From the CEO

A 2am text message is generally only for one of two reasons. A spam message from the other side of the world or an emergency.

Grabbing your children in the early hours of the morning with your animals and your most prized possessions to evacuate to safer ground, with the thick smell of smoke and burning embers falling around you is quite frankly, terrifying. In February 2021, this was our family as we evacuated from our home in the valley in response to a DFES emergency text. Thankfully the wind went the way it needed to and our first responders prevented a potentially catastrophic loss of homes and lives.

So today as I watch and listen to the news of the fire in Wanneroo and think of the so far 10 homes that have been lost, I do so with immense gratitude for those that are putting their lives on the line to save others and their properties. We were warned to prepare for a hotter and earlier bushfire season and what a tragic start and stark reality check we have in front of us today.

Much of the land that has been burnt thus far is in the East Wanneroo area. Many of our members have landholdings in this location and know it intimately. As I listened to the fear in the voice of a resident who doesn’t know if her home is still standing this morning, I heard her genuine belief that as ‘she lived in the suburbs’ she thought it would never happen to them.

It can. It does. It has.

As an industry that delivers homes for our community, we are acutely aware of the planning requirements in bushfire prone areas. When planning and designing homes and communities, it is often a very tricky puzzle to pull together when trying to make the various pieces including provision of greater tree canopy, public open space, native vegetation and habitat retention fit whilst simultaneously minimising the cost impost on new home buyers to comply with BAL requirements.

There are many homes that are of an age that do not need to comply with construction regulations to respond to the Bushfire Attack Level in the area they reside. There are many people that aren’t aware of the ever-present danger of bushfire in suburbia and therefore are completely unprepared. There are always going to be circumstances that you simply cannot regulate or legislate to prevent because we are not in control of the environment.

What we can do is be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. My thoughts and best wishes are with the families impacted and that as many as possible get to return to their homes – still standing. And to the first responders putting their lives on the line for others, thank you.

NHP Report launch

On Monday UDIA WA were pleased to release the Perth and Peel Pilot Report for UDIA‘s National Housing Pipeline (NHP), exclusively to our members.

In mid-2022, UDIA initiated an innovative new project to develop and deploy a nationally consistent and robust methodology to measure and analyse the forward availability and readiness of land for the development of new housing in Australia’s mainland capital cities over the forthcoming 15 years.

The pilot of UDIA’s NHP project has been undertaken over the past year for the Perth and Peel region. This has informed the national pilot program, which is now being rolled out with an anticipated launch of mid-2024.

The rich industry and market intelligence generated by the NHP is intended to complement existing State and Federal government housing supply and forecasting programs, such as the WA Government’s Urban Growth Monitor and Housing Australia’s State of the nation’s Housing reporting.

Click here to read the pilot report, including a breakdown of the five sub-regions of the Perth Metropolitan Area and Peel.

We extend our thanks to Presenting Partner NBN for supporting this project.

UDIA National Congress Speaker announcement: Mark Farmer

UDIA are pleased to announce Mark Farmer will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming UDIA National Congress in Melbourne where he will lead the session on The Construction Industry’s Progress Towards Modernisation.

This session will reflect on the current state of the building and construction industry in Australia, and the critical importance modern methods of construction play in a construction and labour and skills crunch.

Mark is CEO and a Founding Director of Cast. He has over 30 years experience in construction and real estate and is a recognised international commentator on a variety of industry and policy related issues. Mark authored the Farmer Review, an influential 2016 independent government review of the UK’s construction labour model entitled ‘Modernise or Die’.

In 2019 he was appointed as the government’s Champion for Modern Methods of Construction in Housebuilding. Mark served on the Construction Leadership Senior Advisors Group from 2020 to 2023 and was an advisory board member of the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre from 2018 to 2023.

Mark is a national co-chair of Constructing Excellence, a technical advisor to Homes England, the chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority Future Homes Taskforce and is a trustee of the MOBIE educational charity. Mark is an honorary professor at The University of Salford’s School of Built Environment and holds honorary doctorates from the University College of Estate Management and the University of Wolverhampton. Mark was recipient of the CIOB President’s Award in 2021 in recognition of his work driving long term change into the construction industry.

