Last Friday we were proud to host our Industry Luncheon with the Minister for Housing; Homelessness; Lands; Local Government, the Hon. John Carey MLA as we explored the topic of Delivering Shelter through the Perfect Storm.

Minister Carey started the event with an impassioned presentation highlighting the measures the State Government are taking to assist with the delivery of social housing.  While the State Government is committed to delivering on their social housing targets, the Minister did highlight the reticence from many in the community around the inclusion of social housing product in their area.  This is a perspective that needs to change if we can successfully deliver product on the ground.

“I’m a passionate believer in social housing,” he said. “It provides a route to those who are most vulnerable, but also think of it for the private housing sector, it adds to the overall housing supply. As a Government we are using every lever we can to meet the needs of the market including accelerating housing delivery through the use of timber frame and modular home construction.

In addressing supply chain and labour shortage constraints, the Minister highlighted measures the State Government has announced to combat this issue including a financial relief scheme to ensure that head contractors can deal with rising costs and the introduction of rise and fall provisions to be included in future government contracts to accommodate builders that are facing rising costs.

The Minister also pointed to the Skills Summit held at the end of last year, which UDIA WA was a participant, and said that initiatives from that summit have been put in place to assist with labour shortage issues including a program to enable younger people, particularly in regional Western Australia, to be able to access driving lessons to get a driver’s licence so they can be available for apprenticeships and traineeships.

Planning reform was also a hot topic during the Minister’s address.

“We are also continuing on the planning reform front including reopening the Significant Development Pathway, the SDAU. To date 17 projects worth more than $1.7 billion have gone through this pathway.

“On top of reopening this pathway we are also progressing a second tranche of planning reform that will assist with streamlining and will assist with cutting red tape.”

Following the Minister’s presentation an expert panel including UDIA WA President and Stockland GM Residential Col Dutton, UDIA WA Councilor and Kingston Development Group’s Justine Roberts and JWH Group’s Jay Walter joined the Minister for an engaging and interactive panel session which saw a number of questions being asked from the audience.

In addressing some of the concerns highlighted by the Minister during his presentation, Build-to-Rent (BTR) specialist Justine Roberts said BTR provided an ideal solution.

“As BTR is 100% rental accommodation owned by a single entity, once the project is complete you have automatically added large numbers of rental accommodation directly into the market,” she said.

“In a traditional apartment development, you have to wait for pre-sales before construction, hoping then that ‘mum and dad’ investors will pick up the apartments to then release onto the rental market, which can add upwards of a year to the delivery of the product to the rental market when compared to BTR.

“The other advantage with BTR is all of the apartments need to look the same so they can be continuously rented so you can salt and pepper in social and affordable housing as the apartments don’t look any different. So within one building, you can have a representation of normal horizontal development, which is a mix of people who would need social housing, affordable housing, key workers all in a vertical community, and nobody really knows the difference.”

For more information and an overview from the presentation and panel session, check out the Business News article, here.