Where does suburbia fit into the Perth equation?

PropertyESP recently attended the PIA State Conference which was aptly termed “Rocking the suburbs.”

Minister Rita Saffioti opened the conference and posed the question – does every suburb wish to be rocked and went on to explain that in the East, the focus in the 1990’s was all about the inner ring and that suburbs were seen nearly as a second class choice.

In contrast – Perth is the exact opposite – even some 27 years on.

Our population growth certainly has been part of the reason for this evolution with some residents happy to travel over an hour into the City for work while living in our burgeoning outer suburbs.  This is true regardless of age.

But what is evident in the Eastern States, is that now, some three decades later, the inner city is reserved solely for the wealthy.

Interestingly 83% of lawyers work in our CBD, 62% engineers, 39% white collar professionals and 26% health workers – however this is not reflected in their choice of housing suburb.

This is partially because house sizes have not declined drastically and yet the range of housing choices in the CBD continues to cater for 1-2 person households.

The Minister therefore believes that we will see a shift whereby suburbia will become more like business districts and the City will evolve into an amenity district.  This certainly aligns with their Metronet model.

At PropertyESP we believe that Perth will follow the same pattern as the East, with the CBD becoming a desired location over the next decade.  But first we need to see greater choice of housing and added amenities such as schools in order to cater to a broader cross section of the community.

But on the tail of that, there are many suburbs that were established in the 1970’s to 90’s that really do lack any sense of pulse and hence in order to retain their residents, their Councils will also need to be progressive in the provision of services and development of community spirit.

There is no doubt that Perth is in a flux of change and as a result of significant investment in the inner CBD and key suburban shopping centres, we will see the rise of preferred suburbs over the next 5-10 years.  But that also means that there will be many suburbs that languish.

The question is, are the LGA’s prepared to rock the boat and their suburbs and evolve with WA’s changing needs?

 

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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!

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.

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)

Finally East Coast recognises Perth market upswing

Today two East Coast companies, CoreLogic and Moody’s, publicly declared that the worst of Perth’s property market was behind us and they predicted 3% capital growth for houses and 5.6% for apartments over the forthcoming 12 months.

Now for some time PropertyESP has been blogging about the upswing in Perth property prices and especially with apartments.  That’s because we look at the micro while others look at the macro.

For example in Scarborough if you purchased a 3 bedroom apartment in 2011 – by 2016 you had achieved 28% capital growth.

scarborough

Or in Applecross/Mt Pleasant 2016 apartment prices are now back to 2011 boom-time values.

price per annum

Or even houses in the Western Suburbs (valued below $1 million and which were renovated), PropertyESP demonstrated they achieved 21% capital growth/annum (despite what was reported in the media).

9 May blog 11x 2

Plus analysing apartments in Churchlands and West Leederville, we were also able to demonstrate property growth from 2013 – 10% and 2% respectively.

11 april revised

But regardless of what a WA analyst says, it appears that we need the nod of approval from the East before we actually believe the good news!

Despite our level of cynicism for our Eastern States counterparts, PropertyESP is still glad for this national endorsement as it may actually infuse a sense of optimism with WA buyers and that is good news for the industry overall.

If you would like to see a WA company provide detailed analysis about your suburb of choice then contact us for a chat.  We make sense of property – and we are proud of it!