UDIA in Action

We were pleased to host our June industry breakfast yesterday featuring a discussion around creating climate resilient communities.  While the impacts of climate change on our communities will be significant in the coming years, there was a lot of positive sentiment in the room around how industry and government can work more effectively together to progress toward the state government’s net zero carbon target by 2050.  Read more in the article below.

Today, UDIA WA representatives also attended the launch of the BCEC Housing affordability report in WA which has highlighted the growing gap between homeowners and renters.

Our Director of Policy and Research, Chris Green, participated in a Stakeholder Forum this week to discuss the issue of kangaroo displacement through the urban development process.  The forum was hosted by the City of Swan and primarily looked at the issues and possible solutions which closely aligned with UDIA WA’s position statement, available to read here.

Water resources was also high on the agenda this week, with Chris attending a meeting with DWER this morning to discuss alternative water sources (AWS) in the Northeast corridor and opportunities for AWS in the upcoming Waterwise Perth Action Plan 2.0.  This was followed by a meeting this afternoon with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to discuss the draft implementation plan for Perth to transition to a ‘Water Sensitive City’.

Finally, we launched our next Industry Breakfast for August entitled ‘Trains, Planes and Communities’ which will focus on how we can leverage the billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure for development growth in the North-East Corridor.  More here.

Creating Climate Resilient Communities

On Wednesday morning, UDIA WA hosted an industry breakfast event focused on ‘creating climate resilient communities’.  Moderated by Darren Walsh, Director of our Environmental Partner organisation Strategen JBS&G, the discussion was very positive, with representatives from industry and government coming together to consider how we can work together more effectively and proactively to achieve the government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Read more in our blog article outlining the presentations in more detail here.

Addressing WA’s skills shortage – feedback sought

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck has been invited to participate in the Premier’s WA 2021 Skills Summit next Wednesday.  UDIA has been invited to represent the development industry’s perspective on the current skills shortage and assist in identifying skill priorities and discuss potential new strategies to address current and emerging skill needs.

It is no secret that across many industries in WA, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find appropriately skilled workers.  For the development industry, this has impacts on the ability to deliver projects and may impact housing affordability and supply.  The government is also likely to face difficulty in terms of delivering on major infrastructure projects over the coming years if an appropriate workforce cannot be secured.

If you would like to provide any particular feedback to UDIA that we can take to the skills summit on Wednesday, including examples of where skills shortages are impacting on your project or organisation and subsequent ability to deliver on time and on budget, please contact us: policy@udiawa.com.au

Addressing the skills shortage is an important aspect of UDIA’s push for a short- and long-term population strategy for WA.

Community Titles Regulations

On Friday of last week the Community Titles Regulations 2021 were gazetted and it was also announced that the Community Titles Act 2018 has been proclaimed to come into operation on 30 June 2021.

The DPLH Guidelines and Policy for Community Titles release is imminent and UDIA WA will provide further information on this when it is ready.

To view the relevant Community Titles documents, click here.

UDIA National: Housing Supply & State of the Nation Report 2020

This week UDIA National wrote a letter to the CEO of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) in relation to the data and assumptions, as well as findings, that underpin the State of the Nation 2020 Report published in December last year by NHFIC.

Within the letter UDIA notes that while the State of the Nation 2020 report is a snapshot in time, there has been such a dramatic change in land release and housing construction over the past six months that some of the data and findings in State of the Nation 2020 are already redundant and in need of an update given the severe housing supply and affordability issues gripping the nation.

Particularly in greenfield markets, where HomeBuilder worked to stimulate the most activity, acute shortages of land for future residential development is occurring – contrary to the forecasts of potential over-supply contained in State of the Nation 2020.

Based on the unprecedented level of activity, UDIA believes there are concerns with some of the key findings of the report, including:

  • The expectation that ‘an unprecedented demand shock will see new supply run ahead of new demand in many of Australia’s housing markets in the shorter term’ (p38);
  • The forecast that ‘we expect new supply to outpace demand by 127,000 dwellings in 2021 and 68,000 dwellings in 2022’ (p38);
  • The prediction that ‘demand for detached housing is expected to fall sharply and bottom out in 2021, but completions of detached housing construction continue to drive supply higher’ (p41); and
  • The expectation that our three largest capital cities – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – are likely to endure sustained periods of over supply (p43).

There are also examples of where the population projections and data have changed significantly since the release of the State of the Nation report.

The main concern outlined in the letter is the dependence and faith placed in the report’s findings by federal, state and local governments and their agencies – and it is being used as an excuse for inaction on land release and housing supply (as well as associated policy areas such as infrastructure planning).

As such UDIA National believes there is an urgent and compelling case for refreshing State of the Nation – so that it is more reflective of a post-HomeBuilder environment and avoids the risk of states seeking to defer action on strategic planning and land use decisions being able to lean on the existing version.

To view the letter in full, click here.

