Desire for East Perth to gain 24/7 heartbeat

Samantha Reece recently attended the East Perth session of the Cities Summit that has been co-ordinated by Member for Perth John Carey.

Over 60 people attended this session which comprised of businesses, developers, residents and interested parties.

Quite predictably the session dealt with the areas strengths, its problems and what the community would like to see occur.

East Perth was liked because of its walkability, the gardens and open spaces, Claisebrook Cove and the fact that the area felt calm and relaxed.  In particular the residents enjoyed the fact that while they were living in the City it felt like they were in fact residing in a suburb.

However, there were certainly rumblings about the impact of foot traffic once the Stadium was completed and inexplicably this turned into concerns about safety.

But what was very clear was that East Perth has a Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm heartbeat and hence outside these times East Perth appears somewhat of a ghost town.

Some of the residents however enjoyed this low profile stating that they could travel to Northbridge and Perth for their entertainment.  But this tends to fly in the face of what a TOD (and that is the basis for East Perth) is all about.

There was a sense that East Perth was missing small bars and night activation and that the vacant business premises detracted from the overall vitality.

The community certainly wanted to activate the area around Perth Mint and also turn Wellington Square into a pleasant space to recreate in – rather than avoiding it all costs.

The audience talked about movies in the park, markets at the WACCA car park, setting up pop up shops in the vacant premises and overall a more cultural atmosphere.

This obviously has a cost factor associated with these activation strategies and while John Carey may be seeking the City to hire a place maker for East Perth – it also needs people.  There is no doubt that East Perth has been undercooked for density – like Subiaco – but this is an aspect that can be rectified as we move forward.

With the Stadium due for completion in 2018 this will certainly increase flow through traffic – but will they in fact stay and recreate in East Perth?  And this is very much the issue of the chicken and egg scenario.  Do you create the amenity so that people stay – or do you wait for the crowd and then create the activation?

Either way – there are some real opportunities for East Perth on its horizon and this community can either embrace it – or turn their back on it.  But from the conversation we observed, there is a real desire to turn East Perth into a 24/7 destination and that will take input from all parties and not just a place maker hired by the City of Perth!

Advertisements

Freedom Fit is the new Downsizer

You may have seen PropertyESP’s Director Samantha Reece on Channel 7 News Wednesday evening talking about the concept that she has hatched – known as Freedom Fit – under the WA Apartment Advocacy banner.

After conducting recent focus groups with seniors, Samantha found that when baby boomers moved to an apartment – while they were downsizing the living space they used – they were not downsizing on their mortgage or their lifestyle.  Hence the common term downsizer was now somewhat passe.

In fact these baby boomers knew that they would have an abundance of free time once they moved into an apartment and and hence sought locations that offered the corresponding lifestyle that would fill this time.

On that basis they sought locations that offered coffee strips, with natural elements such as the beach or river and also proximity to major hubs such as Perth or Fremantle.

In particular the apartment lifetyle also tended to be a motivating factor to encourage the residents to get out and try new activities and hence provided a new lease on life.

As a result of these findings, Samantha coined a new term – Freedom Fit – to better describe the motivation driving this older demographic.

These retirees were also keen on knowing their neighbours and recommended joint services within districts, such as a concierge service.

It was also evident that the senors in these groups were delighted with the apartment lifestyle and it is these added benefits that apartments offer over traditional retirement villages, which will now be a defining element of Perth’s evolving senior’s housing.

And what is clearly evident though is that  this age group will dominate the market for a while yet – and as such we need to be conscious of what they are looking for including more living space, extra bedrooms and storage.

As the market begins to become more sophisticated with its appetite for apartments – so must our choice of designs.

Interesting times ahead!

Apartment supply update

Samantha Reece of PropertyESP recently attended and participated in the Property Council Apartment conference where Urbis revealed their First Quarter 2017 results.

At present 20% of Perth’s building approvals are for apartments compared to 60% in Sydney and 46% in Melbourne.  This equates to 3797 apartments currently under construction.

There are at present 134 active apartment developments in WA and 11,194 apartments, which only represents about 10% of the apartments nationally, which tends to put WA’s supply somewhat into perspective.

