Urban regeneration the key to Perth’s vibrancy

By Nick Allingame UDIA WA President     www.UDIAWA.com.au/

There is no doubt Perth has well and truly ditched the old ‘dullsville’ tag of more than a decade ago.

Several fantastic urban regeneration projects have showcased what can be achieved by reinvigorating and repurposing underutilised or abandoned spaces to bring vitality and life to the city.                                                                                                                                                                                             These projects have helped Perth to transform into a more vibrant, cosmopolitan place that attracts people to live, work and play.

Yagan Square, the winner of the National UDIA Award for Excellence in the Urban Renewal category, is a prime example of an area that was once a physical barrier between the city and Northbridge due to the rail line cutting through the centre, becoming the vibrant heart of our city.

Elizabeth Quay is another example of a regeneration project that is reconnecting the city, this time with the Swan River foreshore, and providing an attractive waterfront precinct that includes opportunities for retail and office and residential development, along with being a major tourist attraction.

Other projects that are underway or in planning include Subiaco Oval and Princess Margaret Hospital sites, Kings Square in Fremantle and Waterbank in East Perth.

Another site that has huge potential is the old East Perth Power Station. It was encouraging to hear the McGowan Government has allocated $30 million in this year’s state budget toward site works to bring the power station site closer to redevelopment. The disused station has been sitting dormant since it closed operations in 1981 and the then East Perth Redevelopment Authority (EPRA) acquired it in 2003.

Since that time, the surrounding area has flourished while not much has happened directly on the site. The government called for expressions of interest from private developers in 2015 with no proponent being finalised.

The site itself is a great opportunity to capitalise on surrounding development, including the new Matagarup Bridge to Optus Stadium, and to provide a focal point for new residential development in the area given the government has also earmarked it as a new Metronet precinct.

There are other sites around Perth that would benefit from similar action, including the South Fremantle Power Station that also continues to sit dormant.                                                                           That power station site is in the final stage of a 20-year Cockburn Coast redevelopment plan. The vision for the site is as a centrepiece of the redevelopment area and it will be great to see its potential realised.

REIWA welcomes the State Government’s small lots position statement

By Damian Collins – REIWA President     https://reiwa.com.au/

REIWA supports the Western Australian Planning Commission’s (WAPC) position statement on lots of less than 100sqm and congratulates the department on its leadership and innovation as a means to meeting the changing needs of Western Australia’s population.

Housing on Lots Less than 100sqm will provide guidance on location and development considerations for proposed subdivision and building design for lots less than 100sqm but larger than 80sqm.

Compact housing that is built on smaller blocks is well established in the east coast housing market, with the rise of interest in Western Australia showing we are ready to increase our housing diversity, providing more affordable options to our changing lifestyles.

An example of these micro-lots is already in place at Ellenbrook’s Verge micro-lot precinct, with 11 two-story townhouses, 10 of which are on 80sqm lots. This has showcased how good design can make even small lots seem bright, spacious and liveable.

Micro-lots will be a positive introduction to the market and will receive strong demand from a range of buyers, from first homeowners to seniors right-sizing. Lots under 100sqm have a strong role to play in the delivery of affordable housing options for all Western Australians.

In addition, the Government will look to add location criteria for potential micro-lots, which we believe will assist in increasing density around centres. This is essential to capitalise on existing infrastructure and amenities while utilising zones likely not suitable for apartment developments.

It is our view this position statement will be an ideal product to be used in the delivery of ‘metrohubs’ especially in areas with relatively low median house price, where apartment developers will be reluctant to invest.

We urge developers who undertake these projects to consider including sustainability features. The major drawcard for lots under 100sqm is affordability. The inclusion of solar power, solar hot water and the use of sustainable building materials that will reduce utility bills for residents could provide an additional benefit to buyers while adding minimal costs to construction.

Overall, the real estate industry is supportive of the position statement as a way to be able to deliver an alternative form of housing currently missing from the market and also looks forward to potential inclusion into the R-Codes following adequate monitoring and review of the initial implementation.

Best time to buy in a decade

Article source:  Gareth Hutchens – The West Australian Newspaper

Perth has one on the most affordable housing markets of any capital city in Australia, with an average Perth resident needing only about seven years to save a 20% deposit for a property purchase.

A report from ANZ and Core-Logic reveals housing affordability is the best it has been in years in Perth.            

Over the past decade, Perth dwelling values increased a sluggish 4.9% while household incomes rose 32% over the same period.    

In some areas it only takes 5 or 6 years to save for a deposit. These areas include Armadale (5.8 years), Kwinana (5.1), Rockingham (5.9), Swan (5.9), Serpentine (5.4), Wanneroo (6.2) and Gosnells (6.2).

Other areas, the median dwelling value is about four or five times a household’s annual gross income – these include Armadale (4.3 dwelling value to income ratio), Joondalup (5.4), Perth city (5.4), Rockingham (4.4), Swan (4.4) and Wanneroo (4.6).      

However, Cottesloe-Claremont remains the most expensive area – it still takes 14.5 years on average to save for a 20% deposit there, with a 10.9 dwelling value to income ratio.             

Across Perth, the average renting household is spending 23.1% of its income on rent, while those paying a mortgage are spending 28.4% of their income servicing an 80% loan to value ratio mortgage.     

The only cities in which it is faster to save a deposit are Darwin (4.8 years on average) and Canberra (6.9 years) – taking into account the average level of household incomes in each city.       

Housing in regional WA is also more affordable than it was a decade ago because of the substantial decline in dwelling values post-resources boom.        The dwelling value to household income ratio hasn’t been as low as it is currently since March 2005. Similarly, declines in rents over recent years have meant renting has also become more affordable.

Over the past decade, dwelling values in regional WA fell 14% while household incomes increased 25.4%, which led to the big improvement in housing affordability.