UDIA meets with Minister for Housing

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck and Research and Policy Director Chris Green met with the Hon. Peter Tinley this morning to discuss a range of issues relevant to the urban development industry and current market conditions.

Along with discussing issues arising from the state budget including the continuation of the Foreign Buyers Surcharge; Keystart amended thresholds; and population growth estimates, UDIA provided our latest research paper for the Minister’s consideration that outlines the benefits of introducing a stamp duty concession for seniors moving into more liveable homes.

Other items for discussion included UDIA’s EnviroDevelopment program; strata reform and minimum requirements for strata managers; an update on the affordable housing for seniors strategies; and the relationship between Keystart and the Federal Government’s new First Home Buyer Deposit Scheme.

UDIA is pleased to have the opportunity to represent the industry directly to the Minister on a regular basis.

Minister for Water meets UDIA representatives

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck, President Nick Allingame, along with Research Director Chris Green and UDIA WA Urban Water Committee Chair and Councillor Avril Thomson met with the Minister for Water the Hon Dave Kelly today.

Top item on the agenda was a discussion around the importance of ensuring water planning progresses with precinct planning to provide a water framework to support optimal future urban planning outcomes.

Other items for discussion included alternative water sources and options for irrigation of the public realm, DWER under resourcing that is resulting in substantial time delays for approvals, along with UDIA’s support for the development of a Water Wise Strategy for Perth.

UDIA provided several recommendations for the strategy, including providing a model supported by all agencies which maps out a process for re-using shallow groundwater to minimise imported fill requirements and address groundwater allocation shortages; as well as funding to set up an online system to collect, record and openly share all water quality monitoring information.

Rates likely to fall further

UDIA welcomed Tuesday’s highly anticipated interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank as a timely move that will benefit the struggling WA property market.  In our statement to the media, we advised that WA has been wearing the pain of monetary policy decisions made to address economic and market conditions on the east coast for too long.

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck also urged the big banks to pass the full rate cut on in their variable mortgage rates.  This call was echoed by RBA Governor Philip Lowe, who said in a speech on Tuesday night that “this reduction in the cash rate should be fully passed through to variable mortgage rates.”

Furthermore, Mr Lowe said that this position is based on recent reductions in bank funding costs and the fact that a full pass-through of the rate cut by the banks would also mean the economy receives the full benefit of the policy decision.

This latest move, in conjunction with the potential reduction of APRA’s requirement for a 7% servicing benchmark for mortgage assessments, should assist more potential buyers into finance.  We are also hopeful that the certainty the recent federal election outcome will have on negative gearing and capital gains tax, as well as the First Home Buyers Deposit Scheme, will all have a cumulative effect on market demand.

Interestingly, Mr Lowe also pointed out in his speech on Tuesday that the official cash rate could go as low as one per cent by the end of the year, saying “…it is not unreasonable to expect a lower cash rate…for the cash rate to be around 1 per cent by the end of the year.”

More information here.

Small lot policy confirmed

The state government released the final version of their Position Statement: Housing on Lots less than 100sqm on Tuesday.  The policy provides guidance on location and development considerations for proposed subdivision and building design for green title lots less than 100sqm.

UDIA WA welcomed the release, stating that the policy is an important step toward greater affordability and diversity of housing choices for buyers.

The development industry has been leading the way in delivering more affordable product to meet consumer demand and this policy provides a clear framework to deliver more compact product to the market.

The policy will also guide development of small lot product around key METRONET stations.

More information here.

METRONET East Redevelopment Area created

According to a statement by Minister Saffioti on Monday, the Midland, Bayswater and Forrestfield station precincts will be brought into a redevelopment area known as the METRONET East Redevelopment Area.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) will begin the statutory process to extend the Midland Redevelopment Area to include the immediate areas around the Bayswater and Forrestfield train stations.

It is expected the statutory process for Bayswater and Forrestfield will take around 12 months, with Planning Control Areas in place in the interim, administered by the Western Australian Planning Commission, to ensure compatible developments complement the infrastructure projects.

Minister Saffioti says that as part of the process, consultation will take place in the coming months with the cities of Bayswater, Kalamunda and Swan on an amendment to the existing Midland Redevelopment Scheme.

More information here.

Peak body’s Investigate Joint Advocacy

UDIA recently met with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), Housing Industry Association (HIA), Shelter WA and WA Council of Social Service (WACOSS) to discuss current housing industry issues and explore possible joint advocacy approaches to deliver social and affordable housing as an economic stimulus. UDIA looks forward to working further with these agencies and identifying common solutions to address the housing challenges that WA faces.

Federal Labor shadow cabinet revealed

New Labor Leader Anthony Albanese announced his shadow cabinet appointments over the weekend.

Key positions include Kim Chalmers as shadow treasurer; Mark Butler retained energy and climate change; Catherine King has moved to infrastructure, transport and regional development; Jason Clare is the new shadow minister for regional services, territories and local government, housing and homelessness; and Terri Butler has taken on the environment and water portfolio.

Importantly, Andrew Giles MP has been appointed to the role of shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure. See his statement here.

A full list of appointments can be found here.

WA’s credit rating increased

Moody’s has advised today that the State’s credit rating will be lifted from Aa2 (positive outlook) to Aa1 (stable outlook). According to the Treasurer Ben Wyatt, this is the most significant improvement in the State’s credit rating since 2012.

In revising its assessment of WA’s credit rating, Moody’s praised the ‘strong fiscal resolve of the State Government following the March 2017 election’ and emphasised the McGowan Government’s ‘continued strong control over spending, alleviating pressure on the State’s rising debt burden’ as a key reason for its decision.