There were 258 sales in the first Quarter 2017 with an average price of $650,000.  These sales were primarily in the CBD and Western Suburbs.  25 of these sales were attributed to Essence apartments alone, located in Claremont.

58% of the buyers were owner occupiers while 25% were identified as investors.

2017 will be a peak year of construction with an anticipated 3200 apartments delivered. While the number of sales matched the apartments launched in Q1 2017, there will be another 800 apartments delivered in Q2 and 1200 in Q4.

Certainly the data still upheld Urbis’ prediction that there will be a shortfall of apartments by 2020.  This is primarily because not all projects will proceed to construction phase.

This data also aligned with REA’s research which showed that the top suburbs searched for apartments were as follows:

  1.  East Perth
  2. Perth
  3. Rivervale (The Springs)
  4. South Perth
  5. Scarborough
  6. Fremantle
  7. North Perth
  8. Burswood

There is no doubt that Perth is still far behind the other states in terms of apartment supply – but it also shows that demand is relatively strong and more so now from the owner/occupier market than ever before.

Certainly the next 12 months and commencement (or non) of a number of projects will impact on these forecasts and hence it will be an interesting market to observe.

 

 

Perth land prices most affordable nationwide – but lack of variety is our downfall

Samantha Reece, Director of PropertyESP recently attended the UDIA lunch with Colin Keane of Research 4 and then participated with the panel discussion alongside David Cresp (Urbis) and Gavin Hegney.

Certainly Colin’s presentation was somewhat telling of Perth’s current status for land sales.

While Perth peaked in 2013 with 1078 lot sales per calendar month.  In 2016 our underlying demand for land is now 637 lots per calendar month and actual sales are 478.

However there are a number of reasons why we are having this reduced success rate – and it is primarily to do with population.

First of all, Perth’s demand for land is driven predominantly by employment.  For every 100 people employed there is the direct correlation of 38 lot sales.  This ratio in Sydney is 17 lots to every 100 people and in Melbourne 26 lots.

To broaden our market we therefore need to consider a number of options – including net migration with emphasis on education, temporary work visas and holiday visas.

Nationally 56% of land sales are non-local demand.  In Perth it is 16%.  This means that 84% of our land purchasers are based locally.

Perth therefore needs to emphasise our market and attractive lifestyle in order to trigger interstate and foreign investors and certainly consideration needs to be given to delaying the State Government’s foreign buyer’s tax, as this could further reduce demand.

Tourism is also a key player with our land sales growth.

Nationally 50% of short term visas are for holidays – in WA our rate is 11%.  As Colin stated we need to grow our portfolio of tourism experiences and hence concepts such as gondolas connecting Elizabeth Quay and Kings Park no longer seem so farfetched.

Perth has well recognised tourism sites such as Rottnest Island, Kings Park, Elizabeth Quay and Swan Valley.  But now what we need to do is make these experiences deeper and more impressive so as to drive tourism spend to our state in preference to others.

Immigration also catalysts further population growth and so attracting students to WA for education purposes will undoubtedly attract their families.  The same can be said for immigration as a whole.

But there were two final gems of knowledge.

Firstly that WA has the cheapest land in the nation at an average price of $225,000 compared to Melbourne $272,000 and Sydney $423,000.

But while this is positive news, it is our stagnation in the small block sizes ie 450sqm that is killing the market and hence we also need variety of lot sizes to cater to all demographics.

And secondly, WA needs variety across a number of realms – our economic basis, our population and our supply of housing options.

Undoubtedly WA needs to grow its global handshake.

While Government has reduced the FHOG and other such stimulants, what its core focus should now be, is to attract and then retain people.

As such, while the Government may be initially focused on servicing WA in regards to Metronet etc, its top priority should be to work with private enterprise, on ways to boost WA and its profile.

Major events, stimulating tourism sites and golden education opportunities are the ingredients that will return WA to a stronger population market – and one that will help the economy overall.

Perth is experiencing a period of disruption – and that is going to definitely also going to affect the land sector.  The question is – are you prepared?

 

Perth’s housing supply falls short

The question on everyone’s lips of late has been “Are we being oversupplied with apartments?” but recent research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), has shown that in fact increases in housing stock in Perth have failed to match population growth.

