Housing affordability in focus

Housing affordability was in the spotlight today with UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes joining Minister for Housing Peter Tinley and Shelter WA CEO Michelle MacKenzie on ABC 720’s FOCUS program with Nadia Mitsopolous this morning.  The program was a timely lead in to UDIA’s Industry Luncheon today featuring a key note presentation from Minister Tinley on the topic of solving the Housing Affordability Challenge.

During the FOCUS program, Allison outlined a range of issues impacting on housing affordability in WA, including the need for land supply to keep up with demand as we move into the property market recovery.  Allison also discussed the need for a greater diversity of housing in a range of areas that people want to live, particularly addressing the ‘missing middle’.

At the luncheon later in the day, the first in UDIA’s City Building series, our advocacy agenda was reiterated with regard to tackling the housing affordability challenge, including the following:

  • the introduction of planning incentives such as density bonuses for projects that include provision of affordable housing
  • release of the revised Development Contributions for Infrastructure Policy
  • a review of community consultation processes to avoid unnecessarily delays
  • a proponent led option in the Perth and Peel @3.5million Frameworks
  • establishment of housing and density strategies by local governments based on growth forecasts and capacity to deliver housing in appropriate areas
  • the delivery of a pipeline of key urban renewal sites to unlock new housing opportunities
  • increasing the threshold for Keystart loans by 25%
  • abolishment of stamp duty and the introduction of a broad based land tax system ….and
  • facilitating more build-to-rent projects

The Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to partnering with industry to deliver more affordable housing to the market, particularly in key activity centres and METRONET precincts.

He also said that the government is considering a range of options to assist more people into affordable housing including Keystart eligibility requirements and potential affordability incentives for METRONET precincts.

UDIA in particular is advocating for an increase in the thresholds for Keystart to give more people a leg up into home ownership.

Foreign buyer’s legislation passes

UDIA President Nick Allingame will speak live on ABC Drive at 5.15pm on how the foreign buyer’s surcharge will impact on the WA property market.

As advised in UDIA’s member alert yesterday, the state government’s foreign buyers surcharge legislation passed the upper house on Tuesday afternoon.  UDIA has outlined our disappointment that the government has not heeded our advice on how detrimental the introduction of such a surcharge is likely to be on the property market recovery. We have also strongly implored the government to consider deferring the introduction of the surcharge, at least until the market has further recovered.

Minister Tinley was questioned on the state government’s commitment to introducing the surcharge at the UDIA luncheon today by CEO Allison Hailes and said he would take our concerns to the Treasurer.

You can read more on our position in our member alert here.

New migration rules introduced – UDIA responds

UDIA National has welcomed the recent announcement from Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Minister, Alan Tudge, of proposed new visa conditions that would require selected migrants to settle outside of Sydney and Melbourne for up to five years.

The Minister has earmarked visa reforms that will require up to 45 per cent of Australia’s annual intake of 190,000 permanent migrants to spend up to five years in regional areas before they can move to a city like Sydney or Melbourne.

UDIA believes that this is a positive move for our smaller cities, that are calling out for the growth and economic prosperity delivered by immigration.

More broadly, a national settlement policy could ensure the enormous benefits of immigration are more evenly shared across Australia.

UDIA National President Darren Cooper did point out that while the new conditions are welcome, it is important to note that the main issue related to congestion in major cities is insufficient strategic infrastructure planning and timely delivery, not too many people.

“Overseas cities with bigger populations have less transport congestion and shorter commute times. While settlement planning can deliver substantial benefits the key issue for all governments is to work together towards better strategic planning and better delivery of infrastructure in a more timely way,” Mr Cooper said.

Minister Tudge’s full presentation on congestion can be found here.

From a WA perspective, UDIA has been leading a discussion on the need for a positive migration strategy for WA that will attract people to live and work in the state and assist in the economic recovery.

We want your feedback!

UDIA is currently working on several submissions on behalf of members.  We encourage you to forward any feedback to these items to policy@udiawa.com.au

The discussion paper on cost recovery for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is out for comment and submissions are due by Thursday 1 November, 2018.  More information here.