The Treasurer says that the improved credit rating will create further savings on top of the $508 million saved in reduced interest payments by 2019-20, due to a $4.1 billion reduction in net debt relative to that projected under the previous Liberal National Government, as outlined in the 2019-20 State Budget.

Happy birthday to Keystart

Housing Minister Peter Tinley will launch a new look brand and website for Keystart today to celebrate the organisation’s 30th birthday.

According to the state government, over 102,000 people have achieved home ownership via the Keystart services.

The milestone birthday is being celebrated in the lead up to the introduction of temporary adjustments to lending eligibility criteria which take effect on 1 July for six months.  The relaxed criteria will increase existing income limits for borrowers by $15,000 for singles and couples and by $20,000 for families until December 31, 2019.

For more information visit the website here.

Developer intentions survey seeking responses

The Department of Planning is currently undertaking the 2019 Developers intentions Survey as part of the Urban Development Program (UDP). The UDP monitors urban land supply and demand and coordinates the actions required of state and local government agencies for the efficient planning and provision of physical and social infrastructure for new development.

The Developers’ Intentions Survey encompasses future development of residential, industrial, commercial and other urban land across the State.

More details here.

Aboriginal Heritage Act review

UDIA WA has provided comment on behalf of members on the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. We have provided strong support for the review,  which we hope will assist in better protection for our Aboriginal heritage whilst at the same time removing the cumbersome, costly and uncertain processes of the current Act.

The review proposes significant changes to the Act and UDIA has suggested that these changes are clearly communicated to all stakeholders including representatives of the development industry. UDIA has offered to assist with this by providing member briefings and industry workshops to communicate and gather further feedback on the proposed changes.

To read our submission in detail, download here.

Shelter WA and Curtin University: Economic Lecture Series, Housing Economics for non-economists

Our Director of Policy and Research, Chris Green was a panel member, alongside Steven Rowley, Curtin University and Rachelle Gill, HIA, at the final of Shelter WA and Curtin University’s four part lecture series, Housing Economics for Non-economists, last night. The session examined development drivers and feasibility and concluded with a broad discussion covering various aspects of the development industry.

BCEC Housing Affordability Report 2019

Last Friday UDIA attended the launch of BCEC’s Housing Affordability Report 2019 : Getting our House in Order? which featured an opening address from the Minister for Housing, Hon. Peter Tinley.

The report revealed some improvements in affordability for moderate and higher income earners due to decreased prices and rents in many parts of WA, but little to no improvement in affordability for lower income earners, particularly in the private rental sector with low stock a specific concern should rental demand rise.

The biggest barriers to entering homeownership were identified as the deposit gap; followed by a lack of stable employment, not being able to live in a preferred location and not being able to afford mortgage payments.

Click here to view the full report.

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

  • Draft Position Statement – Fibre Ready Telecommunications Infrastructure (here). Submissions close Monday 22 July, 2019.

Dwelling approvals rise

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the trend estimate for total number of dwelling units approved in Western Australia rose 1.3% in April. The trend estimate for the number of private sector houses rose 0.5% in April.

Innovative new technology in focus

The Association of Consulting Architects, in partnership with Hassell + Consult Australia, are proud to present Digital Twins for the Built World, a presentation and panel discussion about innovative new technology on Thursday July 4 at 6pm.

Keynote speaker, Joshua Ridley, CEO and co-founder of Willow is passionate about culture, people and growing a global company that has a positive impact on the world. With headquarters in Sydney, but working globally, Joshua has established Willow with the intent of connecting two worlds: the built and the digital. Using ground-breaking software, Willow reimagines the digital twin for the built world, and transforms the way users and occupants engage with built assets.

Joshua’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion about the quest to create Smart Buildings, Stadiums and Infrastructure networks and the lessons Australia can learn from overseas precedents.

Panellists include Peter Lee, Principal, Hassell and John Flecker, Executive Director, CEO Australia and India, Multiplex

Host: Kukame McPierzie, Design Director, Gresley Abas

More details and bookings here.

GST at settlement webinars

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is hosting a series of webinars on issues related to GST at settlement.

The first in the series on 11 June is already full. However, the subsequent two still have places available.

Wednesday, 12 June at 11.00am – 12.00 noon EST on the topic of how to get GST at settlement right, including:

  • Carrying on an enterprise
  • Relying on a vendor notice
  • Creditable purpose of land
  • Margin scheme
  • Penalties
  • Reporting non-compliance

Register now

Wednesday, 12 June at 2.00pm – 3.00pm EST on the topic of GST at Settlement – Cutting through the complexity and case examples, including:

  • Meaning of a subdivision plan
  • How to treat a subdivision
  • Discounts and rebates
  • Mortgagee in possession issues
  • Non-resident issues

Register now

All webinars will be recorded and available on ato.tv soon after the live event.

The journey towards a smart city

Although a Smart City is a complex web of infrastructure, applications and services, creating an evolving platform to support today’s needs whilst able to build on future needs can be relatively straightforward.

See our guest blog from Opticomm here.

Housing affordability improves

A new report released by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) shows that, over the March quarter, housing affordability in Western Australia improved with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments decreasing to 22.6 per cent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points over the quarter and a decrease of 1.0 percentage points over the previous year.

The number of first home buyers in Western Australia decreased to 3,313 in the March quarter, a decrease of 13.6 per cent over the quarter and a decrease of 7.4 per cent compared to the same time last year.

The total number of loans (excluding refinancing) in Western Australia decreased to 9,235, a decrease of 16.2% over the quarter and a decrease of 9.3% compared to the same time last year.

Rental affordability in Western Australia also improved during the March quarter with the proportion of income required to meet the median rent decreasing to 16.5%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points over the quarter.

However, rental affordability declined over the past year with the proportion of income required to meet median rent increasing 0.2 percentage points.