Joint industry letter on the Off-the Plan Duty Rebate nearly ready to be sent

A letter requesting some amendments to the recently announced Stamp Duty Rebate for Off-The-Plan Apartments is in the process of being finalised to be sent to Treasurer Ben Wyatt.

The letter is being created collaboratively with fellow industry organisations including MBA, HIA, Property Council and REIWA as we continue to work together to advocate to state government for a policy package to support the property market recovery in WA.

Within the letter it will detail some of the potential unintended consequences of the Stamp Duty Rebate Scheme and will provide solutions for how these consequences can be alleviated.

UDIA will update members on the progress of this letter and if there are any developments as a result of it.

UDIA meets with Minister Tinley

On Wednesday UDIA CEO Tanya Steinbeck met with Housing Minister Peter Tinley for our Quarterly update meeting.

Several key housing industry issues were discussed including the advancement of the State Housing Strategy and the Off-the Plan Duty Rebate Scheme.

UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity provided by the Minister for industry engagement.

Latest Urban Intelligence released

UDIA launched the October edition of our Urban Intelligence report to members on Tuesday, providing an outline of the latest economic and property market data and analysis.

Key results this month include a lift in WA’s resident population, the number of lots sold on the rise and a drop in WA’s unemployment rate.

For more information and to view the complete Urban Intelligence, click here.

Planning Reform

Earlier this week a UDIA representative took part in the first Planning Reform, Connected and Consolidated Growth Initiatives, Working Group.

The focus of the meeting was to discuss opportunities and implementation solutions for the Reform Actions A1-A3, which include District Planning Strategies, integrated land use planning and transport approvals in urban corridors and Integrating Infrastructure Investment with land use planning.

UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity to work with the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage on the Planning Reform Action Plan and looks forward to advancing the reform actions identified.

Time ticking for Committee Nominations

There is just over a week left for UDIA members to nominate themselves for a position on one of the 2020-21 committees. UDIA committee places are limited and highly sought after so this may be the last opportunity to get onto a committee until 2021!  We recommend you don’t miss the deadline.

Our policy team is always on the look out for a diverse representation of skills and expertise across the committees to ensure UDIA is well informed on relevant industry issues.

Nominations are being accepted for the following UDIA Committees: Environment; Housing Diversity; Industry Workforce & Diversity; Infrastructure; Land Use Planning; Outlook (Young Professionals); and Urban Water until COB Friday 22 November, 2019.

Apply now to assist in leading the planning, implementation and delivery of the Institute’s policy and advocacy agenda; and actively identify and address strategic opportunities and challenges faced by the urban development industry.

Further information is available on the UDIA website here.

Strategen JBS&G Member Briefing

The changes across the current environmental acts, namely – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Biodiversity and Conservation Act 2016 and the Environmental Protection Act 1986, have the potential to affect project budgets, timeframes and outcomes.

This was one of the main messages to come out of the member briefing presented by Strategen JBS&G last Thursday with Darren Walsh and Dale Newsome, both providing key insights into how to interpret and implement elements of the Acts.

The session was informed by the pair’s extensive experience in environmental approvals and was attended by a number of our members and we extend our thanks to Strategen JBS&G for an informative discussion and to those members who attended.

For more information about how Strategen JBS&G can help you, click here.

New research shows downsizing behaviours of older Australians

Wednesday saw the release of a new study by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) into the current geographic and downsizing behaviours among Australians aged over 55, and considers the barriers to, and consequences of downsizing.

The research was conducted as part of a need to ensure housing markets function efficiently and facilitate housing choices that meet the needs of older Australians, which is critical for the welfare of older Australians and to ensure the efficient functioning of the economy.

Among the key findings, the research revealed that there is a high rate of home ownership among older Australians, that older Australians tend not to downsize, rather they maintain a high level of housing wealth throughout their retirement but for those that do downsize, financial downsizing is more common than physical downsizing.

Typically, for those who look to physically downsize, this is generally associated with key life events, such as a deterioration in health, a transition to retirement, widowhood or children leaving home.

The research found no evidence to suggest older Australians choose not to sell their homes because they are concerned around eligibility for the age pension but it did highlight that age pension thresholds create some disincentives for downsizing behaviour.