Book your ticket to Congress here but be quick as Congress ticket prices increase on 1st December when the early bird ticket rate ends. Act fast to save $330 off your Congress Ticket.

Limited Accommodation for Congress dates still available. Secure these at the same time as booking your Congress and National Awards tickets.

Western Power Advocacy Update

UDIA WA has been proactively working with Western Power and our members to resolve issues faced in securing clearances, gaining energisation, and delivering timely and much-needed housing supply. Following a roundtable UDIA organised between Western Power and our members in October a variety of actions was developed to provide ongoing updates on progress towards agreed goals.

Please click here to view the updates to these actions since October.

2024-25 Committees confirmed

This week UDIA WA officially confirmed appointees to our Committees for 2024-25.

The UDIA WA Council recently endorsed a revised governance structure for our committees to ensure strategic alignment and a focus on driving outcomes.

As part of the revised structure, two new Strategic Committees have been formed and these are supported by Operational Committees, an Expert Pool, and Working Groups.

The two Strategic Committees are the Advocacy & Thought Leadership Committee and the Education, Connection & Excellence Committee.

The six Operational Committees include Infill Development & Precincts, Masterplanned Communities, Infrastructure, and Environment & Climate Action, all of which will sit under the Advocacy & Thought Leadership Committee while the Community & Consumer Conversations, and Professional Development Committees will sit under the Education, Connection & Excellence Committee.

In addition to this structure we also have our Outlook Committee, which provides an excellent pathway for those under 35 to engage with the industry and the issues that impact them as each member of the committee will also sit on one of the other committees.

We also have our Working Groups, including the Diversity Working Group and the RAP Working Group and this year we have introduced an Expert Pool, made up of industry professionals with at least 10 years expertise in a specific area, with their knowledge and insights able to be called upon as needed.

We would like to thank all who nominated for a committee, working group or expert pool and we look forward to a productive future working together. To find out who has been appointed to each committee, keep an eye out on our socials where we will be listing all the appointed members.

Duties Amendment Bill passes Parliament

This week the Duties Amendment (Off-the-Plan Concession and Foreign Persons Exemptions) Bill 2023 was passed by Parliament.

UDIA WA advocated for this amendment as it extends the transfer duty relief for buyers of off-the-plan residential apartments in multi-storey developments to projects that have commenced construction, providing greater certainty for developers to progress with new projects.

The Government committed $33 million to extending off-the-plan transfer duty relief for
pre-construction contracts and lifting concession thresholds in the 2023-24 State Budget, with the current scheme now due to end on 30 June 2025, providing more time for buyers to purchase in residential developments.

For eligible pre-construction contracts signed on or after 11 May 2023, the Bill provides:

  • a 100 per cent duty concession (capped at $50,000) for properties valued up to $650,000 (formerly $500,000); and
  • a concession phasing down to 50 per cent of the duty (capped at $50,000) for properties valued at $750,000 or more (formerly $600,000).

More purchasers will also be able to access the concession with the scheme being extended to apartments under construction for contracts signed from 31 August 2023 until 30 June 2025.

These purchasers will receive a transfer duty concession of up to 75 per cent of the concession currently available for pre-construction contracts, capped at $50,000.

Restrictions on the type of land eligible for a refund of foreign buyers duty if the land is purchased for residential development will also be removed, with these amendments applying retrospectively from 1 January 2023.

More information about the legislation is available here.

Policy Team in Action

On Monday morning, the Policy Team hosted a Joint Strategic Committee Meeting which brought members of the Economic, Environment and Liveability Committees together for the final Strategic Committee meeting of the year and the 2022/23 term.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the work that the Committees and SAGs had done during their term, ongoing matters to resolve as well as areas of focus for the 2024/25 Committees. It was an incredibly productive session for establishing priorities for UDIA’s Committees into the new year.

Thanks to all our Strategic Committee Members for your commitment to UDIA’s various advocacy and policy efforts over the 2022/23 term.

