The West Australian

Demand for new blocks of land remains strong despite the scaling back of housing grants, with a 35 per cent increase in new land sales for the September quarter.

And prices are finally reflecting the extra demand, with a 5 per cent increase in value over the September quarter, taking the annual jump to 11 per cent.

The City of Joondalup had the most astonishing rise in price, with a 57 per cent price increase compared with the same quarter a year previously, taking the average block to $464,926.

The latest statistics released by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) show that even without stimulus grants, there is a strong underlying appetite to build.

UDIA WA chief executive Tanya Steinbeck said buyer’s confidence has been buoyed by the strong economy, low unemployment rates and low interest rates.

The rental crisis — amid a 0.9 per cent vacancy rate — contributed to growing demand.

“While buyers were scrambling to meet the time frames for the Federal and State building grants last year, we can see that now that the dust has settled, we have strong underlying demand for new housing that is ongoing even without the incentive of extra cash grants from the Government,” Ms Steinbeck said.

Ms Steinbeck said Perth remained one of the most affordable cities in the country, with the average price of land at $247,391.

But there were still concerns the State was headed for a land supply crisis, partly due to the shortage of labour and materials.

“Maintaining sufficient housing supply is critical to the liveability of our communities,” she said.