Robust discussion needed for infill

Samantha Reece of PropertyESP recently attended the South Perth planning workshops which dealt with the proposed train station precinct and its overall design.

Now in an earlier career path, Samantha was Director of SMR and responsible for a number of community consultation projects including the Gidgegannup town centre. But what was interesting for Samantha in this case, was that the sessions were hosted by a Council and not the developer and hence this allowed for a sharing of a range of views and hence some much needed robust discussion.

Now when the South Perth Town Planning Scheme was passed in 2013 this was done so without discussing height – but rather based on the provision of a train station.  A very dangerous move because it did not deal with the elephant in the room!

As a result, when development started in 2016 and residents were faced with 39 stories – not only did they take proactive action to stop this occurring – but the train station became a dirty word (literally).

To the credit of the Council they have decided (after many inconclusive months) to now take charge by listening to all parties.

As such Samantha was delighted to see that some of the “anti development” factions were really challenged on their assumptions while developers also had a chance to revise the mandatory plot ratio for the commercial vs residential (which at present is making a number of projects in the area nonviable).

While the planning sessions were to a certain extent very much “wish list” orientated – they did allow a forum for developers and supporters of high rise, to challenge and dismiss some of the hype that the anti development factions had created.  And no doubt by allowing for this robust and sometimes very aggressive debate, the “nay sayers” were shown to be just a marginal party in the overall context.

PropertyESP wishes to congratulate the South Perth Council because they could have taken action that would have hindered their community’s growth – and yet they took the bold move to in fact challenge people’s paradigms and hence allow for the stretching of minds and concepts. Plus they did deal with the elephant – and talked height!

At the end of the day – any decision will upset some parties – but it is the deep seated understanding that you look after a whole community (and not just the vocal minority) which the South Perth Council has heeded!  As such they have set an example for others that also need to take this bold and proactive approach.  Change will not happen by chance – but rather through leadership!

Renters seek more

The WA Apartment survey – the first of its kind in WA – recently interviewed 113 renters who have shown that while apartments are their preference, they are seeking more in terms of amenities and space.

The survey showed that 39% moved from a house into an apartment and went from 2-3 bedrooms to 1-2 bedrooms.

However when asked what they would choose next, while 73% said they would consider an apartment, their preferences were clearly for 2-3 bedrooms.  This linked to the fact that 20% were using a bedroom as a study/home office.

Convenience was also a major driver when choosing an apartment, with 91% of the renters in walking distance to public transport, 90% to cafes, 86% to a grocery shop and 84% to services such as hairdressers.

Renters also tended to look first for apartments in Perth, East Perth and West Perth before then expanding out to encompass Mt Lawley, South Perth, Highgate, Subiaco, Leederville and Northbridge.  This was because most renters wanted to have a direct route to work, with 86% stating the travel time to work influenced their decision when choosing an apartment.

84% also indicated that safety and security was a major influence in their renting decisions along with being able to lock up and leave, low maintenance and affordability (75% respectively).

However what was also interesting, was that while 44% had no prior experience living in an apartment, 82% would still recommend apartment living.

There is no doubt that apartment living is becoming an evolving trend for renters, but just like owner occupiers – bigger is better!

If you are keen to learn the full results of the WAAA survey (and guarantee your investment success) contact Samantha Reece on 0452 067 117.  You can be assured you won’t find this level of information anywhere else!


Say what you want

For PropertyESP, the last couple of months have really highlighted the need to have a dialogue with the general community about what they do want to see, when it comes to infill in Perth.

After recently working with a progressive metropolitan council, we were able to reflect on their vision for their City centre and it was clear that, despite their expectations, what was being delivered by developers was not in alignment with their long term intent.

This led to a discussion where the Council admitted that while the vision was alive internally, it wasn’t publicly understood outside of the organisation.

And that led to the staff considering, just how do we sell the sizzle to our community and beyond?

Another example is Lumiere in South Perth.  This lengthy battle, which was started by a small group of residents, has finally resulted in a positive outcome for developer Edge.  However, the residents who opposed this development (which was originally at 29 storeys) are now facing the likelihood of 34 storeys instead.

