RBA says Foreign Buyers Surcharge ‘won’t help’ market recovery  

UDIA was pleased to host Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Assistant Governor Michele Bullock yesterday for an Industry Breakfast presentation where she spoke candidly regarding the RBA’s position on a range of issues impacting monetary policy, financial stability and the housing markets across Australia.

During the Q&A session with UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck, Ms Bullock commented on more WA specific issues.  Following a question regarding the recent introduction of a Foreign Buyers Surcharge by the WA state government, Ms Bullock said that “in periods of very strong growth in property markets it might help a little bit to take the edge off…”

Ms Bullock did say that Chinese government restrictions are also having an impact on foreign investment in Australia.

In relation to WA in particular, Ms Bullock said “I would only observe that given the WA market was not particularly buoyant to begin with, putting a tax on it wouldn’t seem to help that circumstance.”

UDIA WA warned the state government repeatedly prior to introducing the foreign buyers surcharge that it was the wrong time in the market cycle, at a time when the property sector was looking for government policy that supports growth in order to benefit the broader economy.

In relation to general bank lending practices, Ms Bullock said that the RBA would encourage banks to “think about loosening up lending standards.”

“Some tightening in lending standards was appropriate,” Ms Bullock said. “…but we are well aware that we don’t want things to tighten up too much …so we are out there telling banks and asking banks to tell their frontline staff ‘don’t be too stingy’”.

UDIA certainly supports that call, recognising the importance of supporting those wanting to invest in property in WA to the broader recovery.

You can view the transcript of Michele Bullock’s presentation along with listen to the full audio of the presentation and Q&A session here.

UDIA Launches State Budget Submission

UDIA WA has made a submission to the state government in the lead up to the release of the state budget in May.  The submission focuses heavily on how the government can support the industry and the property market recovery through several key measures including:

  • the establishment of a broad based land tax system which distributes taxes more equitably
  • the introduction of a stamp duty concession for downsizers
  • no increases to current taxation levels
  • increasing the Keystart threshold by 25%
  • funding allocation toward implementation of the Strategic Assessment of Perth and Peel review findings
  • adequate infrastructure in relation to Infrastructure WA, METRONET and developer contributions

We certainly hope the Treasurer will give our recommendations due consideration given the importance of supporting the property market recovery for the benefit of broader economic growth.

Download the submission here.

Updated information on Design WA

Following the launch of Design WA at a UDIA hosted event in February, UDIA requested further information be made publicly available and this has now been provided on the Design WA website.

Additional information including a submissions and changes report, apartment design policy testing report and an economic evaluation are all available here.

UDIA will meet with Department of Planning representatives soon to discuss the additional information that has been made available.

Design WA – the apartment codes explained

The Design WA suite is based on the three key fundamentals of applying universal ‘Design Principles’, integrating expert ‘Design Review’ and the use of ‘Design Skills’ (i.e. skilled designers), all working cohesively to improve built form design outcomes.

Taylor Burrell Barnett have provided a comprehensive rundown on Design WA and what it involves in their new blog post for UDIA members here.

PM unveils population policy

The Federal Government launched the “Planning for Australia’s Future Population” policy document yesterday that outlines how the government intends to manage population growth.

The Government’s population policy includes reducing the migration ceiling from 190,000 to just 160,000 places and incentivising new migrants to settle outside the big cities through the introduction of two new regional visas for skilled workers.

The policy also looks to address congestion on road and rail; as well as infrastructure planning and coordination with state governments via mechanisms such as City and Regional Deals and establishing a Centre for Population.

UDIA National has expressed our concern regarding capping immigration and urged the Government not to cut migration. Migration – and particularly the skilled migration stream – is good for the vibrancy of the economy and benefits all Australians.

Early this year, UDIA compiled its plan for “Building a Better Australia” with the following recommendations relating to migration:

  • Establish regular short/medium/long-term population forecasts to better inform strategic land-use and infrastructure plans.
  • Use data to inform a national strategic population plan that predicts infrastructure and housing requirements and accommodates key elements of liveability including housing affordability measures, transport, key infrastructure and the environment.
  • Examine options for settlement planning to ensure the benefits of population growth are more evenly distributed across Australia, inclusive of employment opportunities, social infrastructure and land use planning.

More information on UDIA’s Federal Election campaign here.

More on the government’s migration policy here.

Major Projects discussion

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck participated in a panel discussion considering if Western Australia’s economy climbing out of the doldrums along with Rick Newnham from CCI WA; Misha White from Colliers International; and Josh Martin from Deloitte Access Economics yesterday afternoon.

The panel provided their opinions on whether construction activity which is showing encouraging signs in WA, including BHP’s $4.8 billion South Flank iron ore project, and bright prospects for lithium, nickel and transport infrastructure over the coming years, is a sign that the WA economy is recovering.

Overall, while there are some positive signs, it is evident that the economy still has some way to grow and it will be critical that the government continues to invest in infrastructure and facilitates growth through accommodative policy settings.

UDIA’s market leading industry data now online!

UDIA WA is proud to announce an exciting new arrangement with our Research Partner Urbis, which will allow our members unparalleled access to market-leading development industry data.

UDIA Member companies will receive access to the quarterly UDIA WA Urban Development Index new land sales information via the Urbis Loop platform, allowing you to access and analyse the full suite of UDI data that has been provided to members for over 20 years via a more user friendly platform.

On top of access to UDI data, we are also delighted to offer our members limited access to Urbis’ Apartment Essentials Dashboard.

Through the new interactive dashboard, UDIA Members will have the ability to personalise UDI data according to their individual business needs and explore information at a local government level and for particular quarters with ease.

Members are requested to contact UDIA at udia@udiawa.com.au to nominate up to three (3) company representatives to access this exciting new initiative.

Information required for each nominated representative:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Member company name
  • Position title
  • Email address

This access is in addition/ separate to the UDIA WA member portal. All users of that system will continue to retain access as per normal.

Residential Property Price Indexes for the Eight Capital Cities released

According to the latest report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), established house transfers for Greater Perth fell 11.5% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) in the December 2018 quarter to 5,083. This is 15.3% below levels at the same time the year prior (YoY); while those in the rest of WA also fell 6.4% QoQ and 7.2% YoY to sit at 1,608.

The median house price for Perth remained steady on a quarterly basis at $490,000, but fell 4.9% from the December 2017 quarter. The median house price for the rest of WA fell 1.5% QoQ and 6.6% YoY to $320,000.

Greater Perth attached dwelling transfers fell 17.1% QoQ and 20.2% YoY to 1,608, recording a median price of $385,000 and attached dwelling transfers for the rest of WA decreased 12.9% QoQ, but lifted 2.1% YoY to sit at  244, with a median price of $230,000.

City of Rockingham Development Contribution Plan amendment

The City of Rockingham has initiated a scheme amendment in relation to Schedule No. 11 Development Contribution Plan No. 2, to align it with a recent review of Community Infrastructure Plan 2018-2028, by amending the details of and/ or deleting various infrastructure items.

More information available here.

A visual of urban growth in Perth

The Department of Planning have launched a visual story of the urban growth of Perth and Peel as part of their Urban Growth Monitor (UGM) report. This story provides a visual introduction to the UGM by exploring the changes in urban land supply over time for a few significant localities.

It is a fantastic way to visually understand the significant changes that have occurred over time in terms of development across the region.  See here.