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9 March 2019

WA’s recovery in train

We have all been waiting on tenterhooks here in Western Australia to see some distinctly positive growth in the state economy and, in turn, the property market in 2019.

The current downturn has become more protracted than anticipated over the last several years and, while green shoots were emerging in the market last year, these were somewhat stymied by the royal commission into the finance sector and tightened lending practices.

Falling house prices on the east coast have also impacted on consumer confidence here, with fears negative growth there may have a flow-on impact to the WA market.

Therefore, it was great to hear Professor Ian Harper from Deloitte Access Economics’ positive expectations for growth in the WA economy last week, as he said a recovery was ‘well and truly in train’.

Presenting at UDIA’s state conference in Bunker Bay, Professor Harper was updating delegates on his more bullish predictions of the year previous, when he advised us all to ‘set sail for growth’.

Although the Professor has moderated his expectations for the year ahead, he said that while WA was not heading for another boom anytime soon, we were returning to a period of solid growth.

He advised the level of investment in WA was going back to more normal levels. There is also a forecast decline in unemployment, along with growth in employment rates and a return to more solid wages growth across the state.

Professor Harper also outlined the healthy list of mining and non-mining projects either underway or planned for the near future that will provide a much-needed boost to the economy.

As with last year, Professor Harper did suggest Perth’s liveability and creating a city that people wanted to live in would be critical to attracting more people to the state and boosting population growth. A very important aspect of supporting a growing economy.

He said this was not only about revitalising Perth, but regional cities as well, to ensure there were jobs, affordable homes and quality infrastructure to support people.

According to Professor Harper, urban consolidation and further densification of Perth will make it a more liveable place and more attractive for people to want to come.

It will be important to balance that growth and ensure we address issues such as congestion and affordability at the same time.

UDIA is supportive of the Professor’s message, recognising we need to get the balance right between development in new and existing areas and ensure we are providing a diversity of housing choice for people, along with the amenity and services in the areas they want to live.