APRA revises buffer and floor rates

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has announced that it will proceed with proposed changes to its guidance on the serviceability assessments that authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) perform on residential mortgage applications.

UDIA has welcomed the decision by APRA to now require a floating floor of at least 2.5 per cent over the loan’s interest rate instead of the previous 7 per cent.

UDIA has advocated for the changes at a state and national level and welcomed support from the Treasurer Ben Wyatt in lobbying APRA directly in recognition of the tough property market conditions here in WA.

More details on the decision including the updated APG 223 Practice Guide can be found here.

UDIA provides advice on Strata Titles Regulations

In our formal submission on the draft Strata Titles Regulations, UDIA has reiterated support for the Strata Titles Reform agenda that we hope will facilitate development that can appropriately provide for the evolving demands of our communities and State Government development objectives.

In relation to the staged subdivision section particularly, UDIA has outlined concerns that the requirements may limit designers from making improvements to later development stages.

UDIA suggests that a more performance-based approach should be adopted with provision provided to allow licenced valuers to assess the impact of amendments to development stages on existing lots.

You can read our submission in full here.

UDIA releases latest Urban Intelligence

The latest figures from UDIA’s Urban Intelligence report reflect the continuing negative sentiment in the broader state economy.  While WA’s population growth is improving, it is one bright spot among several downward trajectories.

WA Dwelling commencement figures were at the lowest since December 2001 and finance commitments for first home buyers are down to 2011 levels.

The feature article this month analyses some of the latest findings from the BCEC Housing Affordability Report.

More information can be found in our full report here.

Diversify WA launched

The Premier launched Diversify WA, an economic development framework, on 4 July that outlines an economic ‘blueprint’ for the creation of 150,000 jobs in WA by mid-2024.  This target was set by the government’s Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity – Stronger Economy document that was published last year.

The Premier says that the framework provides the strategic foundations for growth and diversification, including a stable regulatory environment, appropriate infrastructure and sound fiscal management.

Priority economic sectors that are recognised in the document include Energy; Tourism; International education; Mining; Technology; and Primary industries.

It is pleasing to see that the development of “Brand WA” is included in the strategy. Brand WA will aim to “describe to the world what a vibrant, innovative place Western Australia is and connect it with our excellent reputation for premium, quality goods and services. Brand WA will be a distinct brand that producers, manufacturers, Government and the tourism industry can use to showcase the State and leverage its reputation.”

This is an area that UDIA has been advocating for the government to take the lead on.

More information and download the full publication here.

EOI sought for UDIA Urban Water Forum

UDIA WA will be holding a roundtable Urban Water Forum on Wednesday 24th July with UDIA members invited to join with members of the Urban Water Committee, Josh Byrne from Josh Byrne & Associates and Mike Mouritz (Chair of the CRCWSC RAP; Chair of the Research Sub-Committee of the WSC TN; and Researcher at Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute) to discuss UDIA’s potential role in advancing better urban water management.

Places are strictly limited, if you wish to attend please RSVP via email to policy@udiawa.com.au.

Australian National Outlook 2019

UDIA representatives attended the launch of the CSIRO and NAB Australian National Outlook (ANO) this week, examining what kind of country Australia could be in 2060 and exploring a range of nationally significant issues, risks and opportunities to identify how Australia’s long-term prosperity can be secured.

The scope of the ANO includes the economy, including new technology and science-based industries, cities and infrastructure, energy and emissions, and land use and focuses on two contrasting scenarios: Outlook Vision, which represents what could be possible if Australia can achieve its full potential, and Slow Decline, in which Australia fails to adequately address the challenges identified, leading to poorer outcomes in multiple dimensions.

Specifically relevant to the urban development industry, the report suggests that the average density of our major cities needs to increase by 60-88 per cent and urban vehicle kilometres travelled per capita should reduce by up to 45 per cent.

Full report available 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 policy@udiawa.com.au

  • EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment Guidance (here). Submissions close Monday 2 September, 2019.
  • DWER issues paper ‘Waste not, want not: valuing waste as a resource’ out for comment (here). Submissions close Wednesday 4 September, 2019.
  • Draft State Planning Policy 3.6 – Infrastructure contributions (here). Submissions close Monday 2 September, 2019.
  • City of Wanneroo Draft Revised Local Planning Policy 4.4: Urban Water Management out for public consultation here.

Build to rent feasibility in Australia

A new report funded by Landcom in New South Wales has found that major policy and tax reforms are required to facilitate greater success and take up of ‘Build to Rent’ projects in Australia.

Land tax, GST and income tax (as it affects overseas investors utilising Managed Investment Trust (MIT) vehicles) are the primary areas where change is required.

Land Tax is identified as the major policy lever, with the re-balancing of state government land taxes to incentivise purpose-built professionally managed rental (as opposed to small-scale letting of existing properties).

Download the full report here.