BCEC Housing Affordability Report

Earlier today the Bankwest Curtain Economics Centre released Housing Affordability in WA: a tale of two tenures.

Part of BCEC’s Focus on WA series, the report finds that housing affordability has improved in Western Australia but this improvement has been uneven, with a significant divide between those who own their home and those who are renting.

It finds that owner-occupiers are more comfortable now than they have been in some time, whereas many in the private rental market, particularly single parents, are struggling to make ends meet.

Key findings in relation to home ownership include that Perth now ranks third among states for annual growth in the price of established houses, behind Hobart and Sydney.  Nearly 11,000 dwellings were approved in WA between January and April 2021. This compares to under 4,800 approvals over the first four months of 2020.

More than 22,000 new housing loans to first home buyers in WA were approved in the 10 months between July 2020 and April 2021 – nearly double the number compared to the equivalent period a year earlier.

In terms of the rental market, from a peak of 7.3 per cent in June 2017, the vacancy rate in Perth has fallen dramatically and now sits at 0.9 per cent as at March 2021. The median rent for houses in Perth has risen by $20 per week in each of the three quarters from September 2020 to March 2021 – a combined increase of $60 to $430 over nine months.

Private renters had the most difficulty meeting housing costs with 34% regularly struggling compared to 26% of those with a mortgage.  One parent families and multi-generational households were in the least favourable position with well over 40% regularly struggling to meet housing costs.

Read the full report here.

UDIA raised serious concerns at our industry luncheon earlier this month with Minister Saffioti, launching our report into housing supply and how the lack of supply in the coming years will impact significantly on affordability.  Read more here.

Western Australia retains lowest unemployment of States as more people make the move west

Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its Labour Force data for May, which showed that for the third month in a row Western Australia has recorded the lowest unemployment rate of the States.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in May, down 0.2% from the previous month – the lowest unemployment rate since December 2013. Western Australia’s unemployment rate also remains below the national unemployment rate of 5.1%.

Western Australia also retains the lowest underemployment rate of the States at 7.2%.

The combination of low unemployment and underemployment reveals that underutilisation in the labour force is now at the lowest level since May 2014.

The ABS also released population growth data last week which showed Western Australia’s population grew by 1.3% in 2020.

Within this net interstate migration returned to growth for the first time since 2013, a sign of people moving to WA to take advantage of the excellent economic opportunities and strong handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Security of Payment Bill passes Parliament

This week the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Bill 2021 passed State Parliament, boosting protections for subcontractors in the building and construction industry.

The Bill, which complements measures already delivered through the expanded use of Project Bank Accounts on government projects, introduces a mandatory retention trust scheme.

The Bill gives contractors a right to claim minimum monthly progress payments to ensure subcontractors are not left with large outstanding invoices. It also delivers a rapid dispute resolution process to speed up the receipt of outstanding payments.

These measures improve the likelihood that, in the event of an upstream insolvency, contractors will have already been paid as well as provide a robust dispute resolution process.

Additionally, the regulator will have the power to remove from the industry unscrupulous registered building contractors with a history of ripping off subcontractors or who engage in ‘phoenixing’.

South Fremantle Power Station to be sold for redevelopment

A new future for the South Fremantle Power Station in North Coogee is a step closer with Synergy today advertising the start of an expressions of interest process to sell the iconic site.

Like many power stations of its time, redevelopment has proven challenging with the cost to remediate the site historically exceeding development value.

Synergy will adopt a confidential sale process to explore sale options with developers that have the financial capacity and experience in developing heritage sites with remediation issues.

The expressions of interest phase closes on July 2, 2021. Subject to board approval, Synergy expects to announce the successful bidder in September 2021.

South Fremantle Power Station opened in June 1951 and worked in conjunction with the East Perth Power Station to supply the metropolitan area with power. The site has significant heritage value and was recently listed on the State Register of Heritage Places.

All sale enquiries and expressions of interest can be submitted to SFPS.EOI@synergy.net.au.

Awards for Excellence entries close soon

In less than a week nominations for the UDIA WA 2021 Awards for Excellence will close so this is your final chance to make sure your project gets the recognition it deserves!

Remember your nomination submission needs to be completed, submitted and the payment form returned to UDIA WA by 30 June otherwise your project will miss out.

There are categories for a wide variety of projects including the prestigious Diversity in Development award which rewards companies that provide exemplary leadership in this field.

Nominees will be able to demonstrate diversity in development within their organization or within the development industry as a whole, and should provide examples in which they have incorporated diversity in development into their workplace, the industry or in relation to a specific project/issue.

The Award winner will be selected on the basis of a genuine diversity in development contribution to the development industry.

For more information on this category and all of the other categories, click here and make sure you submit your nomination here by 30 June.

Enhance your career with UDIA WA

There is just one week left to take advantage of UDIA WA’s EOFY deal and enhance your career with one of our exceptional courses.

Members booking for a UDIA WA  course before 30 June can receive 10% off, providing excellent career development opportunities.

For more information and to see full T&C’s, click here.