UDIA in Action

It has been full steam ahead at UDIA WA despite the current restrictions, with the team quickly pivoting to remote working and assisting with final preparations for today’s virtual UDIA National Summit and National Awards for Excellence presentation.

The team tuned in to the Summit and enjoyed an informative set of presentations including a keynote from Prime Minister Scott Morrison as well as a presentation from Housing Minister Michael Sukkar and a range of industry experts.

The Summit culminated with the UDIA National Awards for Excellence presentations and we are delighted to announce that Western Australia’s Echelon by Giorgi won the Medium Density award, showcasing how much Perth is evolving as we embrace more medium and high-density product.

UDIA Director of Policy and Research Chris Green participated in the Housing Industry Forecasting Group meeting this week with the group’s forecasts set to be released in the next few weeks. Chris also attended the Water Sensitive Transition Network meeting which discussed the current progress of the Waterwise Perth Action Plan and next steps.

Our Policy team has also lodged two submissions on behalf of industry this week, one in relation to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 and accompanying Guidelines which seek to improve the management of cash-in-lieu payments for car parking.  The second on the Draft Operational Policy 1.11 Community Schemes. 

As always UDIA is keen to ensure that our industry is well represented on the broad range of issues impacting our industry and we welcome members feedback and advice on issues that you think we should be tackling.

Echelon recognised as National Award winner

A huge congratulations to Giorgi for picking up the UDIA National Award for Excellence in the Medium Density category for Echelon Residences.

Echelon was drawn from the best of the best across Australia through a rigorous process over a period of 8 months from launch through to the completion of judging.

The rare riverfront inner-city location, in one of the world’s most liveable cities, was the inspiration for an iconic project comprising of 12 ultra-luxury residences, 6 boutique offices and a ground floor restaurant.

To win in this category, is truly an achievement as Giorgi has demonstrated quality, innovation and outstanding excellence and should be proud of their Award this year.

The UDIA National Awards for Excellence shine a light on the world-class developments taking place across the nation and demonstrate excellence, quality and industry best practice, whilst celebrating the contributions of architects, engineers, environmental professionals and consultants.

UDIA National Summit

Earlier today the UDIA National Summit took place virtually and was kicked off with Prime Minister Scott Morrison providing the opening address.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to update attendees on the Federal Government’s initiatives as part of Australia’s path to economic recovery including the important role the urban development industry plays.

Following Mr Morrison, Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukker provided an update on the success of the HomeBuilder stimulus measure and he said the main intent from the program was around keeping the ‘tension in the cord’ to ensure the industry is able to continue working at a high capacity.

Mr Sukkar said the program had been very successful taking first home ownership to the highest levels for a decade among a raft of greatly improved home building statistics.

He also confirmed the Morrison Government will not be introducing any additional housing taxes at any upcoming election in a bid to ‘stand strong’ with the development industry and not undo the hard work undertaken recently to assist with the economic recovery.

Colin Keane, Director of Research4, presented next and he delivered an overview of greenfield market performance in the first quarter this year. Contrary to Mr Keane’s initial predictions, he said national land sales had increased following COVID, thanks primarily to the stimulus injections from the Federal and State Governments.

While land sales are at record high levels, the number of investor loans has dropped but first home buyer loans have increased dramatically in the last 12 months, similar to the rise that occurred following the GFC stimulus measures.

Westpac’s Bill Evans provided an update on Australia’s economic recovery, showcasing the strong rebound experienced across the nation, however he said the current spare capacity in the CBDs around the country could well prove challenging into the future.

In terms of the residential markets, he said the majority of the new house sales and the booms experienced around the nation have occurred outside of Sydney and Melbourne, highlighting that the other major capital cities have driven much of the growth.

Looking ahead Mr Evans said the upcoming Federal Budget is likely to be a high spending budget as he predicts there will be an additional $20 billion available to spend following high iron ore prices and extra capacity within current stimulus measures.

The final presentation came from Eliza Owen from CoreLogic who delivered a Housing Market Update since the start of the pandemic. She indicated that in most jurisdictions around the world house prices have generally increased with Australian prices rising around 9% since the end of 2019 and prices now around 5.7% higher than the previous peak in 2017.

