UDIA meets with Minister for Environment

UDIA representatives met with the Minister for Environment last Friday to discuss a range of issues pertinent to the property development industry including streamlining the environmental approvals process and efficient use of government resources; progress of the SAPPR Review; the Waste Levy and promoting the re-use of materials, and the positive benefits of urban development.

UDIA will be writing a formal letter to the Minister to follow up on some of the issues raised and will keep members up to date on any progress made.

June Urban Intelligence released

UDIA’s comprehensive monthly snapshot of the WA economy, housing and land markets was released to members on Tuesday.

Some of the key economic figures include WA’s population has risen 0.6% over the last 12 months; the unemployment rate has dropped 62bps to 6.5%; and CPI is up 0.9% for the year.

In terms of the property market, lot sales lifted over the month, while the median house price is down to $510,000 and dwelling approvals are up for the month.

For more details on these figures and more, UDIA members can access the full publication here. The feature article this month covers the data and recommendations on the greenfield market presented by Colin Keane from Research4 at the recent UDIA Industry Luncheon.

Member’s feedback sought

UDIA is currently working on submissions to the following government policy and papers. If you would like to contribute your comments to inform our submission please email policy@udiawa.com.au

Planning Reform Green Paper – submissions close 20/7. More details here.

Swan Valley planning review – submissions close 30/8. More details here.

Market-led Proposals Policy – submissions close 9/8. More details here.

Market-led proposals forum

UDIA welcomed the announcement that the state government would be introducing a market led proposals policy.  The policy will aim to facilitate a pathway for the private sector to submit unsolicited proposals for infrastructure; providing goods or services or to purchase a government owned asset.

It is now time to find out more details.  The government is hosting a free information forum on the draft policy, for more details on how to attend visit here.

UDIA Young Development Professional Award 2018

Nominations are now open for the UDIA Young Development Professional Award sponsored by Stockland. This award is a fantastic avenue to acknowledge future leaders in the property industry and the prize includes professional development opportunities as well as access to UDIA events and a cash component. For the first time, this year the winner will be announced at the UDIA Awards for Excellence Gala event in September.

To find out more about the award, read about the experience from our 2017 winner Ali Wheeler here.  Nominations close on Monday 30 July.

Bushfire management plan templates released

The departments of Planning, Lands & Heritage and Fire and Emergency Services have released the final templates for the preparation of bushfire management plans in accordance with the State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.

The Bushfire Policy Team has advised that a few minor changes were made to the templates to reflect comments made during the public comment period. It is expected that consultants who aren’t already using these templates will make the transition to improve consistency, accuracy and assessment timeframes.

You can download the templates here.

RBA’s outlook on housing for Australia

In a speech to UDIA NSW members in Wollongong last week, the Head of Economic Analysis Department, Alexandra Heath provided an insight into the housing market from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) perspective. She says that while the housing market has made a positive contribution to economic growth over the past few years, the trend is unlikely to continue.

Although dwelling investment is still expected to remain at a high level, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, it is not likely to contribute much to growth over the next couple of years.

Ms Heath said that “Demand for housing remains strong because population growth is expected to stay strong. However, the housing story is different across states…partly because population trends differ. The effects of the mining investment cycle on population trends and housing markets in Western Australia is a clear-cut illustration of this point.”

“In terms of our forecasts, dwelling investment is not expected to contribute much to growth over the next couple of years, but is expected to remain at a high level.”

The full presentation can be viewed here.

National construction outlook positive

Non-mining infrastructure, particularly in line with public sector spending on transport infrastructure will lead growth in the construction sector in the coming years according to the latest report from the Australian Constructors Association.

The report states that Australia’s leading construction companies are forecasting a continued solid uplift in major non-residential project work over the course of 2018 and 2019. The total value of non-residential construction work is forecast to rise by 9.3% in 2018 and a further 8.0% in 2019.

Commercial building activity (including offices, retail buildings and industrial premises) is poised to experience stronger conditions over the next two years.

The outlook also points to a continuation of strong growth in the multi-level apartments sector during 2018 (+14.8%) supported by projects either still underway or in the pipeline. However, the value of work is set to turn down sharply in 2019 (-16.6%).

The full report can be viewed here.

Heritage redevelopment opportunity

The state government is calling for registrations of interest to revitalise a heritage site at 53 Curtin Avenue, Cottesloe which is currently occupied by the West Australian Foundation for Deaf Children. The re-use and protection of the heritage building is stipulated in the submission process, including that the Foundation is satisfactorily accommodated on site, either within the existing heritage building or via a portion of the site being set aside for a new facility.

The site is also recognised as urban and within a station precinct under the Perth and Peel@3.5million Central sub-Regional Framework.

Registrations of interest close on August 30 and more information can be found here.

Consumer sentiment improves

The latest Westpac – Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment shows that consumer mood improved marginally in 2018, the first half of the year marking the best run of sentiment reads since 2014.

The CSi rose 3.9% to 106.1 in July, the eighth month in a row that the CSi has been above 100 and is 8% above the average from 2014 to 2017.

However, sentiment around family finances remains muted and sentiment towards house prices fell 6.2% to 112.5, leaving it at the lowest level in over two years, with over half of all consumers expecting prices to be unchanged or lower over the next year.

Housing sentiment falls

The NAB Residential Property Index dropped 17 points to +14 and currently sits at its lowest level since mid-2016.

Sentiment fell in all states and was noticeably lower in NSW and Victoria, despite them being the most upbeat states. More modest falls were experienced in QLD and WA.

According to NAB Group Chief Economist Alan Oster, “Falling confidence reflects weaker expectations for both house prices and rents.”

House price growth is forecast to remain strongest along the eastern seaboard in 2017. Sydney and Melbourne will both see solid, albeit slower, growth in prices. Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart will also cool, while Perth will remain very weak.

More information here.