It appears that with this negativity occurring towards infill, we are witnessing delivery of outcomes that in fact compromises all parties.  If Edge was permitted to proceed with the original plans, I am sure that this would have been the preferred outcome for all parties.

While it is beginning to become accepted that apartments will undeniably be a part of Perth’s future, what developers, local authorities and planners are failing to do is engage with the people who support this concept to determine what it is they want to see.  What are the design elements, materials, height, activation at the street level, etc. that are appropriate for their community?

When faced with a prejudice or ignorance, it is the role of leaders to inform, educate and encourage dialogue.  And PropertyESP believes that through this process outcomes that are acceptable to, even welcomed by, all parties can be achieved.  And while some may consider this risky, we consider this as just good community development.

If you would like to discuss this concept further than contact Samantha Reece on 0452 067 177 because she is all about meaningful dialogue!

WA Apartment Advocacy provides balance

Long term property commentator Samantha Reece has launched this week the WA Apartment Advocacy (WAAA) to generate open discussion about the role of apartments within the state.

Motivated by the sway of NIMBYism (Not in my back yard) that tended to dominate Council decisions, Samantha has taken the bold move to enlist the support of apartment livers (people who own and live in apartments) to ensure that there is a more balanced discussion.

“When I witnessed Councils changing Town Planning Schemes and rejecting apartment projects based on what I call, 0.0006% of the population, I decided that something had to change,” Ms Reece said.

“I know for a fact that there are people who love their apartment and would like more choice but they are being hamstrung by people who would prefer to maintain the status quo.

“There have been mandates from State Government for Councils to nominate areas where apartments are a good fit and that is ideally around train stations, retail and on major roads.

“If people speak up about the fact that they want to see more choice then maybe the Councils and Government will have the confidence to make bold decisions, which reflect the needs of their entire community.”

The WAAA is encouraging people to register on their website so that their ideas can be shared with decision makers.

“I have had young people state that they would like to see smaller apartments introduced into Perth, because all they really need is a place to sleep.” Ms Reece said.

“On the other hand I have had families ask why we don’t offer four bedroom and two bathroom apartments like we see in Singapore.

“This is the kind of information that needs to be brought to light so that planning decisions provide real choice.”

Sean Morrison is one of those young people who recently purchased an apartment by NIB Stadium.

“I have exchanged a one hour drive into the City each day for a 20 minute leisurely stroll to work,” Mr Morrison said.

“I literally fill my car just twice a month and that for me is both sustainable and cost effective.

“Because of the reduced travel time I believe I am more productive at work and I also have more free time to enjoy.  It is this quality of life that I really appreciate.”

NIMBY needs to be shelved

It is with great interest and dismay that we have watched the evolution of the South Perth planning laws over the past few months.

As many of you are aware, the Council, after many years of public consultation, waived the height restrictions in 2013 which gave way to a number of high profile projects proceeding, including the Civic Heart precinct.

But now with lobbying efforts of local residents the Council is reneging on this agreement and are looking to scale back these developments by 15% which will reflect 1000 apartments and $240 million of potential investment.

Why? The pro-lobby group say it’s because current apartment owners don’t want to lose their views and while the anti-development group denies this claim – what is very accurate is that this is a true case of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

The fact is – the development proposed for South Perth is long overdue and with the high take up rate, demonstrates that there is pent up demand for new living opportunities in this suburb.

But once again we are faced with the 1% who say nay and because no-one else is ranting and raving – this is the only voice that Council hears.

I remember when we worked on the Gidgegannup project, which was a highly contentious land development, that there was the same level of resistance which then influenced the City of Swan.

But after two years of consultation, when the matter went to Council for planning approval – we had uncovered the “silent majority” who were prepared to be vocal in their support and once the Councillors were aware of this sentiment, they approved the development.

The fact is, most Councillors socialise in the suburb which they represent and can quite often be hounded or socially ostracised if they endorse projects that their peers feel are not in keeping with their area.

