An update from UDIA National

Member advocacy and research are at the heart of the strategy endorsed last week by the UDIA National Council. The strategy identifies infrastructure, housing affordability and future cities as priority areas for our National office.

The upcoming Federal election will provide a clear focus for our national office’s advocacy work over the next few months given the election must be held prior to 18 May 2019.  ‘Super Saturday’ will see five by-elections held on 28 July and the associated campaigns will provide useful early warning on policy direction in the lead up to the main event.

Key Federal Election issues will include infrastructure, negative gearing and capital gains changes proposed by Labor, corporate tax cuts, and a renewed focus on cities with Labor committing to re-badge City Deals and re-instate the Major Cities Unit if they win government.

Anticipation builds for 2018 Awards for Excellence

Nominations for the 2018 UDIA Awards for Excellence closed on Friday with over 50 entries received! Over the coming weeks the judges will scrutinise all of the entries and conduct site visits to refine a list of finalists and ultimate winners.  This prestigious awards program recognises the best of the best across the urban development spectrum and we look forward to announcing the winners at the gala event on Saturday 15 September.  Tickets on sale tomorrow!

Towards a zero carbon future: impacts on affordability

UDIA National responded to the proposal to mandate ‘zero-carbon’ provisions in the Australian Construction code last week, outlining potential impacts on affordability. The UDIA welcomed steps towards a zero-carbon future but has warned against loading additional costs on home buyers. With housing affordability in crisis across the county, every extra dollar imposed on new home prices deserves deep scrutiny.

UDIA National Executive Director Kirk Conningham discusses the issues in more detail in the short clip here.

Office vacancy rates decline in Perth

According to the latest data from JLL, the Perth CBD vacancy rate declined by 0.4 percentage points over the March 2018 quarter. Over the 12 months to March 2018 the vacancy rate decreased by 2.0 percentage points. Prime grade vacancy has decreased over the year; as larger leasing activity remains directed towards higher quality buildings.

The report predicts that vacancy will recover gradually. While vacancy declined over the March 2018 quarter, it is expected to remain elevated for the short-medium term.

More details here.

RBA minutes reveal household debt concerns

Minutes from the most recent RBA meeting were released on Tuesday with the board considering a special paper prepared for the meeting on the high level of household debt in Australia.

According to the minutes, household debt has increased by more than household income over the preceding three decades, particularly due to the decline in interest rates and financial deregulation, both of which have increased households’ access to finance.

Australia has also experienced greater borrowing for housing by households in Australia compared with other countries, where the corporate sector owns a larger proportion of rental properties.

The paper highlighted that much of Australian household debt is owed by higher-income and middle-aged people, who tend to have more stable employment and often larger savings buffers.

Members noted that high levels of household debt could affect economic outcomes. For example, “households with high debt levels are more vulnerable to economic shocks and therefore more likely to reduce consumption in the face of uncertainty about their future income. “

Full minutes are available here.

The future of driverless cars

The Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) is running a webinar on Urban Planning and Land Use for Connected and Automated Vehicles on Thursday 26 July.  The objective of the webinar and associated ‘thought starter’ paper, is to raise public awareness and engage thought leaders to identify paths forward and potential barriers/risks, and to encourage discussion on a new policy mix to reshape cities.

To download the thought starter paper and find out more information about the Webinar, please visit the following link.

Commercial confidence improving

According to Ray White Commercial Research, confidence in commercial markets has increased in Western Australia, with improvements in sales volumes over the 2017/18 financial year. The Between the Lines WA Commercial Investment Activity Financial Year Review July 2018, reflects improved business investment due to the sustained low interest environment.

There were $1.1 billion in retail sales recorded in 2017-18 — up from $705 million in 2016-17 and $997.1 million in 2015-16. Office market volumes grew 16 per cent, at $884 million in the year to June 30. There was reduced industrial market sales activity, just shy of $800 million for 2017-18, down from $1.4 million in 2016-17.

In the hotel and leisure market, investment fell 7 per cent to $177.6 million.

More details available here.

Over half of permanent migrants are home owners

The importance of migrants to boost the economy has been reflected in new data.  Over half of permanent migrants aged 15 years and over were buying or owned their own home, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday.

The figures show that overall, 42 per cent of permanent migrants were renting in 2016. Migrants who entered the country through the Humanitarian stream were more likely to be living in rented accommodation (63 per cent) than migrants in the Skilled and Family streams (40 per cent).

Over half of Family and Skill stream migrants were buying (i.e. had a mortgage) or owned their own home (58 per cent and 57 per cent respectively).   Migrants in the Family stream had the highest incidence of outright home ownership at 14 per cent, followed by Skill stream (8.0 per cent) and Humanitarian stream migrants (4.7 per cent).

More details here.

Young leaders sought

Nominations are currently open for the UDIA Young Development Professional Award for 2018.  Sponsored by Stockland, the award celebrates and encourages the future leaders of our industry and includes a fantastic prize package.

Find out more about the award and how to nominate here.

Read the latest blog from our 2017 winner Ali Wheeler here.

Nominations close on Monday 30 July, don’t miss out!

Women in leadership recognised

The UDIA Frasers Property Women in Leadership Award recognises outstanding women working at mid to senior levels within the WA development industry.

UDIA encourages female professionals across all disciplines of the development industry from both the public and private sectors to enter, including; developers, contractors, consultants, those involved in property services, property management, marketing and professional support services.

Find out more about how to nominate for this prestigious award here.

Read more from our 2017 winner Tamara Heng here.

Nominations close Monday 30 July.

We welcome your feedback!

UDIA continues to work on the following submissions on behalf of members. If you would like to contribute any comments to inform our submissions, please email

  • Planning Reform Green Paper, submissions close 20/7. More information here.
  • Swan Valley planning review, submissions close 30/8. More information here.
  • Market-led Proposals Policy, submissions close 9/8. More information here.

Fraud Awareness Session hosted by Macquarie Bank

UDIA is running a free member briefing on Fraud Awareness in August facilitated by Macquarie Bank.

Reducing risk exposure to fraud across your business is a vital activity. We all have the responsibility to remain vigilant to the potential threats and likely exposure to fraud, faced by our business and our clients.

Recently, there has been a significant increase in attempts to de-fraud businesses using new and sophisticated methods, such as malware and client email compromises.

Jonathan Martin, Fraud Investigations Specialist Macquarie Banking Financial Services will be delivering an informative session that will update you on the current fraud trends that can affect your business (as well as your own personal life) and how best to mitigate the risks by following correct procedures and avoiding potential losses.

Date:                     Wednesday 1st August 2018

Time:                     12.00pm – 1.00pm

Location:              Ground Floor, 235 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000


This session is free of charge for all UDIA WA members, but places are limited and RSVPs are essential by Friday 20th July. Registration form can be downloaded here.

Confirm your place by emailing