UDIA National launches policy priorities for new federal government

UDIA National has moved quickly to engage with the re-elected Morrison Government – unveiling a post-election action plan and beginning a series of planned meetings with Ministers.

A post-election action plan entitled “National Policy Priorities For The New Government – Building A Better Australia” was launched this week and can be downloaded here.

Infrastructure WA legislation passes through parliament

UDIA welcomed the final passage of Infrastructure WA legislation through state parliament on Friday, hailing it as a win for a more strategic approach to infrastructure delivery in the state.

UDIA has been calling for a more strategic approach to infrastructure planning and provision across the state for many years.  Given one of the key objectives of IWA will be the development of a 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy, this will result in much better outcomes for infrastructure provision across the state.

We hope that IWA will provide the leadership necessary for WA to gain more traction with Infrastructure Australia, and in turn, secure much needed increased federal infrastructure funding.

In our submission to government on the establishment of IWA last year, UDIA also outlined the significant importance of IWA’s independence from the government of the day. The independent board will hopefully provide that independence and expert advice required to ensure the most efficient and effective use of funding for priority infrastructure projects.

Subiaco LPS5 sent to WAPC for approval

The City of Subiaco has endorsed a new Local Planning Scheme No. 5 which has been referred to the WAPC and the Minister for Planning with amendments for final determination. Advertising of modifications to the Local Planning Scheme No. 5 concluded on Tuesday 16 April 2019 and the Council met this Tuesday to discuss and provide final endorsement.

The endorsement of the LSP 5 should provide much needed certainty for the community and developers. UDIA has advocated for the need for certainty in Subiaco, which has significant potential as a vibrant, sustainable place to live, operate a business and visit.

As with many areas around the Perth Metro Area that are facing pressure to increase density and consolidate growth, local councils must provide the necessary leadership and ensure there is an up to date local planning scheme so that the area can be developed in line with the community’s vision and the needs of our future population.

Notably, Councillor Murray Rowe’s proposal for the WAPC to include an objective in the scheme to enforce a proper transition from high to low density land so there is not a sudden change in building height, highlights the critical importance of the state government finalizing the Medium Density Design Code. This is part of the transition conversation that is essential when looking at appropriate design outcomes that meet infill requirements in appropriate areas.

Colin Keane suggests Perth land $5000 under market value

Colin Keane addressed an audience of over 360 guests at UDIA’s Industry Luncheon on Friday themed ‘A masterclass in the greenfield market.’

Mr Keane, Director of Research4, presented his research findings and latest data on the Perth greenfield market, outlining how the Perth land market is beginning to show small signs of improvement, however he said that underlying demand will benefit from a further lift in employment numbers.

According to Mr Keane’s analysis, WA employment growth has been lifting since mid-2017 and given there is a two-year lag between job creation and an uplift in land sales, WA is only just short of that two-year lag period and should see a positive impact soon.

He also advised that despite developers providing many incentives to buyers to boost the market, this is unnecessary given that Perth land prices are currently representing excellent value for money.  He says Perth land prices are potentially $5000 under market value at this point in time.

UDIA makes submission to APRA on proposed revisions

UDIA has written to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to outline strong support for the proposed revisions to APG 223.

We outlined the importance of appropriate amendments to prudential practices in response to a prolonged low interest rate environment and the introduction of differential pricing for mortgage products by authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs).

UDIA considers that the proposed APG 223 revision to remove the 7% serviceability floor rate would be appropriate given the subdued property market and current excessively tightened lending practices.

The proposed changes would be particularly timely given the present situation in WA of a tightened rental market, with vacancy rates down to just 2.5%, and the lowest levels of owner-occupier lending (excluding refinancing) on record (since 2002).

The accompanying proposal to increase the serviceability buffer to 2.5% is also considered sufficient to ensure an appropriate level of risk mitigation would remain should interest rates rise in the near future.

Build to Rent – latest research out

A new research report by CBRE entitledBuild-to-Rent: Who, What Where?, which examines the shortcomings of the region’s current rental market, highlights who the early adopters of Pacific Build to Rent product might be and where projects may be built.

The report examines the tenancy side of the equation, looking at what benefits the public can expect, what type of product will work best and what developers should be focusing on.

CBRE’s report highlights that the Australian and New Zealand residential rental markets are now essentially run as cottage industries, in Australia, the figures are even more dramatic, with 71% of landlords owning just one rental property and 19% own two. At the same time, overall home ownership rates have been decreasing, particularly in the 15-24 and 25-34 year age brackets, with declines of 30% and 26% respectively in Australia between 1995 and 2014.

More information here.

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.
  • EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment Guidance (here). Submissions close Monday 2 September, 2019.
  • DWER issues paper ‘Waste not, want not: valuing waste as a resource’ out for comment (here). Submissions close Wednesday 4 September.

Informing better infill design

The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities has prepared two new resources in draft for consultation—a typologies catalogue of dwelling designs for water sensitive infill development, and an evaluation framework that provides consistent and objective methods for evaluating the water sensitive performance of alternative infill design options.

Both outputs will be used in the next phase of the research for the case study testing of water sensitive infill opportunities in Adelaide and Perth.

More information here.

Australia’s largest smart city project complete

The nation’s largest smart city project, Switching on Darwin, has successfully been completed.  The project aims to make Darwin a world-leading smart city with the addition of 912 new LED lights, 138 new CCTV cameras, 39 new hotspots to extend free WiFi, 24 environmental sensors, smart parking sensors, along with an audio system in the Mall.

More information here.

Residential Property Price Index released

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the March 2019 Residential Property Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities.

In the March quarter the median price of established house transfers in Perth remained steady from the previous quarter at $490,000, but fell 3.9% from the price recorded for the same quarter in 2018.

The median price of attached dwelling transfers in Perth fell 1.6% from the December quarter to sit at $380,000, 5.0% lower than at the same time last year.

The number of established house transfers for Perth fell 8.5% on a quarterly basis in March to 5,203, a year-on-year (YoY) decrease of 13.1%. Perth attached dwelling transfer figures also fell 5.4% from the previous quarter and 19.3% from the same time the year prior to sit at 1,682.

Of all state and territory capital cities, Perth’s median price of $490,000 for established house transfers in March was the fourth lowest, above the median price of Darwin, Adelaide and Hobart.

More information here.

New Synergy Board members announced

Energy Minister Bill Johnston has announced changes to Synergy’s board, with Bronwyn Barnes and Richard Watson being appointed.

Ms Barnes has served as a member of several boards across a variety of industries, and was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Mr Watson is an economist and graduate of Cambridge University. He is the executive director at the Department of Treasury since 2014.

Ms Barnes and Mr Watson have each been appointed for two-year terms.

Population remains steady

In the December quarter, annual population growth for WA remained steady at 0.9%, bringing the estimated resident population to 2.606 million.

Total net overseas migration for 2018 increased 27.0% to sit at 14,863, up from a total of 11,702 in 2017. Meanwhile, net interstate migration recorded 25.9% less persons leaving WA in 2018 (-9,503) than in 2017 (-12,818).

More information here.