The study – Housing supply responsiveness in Australia: distribution, drivers and institutional settings, led by Professor Rachel Ong, Deputy Director of BCEC, examines how well supply is keeping up with demand across Australia’s regions and capital cities.

And while the rest of Australia has been able to match demand – Perth has lagged behind.

The report also found that most of Perth’s housing was concentrated in the mid to high price segments.

While typically construction of housing at the top end of the price scale tends to then allow for an increase in availability of affordable housing – this has not been evident in Perth.

It therefore appears that Perth is in fact in dire need of more apartments – but in the right locations.

The recent WA Apartment Advocacy research showed that renters were seeking locations that were close to their work as well as conveniences such as public transport, shops, gyms and restaurants.  And while the Metronet will free up many opportunities for affordable housing along the train line – this also needs to be matched with services and facilities.

The fact is, we need more housing and we need affordable options and that is going to require creative thinking outside of the box.  But either way – urgent action is needed!

Read more about this article and PropertyESP’s Samantha Reece’s comments in this weekend’s edition of the West Australian.

Perth still has $400 million of redevelopment in the pipeline

Samantha Reece recently attended the Property Education Foundation’s (PEF) Retail briefing with representatives from Westfield (Kate Holsgrove), Perron Group (Andrew Byars) and Vicinity (Andrew Hall).

And while Carousel, Cockburn Central and Morley Galleria are all poised for redevelopment – Perth CBD is also looking to undergo a major spruce up.

Jim Tsagalis, Director Lease Equity outlined a number of upcoming projects that would transform the City of Perth including Forrest Chase’s $100 million face lift and QVI and Raine Square’s estimated $300 million in remodelling.

Additional projects such as the addition of around 1,000 sqm at 480 Hay Street incorporating the 356 room Westin Hotel, would also inject another layer of food and beverage.

Jim stated that these developments coupled with Yagan Square and Elizabeth Quay would revolutionise the way Perth interacted with its national and international counterparts.

As he said – these extra projects will now create a night economy – and that is a great balance to what otherwise is a relatively 9am-5pm City.

 

There is no doubt that Perth can still feel somewhat buoyant as the capital investment that is still being injected into commercial fit-outs and retail expansion can only have a positive effect.  And that is certainly worth celebrating!

Would you invest $100 into WA’s future?

So at PropertyESP we are big fans of infrastructure and especially have been advocating that Metronet becomes a key priority with the newly elected Labor Government.

However contrary to our views, a number of developers have been reticent to endorse Metronet as they believe the development sector will be the ones forced to contribute with the value capture model.

Always focused on solutions, Samantha Reece Director of PropertyESP invited John Del Dosso from Colliers to present at the Property Council Residential Committee about other options that were also available to fast track Metronet.

John advised the Committee that if the Government was to charge a $100 levy/household per year they would raise $72 million.  If that same levy was placed on commercial businesses then this would add another $72 million per annum.  If you were to consider this as a perpetuating levy than in 5 years the Government would have raised over $600 million.

This is the exact model that Jeff Kennett applied in Victoria and as a result leap frogged that state into a growth phase (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/regrets-only-a-few-20120928-26qme.html).

John went on further to recommend that a toll be placed on the Northern Freeway – which at the moment is one of the fastest growing corridors.  His reasoning was that the businesses travelling to work in this locale would be the ones paying the toll and residents – wishing to avoid this fee – would be more likely to catch the train (which would mean that this transport system may in fact become sustainable).

Samantha thought that this was a brilliant concept – despite being somewhat radical.

But when she raised it with other colleagues, their first reaction was to state that they didn’t think they should be forced to donate $100 so that Ellenbrook could get the train.

This led Samantha to think – just when would we as ratepayers, start to believe and hence invest in our own state?

This “What’s in it for me” mentality is in fact preventing us as a State to bloom – but at the end of the day $2/ week is very little to give up, in order to gain so much.

Perth is definitely in a precarious position – destined to grow with the most recent infrastructure which has been created – but also facing potential failure if our mindset is not right.

What do you think – would you invest $100 a year to help Perth’s transport network grow?

PS the good news is that Mark McGowan announced the Federal financing commitment for Metronet in today’s press (http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/23-billion-jobs-boost-for-wa/news-story/b53b044c6aa3848a4c809169a1ea7645)