Ms Owen highlighted that while supply of new housing is extremely high, the lack of overseas migration might impact the level of demand moving forwards.

In terms of predictions, Ms Owen expects property values to continue increasing through 2021, however not at the level seen throughout March; she also predicted that buyer and seller activity may ease through the cooler months of the year, however it is unlikely this will have much of an impact on dwelling values.

UDIA WA Community Schemes Policy Submission

UDIA WA has recently lodged a new submission on the Community Schemes Policy. Within the submission we highlighted that unforeseen challenges are likely to arise with the rollout of this largely unfamiliar new form of land tenure in WA, however the positive outcomes are significant including better integration of different land uses, together with the provision of more diverse housing, and more innovative delivery models for community infrastructure.

A key benefit of community schemes is that it provides an alternative funding model for the provision and maintenance of community and sustainability infrastructure, with direct ownership of infrastructure by communities facilitating the provision of infrastructure above and beyond that which local governments are willing to provide and maintain.

UDIA WA recommendations included:

  • It is vital that the regulatory framework provides sufficient flexibility and supports innovation as well as providing appropriate levels of certainty to individual lot owners and developers;
  • It is imperative that ongoing monitoring of the performance and effectiveness of the Community Titles Act, Regulations and supporting policy controls is undertaken;
  • Where community schemes provide infrastructure that benefits the lots within a community scheme and broader local community, credit should be afforded for that infrastructure provision – a particularly important point to ensure that housing within community schemes remains affordable, recognising that council rates exemptions are unlikely to apply to community schemes despite the level of infrastructure potentially provided and operated at no cost to local government;
  • Modifications are needed to allow common property within a community scheme (that is for community benefit and subject to a public access easement) to be counted towards the public open space contribution for that particular land parcel, ensuring the community benefit common property remains accessible to the public and for the benefit of the public;
  • To avoid unnecessary duplication, the WAPC should waive the requirement for other planning instruments, such as a local structure plan where appropriate; and
  • A more streamlined assessment timeframe and process (less than the standard 120 days) should be adopted where a community development statement (CDS) is lodged following development approval or where a CDS seeks to implement subdivision and/or a development proposal in accordance with a local structure plan.

To read the submission in full, click here.

Payment in Lieu of Parking

UDIA WA recently lodged a submission looking at proposed amendments to Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 and accompanying Guidelines which seek to improve the management of cash-in-lieu payments for car parking (Payment in Lieu of Parking Plans/PLPP)

Ensuring that these funds are managed appropriately, efficiently and transparently will become increasingly important and critical to retaining public confidence in the planning framework and development approval process.

Within the submission UDIA WA supports the principles and intent of the amendments in providing an alternative pathway to allow development to proceed with alternative parking arrangements. The intention to provide a standard and consistent approach in considering variations to minimum car parking standards and encourages uniformity of application across local government.

However further amendments are required to ensure transparency and compliance of the framework.

As part of this UDIA WA recommends:

  • Local governments encouraged to prepare PLPP in conjunction with a detailed planning framework such as an Activity Centre Plan or Precinct Plan to provide a more robust and complimentary framework ensuring that cash-in-lieu contributions collected are spent on relevant and intended purposes;
  • Local government financial reporting should be made available on an annual basis (as a minimum) and be easily accessible on both individual local government and the WAPC’s websites to ensure full transparency and accountability in the management and operation of PLPPs, with these reports (should be) audited and reviewed by the WAPC with parties contributing funds be given the opportunity to be engaged in the review process;
  • WAPC adopt mechanisms, procedures and retain sufficient oversight of the governance of PLPPs to safeguard compliance with the Regulations and Guidelines and ensure that local governments manage PLPP funds appropriately; and
  • A process for managing PLPP complaints be established.

To read the submission in full, click here.

State of the States report recognises WA’s success

The latest edition of CommSec’s State of the States report was released this week and highlights Western Australia’s strong economic recovery.

Each quarter, CommSec attempts to find out how each State and Territory is performing by analysing eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; equipment investment; unemployment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements.