In terms of what the research means for policy makers, AHURI suggested three areas of government policy should be discussed:

  • the replacement of stamp duty with a broad-based land tax would be a useful step towards a more efficient and neutral policy regime
  • the implicit and explicit benefits to owner-occupiers embedded in the tax system
  • the concessional treatment of owner-occupied housing in the age pension eligibility rules.

These policy suggestions align with policies UDIA believes should be discussed with creation of a concession for seniors look to right-size being included in the joint industry stimulus letter presented to Ministers Tinley and Saffioti last month.

To read the AHURI research in more detail, click here.

Water Corp Member Briefing

On Tuesday the Water Corporation, supported by Waterwise Partners, DevelopmentWA and Josh Byrne & Associates, hosted a presentation on the water efficiency findings of leading Waterwise Development WGV and provided an update on the expansion of the Waterwise Development Program and its newly introduced recognition scheme.

During the session Dr Josh Byrne spoke on the water efficiency successes and challenges of the WGV project, from design to implementation, and now occupation. Among the facilities in place at WGV there is a communal groundwater irrigation system, lot scale rainwater harvesting as well as a demonstration on how to transform an infiltration basin eyesore into a sought-after public space.

Following the presentation from Dr Byrne, Adele Gismondi from the Waterwise Development Program detailed how the Waterwise Development Program has recently expanded its avenues for endorsement and has introduced a recognition scheme to highlight the great work developers are doing to create resilient and sustainable communities.

Ms Gismondi showcased how the expanded program aligns with the CRCs Water Sensitive Cities Index framework and acknowledges developments that are demonstrating leadership in driving liveability outcomes across the water cycle and their valuable contributions to creating waterwise cities and communities.

We would like to thank the Water Corporation, Development WA and Josh Byrne & Associates for hosting and presenting an informative session and we extend our thanks to those members who attended and hope you benefitted as much as we did from the session.

For more information about WGV click here and for more information about the Waterwise Development Program, click here.

Housing finance commitments on the up

The September Quarter saw an uptick in the number of housing finance commitments across the board compared to the previous quarter, but it was a mixed result compared with this time last year.

First home buyers registered the biggest increase in housing finance commitments as in the September Quarter these increased 9.9% Quarter-on-Quarter to 3,817, which was also 6.3% higher Year-on-Year. This was the first positive quarterly YoY result since March 2018.

The value of FHB housing finance commitments also increased 14.3% QoQ and 12.3% YoY to $1.226 billion, the highest quarterly total since December 2017.

Non-FHB housing finance commitments (exc. refin) also saw a 4.6% QoQ increase to 6,509 but remained 2.1% below levels at the same time last year. The value of non-FHB housing finance commitments was up 7.5% QoQ and 0.3% YoY to $2.36 billion, the first positive quarterly YoY result since September 2014.

In the September quarter, the value of finance for investment dwellings (exc. refin) increased 2.5% QoQ to $651 million but remained 14.6% below figures at the same time last year.

The number of owner-occupier housing finance commitments (exc. refin) in WA increased 6.5% QoQ and 0.8% YoY to  10,326, the first quarterly YoY increase since September 2017 (12,254).

The value of owner-occupier housing finance commitments (exc. refin) was also up 9.7% QoQ and 4.1% YoY to $3.586 billion.

Community Titles Act Industry Reference Group

On Monday, UDIA took part in the first Community Titles Act Industry Reference Group meeting.

The purpose of the CTA Industry Reference Group is to inform the planning and development component of the Community Titles (General) Regulations 2019. The Regulations are anticipated to enable the commencement of the Community Titles Act in mid-2020.

UDIA will keep members informed of progress and seek engagement with members as the Regulations are developed. UDIA also thanks Landgate and the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage for engaging with industry on this key reform.

Developers picked to revitalise old Kinlock Primary School site

Yolk Property Group and Ventura Homes Group have been appointed by the Department of Communities as project managers for a new land and housing development on the former Kinlock Primary School Site in Ferndale.

It is estimated the Kinlock Infill Development will deliver approximately 90 residential lots in diverse sizes and prices to suit a range of people, lifestyles and budgets including house and land packages, vacant lots and an appropriate mix of lots allocated for social housing.

Most of the house and land packages will be sold below the median Perth house price – increasing the supply and diversity of affordable housing for Western Australians.

To better meet the changing needs of occupants over their lifetimes and provide versatility for people with mobility impairment, every social housing dwelling will incorporate liveable design features. These features will also be available for people who purchase house and land packages.