The DPLH and DWER joint discussion paper on Planning for Entertainment Noise in the Northbridge Area is out for comment. Submissions are due by 26 November, 2018. More information here.

The next stage of the Local Government Act Review has been released for comment, with submissions closing 31 March, 2019. More information here.

UDIA welcomes new team members

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Marcos Benedit as UDIA Finance and Operations Manager. Marcus joins us from Austral Fisheries and has over ten years’ experience in financial environments both in public practice and corporate environments.

Originally from Argentina, Marcos has three kids and enjoys sport, particularly soccer.

If you have any accounts or finance enquiries, contact Marcos at: accounts@udiawa.com.au

We are also very pleased to welcome Montanna Hall as our new Event Coordinator. Montanna joins us after three years at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (PCEC) where she managed their extensive range of events from corporate meetings through to gala events.

Montanna enjoys travel, in particular regularly visiting our beautiful South West.  If you have an queries regarding UDIA events, please get in touch at: events@udiawa.com.au

Median house price declines

The latest data from reiwa.com shows Perth’s median house price will sit at approximately $505,000 for the September 2018 quarter. This is a 1.9 per cent decline on the June 2018 quarter and a minor one per cent down year on year.

While the overall market experienced a decline in median house price during the quarter, 57 suburbs across the area bucked this trend, with the top performing suburbs for median house price growth being Swan View, East Cannington, Como, Hillarys and Cottesloe.

In the unit market, Maylands, Midland, Tuart Hill, Fremantle and Claremont were the suburbs with the strongest price growth.

East Wanneroo rezoning

Land in the East Wanneroo amendment is now zoned Urban Deferred, paving the way for the progression of a new District Structure Plan (DSP). The DSP will not only focus on the land in the amendment, but the locality as a whole. This is a new process to ensure the locality is dealt with as a whole.

The DSP will focus on critical infrastructure such as regional road and rail alignments, water and wastewater provision, environmental considerations and other requirements.

A community reference group was recently established to guide the DSP, and it is anticipated a copy of the draft DSP will be available for public comment in early 2019.

The amendment aligns with the North-West Sub-regional Planning Framework, which identifies this area for urban expansion.

More information can be found on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website. A map of the amended area can be found here.

New regulations on combustible cladding

The state government has introduced building regulations to restrict the use of combustible material on building facades of high-risk buildings.

The new building regulations prevent the use of performance solutions by restricting the use of combustible cladding to those that can demonstrate compliance under the Building Code of Australia’s (BCA) new verification method.

This method also includes the requirement for sprinklers in high-risk buildings.

The BCA was updated, in March, to remove any ambiguity around the use of combustible cladding on buildings.

Any combustible cladding proposed to be used on those buildings needs to demonstrate it has passed the large-scale fire test required under Australian Standard AS 5113 or receive approval from the Building Commissioner.

The update to the BCA and the introduction of the new building regulations will substantially prevent the use of dangerous polyethylene (PE) cladding or an expanded polystyrene cladding in a building facade.

These amendments are not retrospective.

Wood & Grieve joins Stantec

Long standing UDIA member and award-winning engineering firm Wood & Grieve Engineers (WGE) has signed a letter of intent to integrate with global consultancy firm Stantec.

The WGE board passed the motion on Wednesday, 3 October 2018, and both companies will now enter an official due diligence period that is expected to be complete in January 2019.

Stantec is a multi-disciplinary publicly-listed corporation with more than 400 offices across the globe.

The decision, building on recent success will see the Australian engineering firm gain access to a global pool of talent and resources that will facilitate the delivery of iconic projects in both local and international markets for years to come.

REIWA elects new President

Following Hayden Groves announcement that he would finish his term as President, the REIWA Council has elected Damian Collins as the Institute’s new President. Mr Collins has served on the REIWA Council since 2011 and as Deputy President since 2015.

UDIA looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with REIWA and Mr Collins on common industry issues.