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.

DAP’s in the firing line

PropertyESP recently attended the UDIA lunch with Alannah MacTiernan, Federal Member for Perth, who spoke about her views on Perth’s planning and the DAPs.

Following from her time as WA’s Planning Minister, Alannah was very keen to reintroduce the concept of democratic planning.  This methodology focuses on involving people (i.e. the community and stakeholders) in the planning process, in order to create a design that meets everyone’s needs.

In its truest form, democratic planning is an ideal model and one which Samantha Reece utilised herself when she was CEO of SMR.

However it appears the former Minister has been using this model to discredit the DAP process.

She recently held a session with 100 attendees in Mt Lawley and this drew criticism for the DAP process and the fact that residents had no sway over their own communities.

However as Samantha Reece pointed out to Alannah at the lunch – if you were to put 100 developers into a room, the feelings towards DAPs would be very different and if the process was to be truly democratic, there needed to be a cross section of the community represented.

Alannah’s main criticisms of DAPs were two-fold: the lack of elected members on the DAPs and lack of transparency with final planning  decisions.

Alannah felt that elected members needed to be involved in the process to reflect the views of their communities.

And then she spoke of the Bayswater town centre development, which had a two storey height limit. This had been revised to five stories (under pressure), and yet the DAP awarded seven stories.  Alannah felt that it was inappropriate that the DAP did not take into regard the City’s wishes or their planning scheme with this decision.

For us at PropertyESP, it was quite clearly the case that the DAP believed that the most appropriate height for the town centre to provide continued economic viability was in fact seven stories.

And while Alannah very cleverly pointed out that the DAP process is more expensive and not any faster than the normal Council approval process, what she failed to acknowledge was that some Councils are still sitting on the same Town Planning Scheme as they were 20 years ago.

There is no doubt that DAP’s have some aspects still to be ironed out, but they definitely have a role to play in Perth’s future.   Our concern at PropertyESP is that some parties have DAPs in their firing line and that would not be a positive outcome for the Perth development sector – at all!

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