The Department of Communities is investigating opportunities to include sustainability initiatives which will benefit future residents and compliment the unique character of the area. This may include sustainable power generation, the promotion of urban tree canopies, and pedestrian-friendly street designs.

The first stage of land development is planned for the 2020-21 financial year and will see the release of approximately 35 lots.

For more information, see here.

Western Power Manual, Guides and Standards update

During the first quarter of the 2019/20 Financial Year, Western Power updated a number of its public documents in line with scheduled reviews and to ensure ongoing compliance with both regulatory and network requirements.

The amended documents include the:

  1. Distribution Overhead to Underground Conversion Standard (OUC) (Previously known as the Pole to Pillar (P2P) Standard)
  2. Distribution Un-Metered Supply Standard (UMS)
  3. Distribution Customer Connection Requirements (DCCR)

Collectively the OUC and UMS Standards have been:

  • reformatted and edited to reflect current presentation and delivery layouts;
  • aligned with the restructured connection fee and application process and policy terms and conditions;
  • reconfigured using current terminology and language;
  • clarified to emphasize, third party access and connection permissions associated with network pillars and pits arrangements; and
  • where applicable, amended to incorporate alternative connection options for unmetered and metered customer supplies.

In summary the changes are generally technical and therefore would not represent variations to Western Power policy. The only notable exceptions are those editorial alterations associated with network fees and charges together with the extended limited use of network pits for unmetered supplies or urban brownfield underground connections.

The DCCR, has also been updated to support the two amended Standards and the pending introduction of a completely new edition of the Distribution Substation Manual (DSM) to be known as the Distribution Substation Plant Manual (DSPM).  DCCR changes include references to the new service and un-metered pit connection options.

The two amended Standards (OUC & UMS) together with the updated DCCR, are available via Western Power’s public website here.

PlacemakingX launches in WA

With a vision to make the spaces we live into places we love, PlacemakingX officially launched in Western Australia following an event last night with a welcome address from WAPC Chairman David Caddy.

PlacemakingX is in the process of building a network of placemaking thought leaders, public space activists, regional network leaders, and professionals from all over the world. PlacemakingX is a cooperative network initiated by these leaders. Over the coming months, it intends to build out a collective impact network to amplify and accelerate the placemaking movement globally, and locally.

For more information about PlacemakingX, 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

  • DWER Climate Change in Western Australia – Issues Paper (here). Submissions close November 29, 2019.
  • Proposed reforms to the building approval process for single residential buildings in WA (here). Submissions close December 9, 2019.
  • Draft East Wanneroo District Structure Plan (here). Submissions close December 20, 2019.

WA wage increase struggling but wages still high

Once again, the September Quarter registered a fairly dismal result in terms of wage growth in Western Australia.

For the fifth consecutive quarter the WA annual wage growth remained at 1.6%, which was below national wage growth of 2.2% and was slower than all of the other states (NSW 2.2%; Victoria 2.8%; Qld 2.1%; SA 2.3%; Tas 2.3%; NT 2.2%; ACT 2.5%).

Despite the sluggish wage growth, statistics from earlier this year showed that in May 2019, WA had the third highest total weekly earnings per person at $1,311 out of all states (ACT $1,451; NT $1,400.7; NSW $1,287.3; Victoria $1,209.1; Qld $1,190.8; SA $1,084.8; Tas $1,047.5).

This means that although wages in WA are not rising as quickly as the other states, people in WA are still earlier more than most people in the country.

Site Security Update

CCTV footage which shows offenders stealing plants from a display home in Cumberland Avenue, Ellenbrook has been passed onto police. The fairly brazen theft can be seen on video here along with details for reporting any information that may assist with enquiries.

In another incident caught on video, 2 males were located by Braven Group Services security patrol in the act of dumping a large amount of rubbish onto a building site, the offenders quickly decamped the area spilling rubbish across the site and roadway. Vision and vehicle details have been passed to the local council with the offender set to receive a sizable infringement for his troubles, see video here.

An offender was disturbed in Butler when the owner of an under construction Homestart home attended to check on progress. A male person was observed removing the hot water unit from the side of the premises and quickly fled the area leaving the hot water unit behind. A good description of the male and registration number of his vehicle was obtained with investigators liaising with local Police to ensure the offender is appropriately dealt with.

For more information or to report onsite crime, click here.