to support the upcoming DigiConference organised by Town Teams.

If you missed the inimitable David Engwicht at our State Conference in February, here is your chance to hear from the man himself, as he provides the keynote address along with a range of other thought-provoking speakers from around the country.

Exploring topics including recovery after crisis, helping retailers post-COVID, placemaking and place-branding, this conference is not to be missed.

Find out more and purchase tickets here.

While this conference is online, the after party is not!  Join fellow Perth delegates at The Rooftop at The Rechabite from 4pm – 6pm on the day of the conference to meet face to face and discuss what you have learned.