Engagement with the GAPP Councils

Representatives of UDIA attended the November meeting of the Growth Areas Perth and Peel Councils to discuss recommendations relating to enhancing the management of Development Contributions Schemes, as well as UDIA’s work to identify enabling infrastructure requirements for key growth areas.

New event launch: Constructing with Confidence

The multi-billion dollar residential construction sector has taken a battering across the country.

From material and labour shortages driving construction cost escalation, to a perfect storm of regulatory changes forming on the horizon – UDIA WA members identified construction costs as the single biggest constraint in delivering desperately needed housing supply.

To kick off 2024, UDIA WA is bringing together some of the sharpest minds in the industry to look at the key drivers to improve construction capacity in the year ahead.

COST: Join us for an exclusive presentation by John Bennett, Senior Leader of Construction Cost Estimation at CoreLogic on the latest Cordell Construction Cost Index (CCCI) quarterly report, and gain comprehensive insights into the dynamic world of building work costs for housing in Western Australia.

CAPACITY: We will explore the current state of play of WA’s labour market trends and skills shortages, with an update from Construction Training Fund CEO Tiffany Allen on the trends, challenges and opportunities government are seeing in this space.

CONSTRAINTS: Industry leader Dale Alcock talks to key constraints builders are facing including proposed Federal IR legislation, the potential banning of engineered stone, NCC changes and labour capacity constraints and how these issues will impact housing delivery in WA.

Following presentations UDIA WA President and Managing Director at Celsius Developments Richard Pappas will join the panel discussion with our guest speakers to debate ‘where to from here’ for the Western Australian construction industry.

To book for this event, click here.

UDIA would like to thank DevelopmentWA, WINconnect, Construction Training Fund, Mirvac and Networking Partner OpenLot for supporting this event.

WA population to potentially reach 5 million

WA’s population could reach a peak of 5,077,555 by 2071 according to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week.

This figure was revealed as part of the Population Projections, Australia data release by the ABS that also projected Australia’s national population to reach between 34.3 and 45.9 million people by 2071, with the current ten-year average annual growth rate (1.4%) projected to decline to between 0.2% and 0.9% and the median age (38.5 years) projected to increase to between 43.8 and 47.6 years.

These projections are not predictions or forecasts, however they illustrate what would happen to Australia’s population if assumed levels of the components of population change (births, deaths and migration) were to occur between 2022 and 2071.

While the projections reveal WA’s population could surpass 5 million at its highest level, the lowest level sees WA’s population only reaching 2,880,279 by 2071, only marginally higher than the 2,835,616 projected for 2023. The discrepancy between the two figures sees WA’s population projected to grow between 0.1% and 1.2% per year by 2071.

Other projections from the data release include Melbourne projected to be the largest city in Australia by 2071 with a projected population between 6.5 million and 9.9 million, surpassing Sydney between 2032 and 2046.

For more information, access the full data series here.

WA economy grows at strongest rate in nine years

Western Australia’s economy grew by 3.5% in 2022-23, outpacing the national economy and growing at the fastest rate in nine years, according to an announcement from the State Government this week.

The State’s domestic economy (excluding exports and imports) grew by 3.8% in 2022-23 – the fourth consecutive year of growth, and above the long-run average.

WA’s nominal Gross State Product (GSP) per capita is more than 60% higher than national GSP per capita at $157,390, reflecting the strong contribution that WA makes to the national economy. The figure also represents the first time GSP per capita has broken through the $150,000 mark.

Since 2018-19 the Western Australian economy has grown by 11.3%, the only mainland State economy to grow in four successive years.

Over this period, WA’s contribution to the national economy has accounted for 20.7% of national growth, almost double the State’s population share (10.8%), and second only to New South Wales that has around three times the population of WA.

RBA Minutes released

The minutes from the November Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Meeting were released this week following the first increase to the official cash rate target in 5 months.

The latest increase takes the official cash rate target to 4.35% and will provide further challenges to homeowners already struggling to balance mortgage repayments alongside rising cost of living impacts.

To read the minutes click here.