And that is the issue. These Councillors focus on what is good for them and not necessarily their City/Town.

At the end of the day you want to encourage investment in your locale. This generates a higher level of population, greater economic activity and greater prosperity all round. Let’s face it South Perth really does need a rejuvenation.

But despite lobby groups efforts, what they effectively need to do is ensure that the positive voice outweighs the negative and this can only be done by engaging and motivating these residents to be vocal, despite the social repercussions.

I for one hope that the City of South Perth understands that their initial decision, while bold, was appropriate and will continue in the same vein. Perth is moving into a new era and if you are not on board you will undoubtedly miss out!

For more news on this story log onto


Rental rates on the rise

So as PropertyESP was looking at various suburbs in Perth, we saw a growing trend of rental occupancy, from the 2001 to 2011 census.

This made us wonder, was this movement confined to just these suburbs, or was it in fact occurring across the whole of Perth?

There is no doubt that we had been looking at modern suburbs such as East Perth, Cockburn Central and Ellenbrook when we discovered this increasing rate of rental occupancy, and as such we thought that the age of a suburb, maybe had some influence over this trend.

So we decided to pull some random suburbs dating from 1950 through to 2000’s to see if there was in fact any indicators just waiting to be revealed. These suburbs included Booragoon, Innaloo, Dianella, Bullcreek, Aubin Grove and Banksia Grove, to name just a few (20 in total).

What we found was that this random sample of suburbs all experienced an increase in rental occupancies from 2001-2011 census (see table 1). Some eras such as the 1980’s and 1990’s jumped from 10% rentals to 16% during this ten year period, while the majority averaged 3-4% growth.

rental increases

Table 1

Could it be possible that these 1980/90’s homes had been vacated by their baby boomer owners as they upgraded, and as such were now being treated as an investment?

In conjunction, with Y Gen being somewhat transient, this was another possible contributor for the increasing rental occupancies across the board.

And of course there are hotspots, such as South Perth, where the rental market represents a much larger proportion ie 46% and with strong development occurring in that locale, I believe this number will only grow.

But one thing is for certain, rental occupancy is on the rise and this shows once again that the dynamics of Perth’s property cycle is continuing to evolve and that is a good thing.

PropertyESP is a company that likes to get into the nitty gritty of sales data. If you are wanting a full and detailed snapshot of sales for an area, then contact PropertyESP today to find out more!

South Perth set to soar

While we have seen a number of Perth locations take off lately including The Springs, Elizabeth Quays and Waterbank – it appears that South Perth is gunning to also boost its ratepayer numbers.

City of South Perth, CEO Cliff Frewing spoke at a recent UDIA function about the fact that the Council had approved the construction of 900 apartments over the past 18 months.

Of course top of mind is Finbar’s Civic Heart, which will feature 294 apartments on the corner of Mill Point Rd and Mends St reaching a staggering 38 storeys, on par with the QV1 building. In addition there is two more land parcels on top of that, which Finbar is developing including Aurelia (cnr Mill Pt Rd and Harper Tce) and 5-7 Harper Tce.

Plus there is a 70 apartment complex on the corner of Melville Pde and Richardson Street, a 102 apartment complex on the corner of Labouchere Rd and Charles St (Pinnacle) and 148 apartment development on the corner of Labouchere Rd and Lyall St.

Furthermore the City is undertaking a structure plan for the Canning Bridge precinct as well as looking to redevelop the Old Mill site.

Certainly South Perth has been home to high rise since the early 1990’s when Finbar started the ball rolling and while there has been a period of stagnancy it is quite clear that this is now about to change.

The good news is that there is a knock-on-effect and already other properties are changing hands including the IGA for $13.5 million. There is no doubt that all these apartment developments will therefore trigger a revitalisation for this beautiful riverside suburb.

Certainly the City has a lot to consider though as a result of this expansive growth, including its public transport needs – but regardless, this spurt of development will transform South Perth once again into a metropolis of activity and I can’t wait to see the end result!