Nature Link Perth

Last week UDIA attended Nature Link Perth’s Symposium and Workshop exploring the potential for a coordinated approach to delivering nature sensitive urban design. Nature Link Perth is an initiative led by Murdoch University and is seeking to create a network of people to support nature sensitive urban design across Perth. The workshop was attended by a range of stakeholders and discussed the purpose and objectives for Nature Link Perth, potential partnerships and next steps.

More information here.

City of Kalamunda Development Contribution policy

The City of Kalamunda has released a draft Development Contribution Area Local Planning Policy for public consultation.

According to the City, the Policy will establish a concise and documented procedure for the establishment, operation and review of Development Contribution Areas (DCAs) to provide for the consistent management of DCAs by the City.

More information available here.

PACT Security update

The wet weather has resulted in a relatively quiet week for onsite crime.  Burglaries were committed in Treeby, Piara Waters and Armadale where thieves targeted kitchen cupboards and bathroom fittings.

The start of the school holidays has seen 3 sites in Golden Bay vandalised with damage to windows and ceilings.

Police have charged a bricklayer after the theft of a glulam beam from a Homestart site in Hammond Park. A roof carpenter, who witnessed the suspicious activity, took several pictures on his iPhone which were supplied to Pact Site Security investigators.

Investigators liaised with witnesses and Cockburn Police resulting in a charge of stealing. Restitution of $500 will be requested from the court when the offender appears before the magistrate.

Report all crime and suspicious activity here.

Trajectory for low energy buildings

Earlier this year, Energy Ministers agreed to the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, a national plan that sets a trajectory towards zero energy (and carbon) ready buildings for Australia.

The Trajectory identifies opportunities for the building sector in the context of a broader trajectory for the sector, and in summary proposes:

  • Setting a trajectory towards zero energy (and carbon) ready buildings
  • Implementing cost effective increases to the energy efficiency provisions in the National Construction Code (NCC) for residential and commercial buildings from 2022
  • Considering options for improving existing buildings in late 2019.

The Trajectory, and its underlying reports, seek to inform the future activities of the Building Ministers’ Forum and the Australian Building Codes Board when developing and implementing updates to the NCC, and to inform further Energy Council activities around building policy measures.

Stakeholder Reference Group workshops are being held during July and August 2019 in most capital cities.

A free Stakeholder Reference Group workshop to investigate policy options for improving energy efficiency in existing residential buildings is being hosted by the Department of the Environment and Energy in Perth on Thursday 25 July from 9am. To participate or to find out more visit here.

Building and construction industry standards

UDIA National office is drafting a paper on behalf of members to the Federal Government in response to the 2018 independent report – Building Confidence by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir.

In mid-2017 the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) commissioned this report to assess the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia.

UDIA is preparing a response paper given the elevated public debate around building and construction standards following defects emerging in several apartment buildings in Sydney and the continued debate around solutions required to deal with non-compliant cladding.

While the Commonwealth does not have the constitutional power to regulate building and construction, it is offering to work with the states in developing a policy response.

If UDIA members wish to provide comment to inform the national paper, please review the Building Confidence report recommendations here and forward any comments to policy@udiawa.com.au

New board for WA Waste Authority

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson announced a new five-member Waste Authority board yesterday.

Members include former Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia chief executive officer Reg Howard-Smith as the new chairperson and Lee Broomhall (Chief Executive Officer, Workpower) as deputy chairperson, along with members Kelly Howlett (Chief Executive Officer, Bloodwood Tree Association), Tim Youé (Chief Executive Officer, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council) and Dr Joshua Byrne (Director, Josh Byrne & Associates).

The board will guide the Waste Authority’s implementation of the State’s waste management blueprint, the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, while driving key programs and offering advice to the Minister for Environment.

Aged Care Report reflects growth in high end care

A new report providing an Australia-wide view of the aged care market has found that where residential care growth has stagnated at the lower end of the pricing options, the middle-range and more luxurious options have seen stronger growth.

However, the lower range still constitutes the bulk of approvals share.

More information here.

Latest on building activity and lending

According to the latest from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) total private-sector WA dwelling commencements fell 8.8% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) in March to 3,208, 18.2% lower than at the same time last year.

Dwelling commencements for houses, which formed part of the total above, were also down 11.0% QoQ and 19.3% year-on-year (YoY) to 2,521. This quarter was the lowest number of dwelling commencements since June 2001 for total dwelling commencements and the lowest since March 2001 for total houses commenced

In terms of lending to households and businesses, in May, the total number of first home buyer (FHB) housing finance commitments increased to the highest level since November 2018 for any one month, rising 16.7% month-on-month (MoM) to sit at 1,262. However, year-on-year results remained down 10.2%.

The value of FHB housing finance commitments also lifted 12.8% MoM to $381.4 million, but fell 14.1% YoY.

The number of non-FHB housing finance commitments (excluding refinancing) increased 12.2% in May to total 2,263, 10.8% below figures at the same time last year. The value of these commitments was up 14.3% to $802.7 million, but was down 16.6% YoY.

Total owner-occupier housing finance commitments (excluding refinancing) increased 13.8% in May to 3,525, the highest number since November 2018, but remained 10.6% down YoY.