For each state and territory, latest readings for the key indicators were compared with decade averages – that is, against the “normal” performance.

In the latest edition Western Australia climbed to third place, rising from sixth in the January report. This rise in the rankings is a result of strong economic growth, very strong dwelling commencement and Housing Finance figures. WA’s low unemployment rate also contributed greatly to WA’s higher placed finish.

Tasmania finished top of the list followed by the ACT in second spot. After Western Australia in third, Victoria sits in fourth, South Australia fifth, Queensland sixth, NSW seventh and Northern Territory in eighth place.

For more information and to read the full report, click here.

Premier to outline next steps

Later this evening WA Premier Mark McGowan is set to outline further steps following the three-day lockdown Perth and Peel experienced over the weekend.

Following five consecutive days of no community transmission it is expected that restrictions including capacity limits will be further relaxed, however masks are likely to still be required for a while longer.

The announcement will follow several emergency meetings this afternoon that will follow Parliament that re-opened again today following last month’s election.

Peak housing market growth

Research from CoreLogic has found the National Property Growth Rate in March was at its fastest pace since 1988 and was close to setting a new record.

Despite this heightened rate, the research shows several capital cities around the country have tapered off slightly and will continue to do so over the coming months, suggesting the growth rate might have reached its peak level.

According to the analysis of the research the first clear sign of a slowing in the pace of growth comes from CoreLogic’s daily reading of home values. The daily update of CoreLogic’s benchmark measure of housing values, the hedonic Home Value Index, is showing a clear and broad-based slowdown in the rate of housing value growth; a trend that has been evident since late March.

The research also shows there has been a rise in vendor activity recently with the four weeks ending April 18 recording 26,470 newly advertised capital city properties added to the market which was the largest number of new listings for this time of the year since 2016 and 17% above the five year average.

Along with more new advertised stock coming on the market, there has also been a significant lift in housing construction activity that will gradually add to overall supply levels. Approvals for new dwelling construction are at record highs, and dwelling commencements over the December quarter were almost 20% higher than a year earlier and 5.5% above the decade average.

On the flip side, population growth has turned negative for the first time since 1916, however the migration figures will have more of an impact on rental markets due to around 70% of Australia’s overseas migrants arrive on a temporary basis. Of the roughly 30% of migrants that arrive in Australia with permanent intentions, most would rent before buying, so the impact on buying demand is more gradual.

According to the analysis, while it’s likely the pace of capital gains has peaked, there remains a variety of factors that are likely to keep upwards pressure on housing values.

For more information and to read the analysis in full, click here.

PD Course

The UDIA WA Professional Development Course continues with module 3 taking place on Monday 3 May. The program is specifically designed for the Western Australian context and introduces participants to the various areas of knowledge required to operate effectively in our local residential development industry.

Participants will learn to define and manage projects, while becoming familiar with terminology from the broad range of disciplines and concepts involved in property development.

The remaining 4 modules in the current intake are as follows:

Monday May 3 – Module 3: Environment and Sustainability

Monday May 10 – Module 4: Project Management

Monday May 17 – Module 5: Building the Development

Monday May 24 – Module 6: Practical Application

There is the option to enrol for the full course or for any of the above specific modules, however spaces are limited.

For more information, click here or email events@udiawa.com.au to secure your place.

UDIA WA partners with Home in WA

UDIA WA is pleased to announce a new media partnership with the long running Home in WA television series. The new partnership provides an important opportunity for UDIA to showcase the fantastic work that the urban development industry does in creating new and regenerating existing communities to a wide audience on Channel 7. We will also be able to highlight the importance of the industry to the broader economy and jobs growth and foster greater engagement with residents and new home buyers.

As part of the media partnership Ron (DINGO) Reddingius is pleased to offer all UDIA WA members a very special discount rate for video content on the 2021 TV series. Filming is set to start in mid-May and we are excited to provide this opportunity to our members.

If you would like to showcase your company, business, project or estate on the CH7 & GWN7 TV series, state-wide, give ‘Dingo’ a call on 0417279103 or email him on dingoistalent@bigpond.com