Policy changes needed to drive Perth apartment market

A raft of industry experts all agreed that policy change must happen to spur growth in the Perth apartment market.

At the Property Council’s Apartments and Cities Conference, there was a clear consensus that more needs to be done to ensure that Perth’s apartment market remains resilient and well prepared for a market turn around.

“Despite a soft market currently, the industry is now in a position where it must set itself up for the market turn around,” Property Council WA Executive Director Lino Iacomella said.

“We are expecting WA’s economy to turn in the next 2 or so years, which means projects that are in the early stages today will be best positioned to take advantage when the market turns,” he said.

REA Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee said that Perth has everything it needs to be a great city, its biggest issue is the current lack of jobs.

“As jobs return to Western Australia, the market will pick up,” she said

“Having said that, recent government changes such as stopping the $5,000 boost to the first home owners grant and the proposed 4% foreign investor surcharge have the potential to make matters worse.

“Now is definitely not the time to be introducing a foreign investor tax,” Ms Conisbee said.

According to data from the REA, WA receives a fraction of the number of foreign investors as other states.

“Industry must look to local owner occupiers as they are the leading force in the current market. According to the REA data, there is more than 70,000 potential buyers of WA apartments 30,000 of which are local owner occupiers,” Ms Conisbee said.

During a panel discussion, the industry experts also discussed what buyers are looking for.

The panel agreed, downsizers were a major target audience in many apartment developments.

 “There is a definite shift towards community living,” Urbis Director David Cresp said.

“When Community Titles are introduced, we’ll see this shift really gain momentum,” he said.

“A lot of the current rules and regulations are stopping innovation – if you wanted to create a microgrid for example the current energy market rules would not allow you to do so.

“The first step in realising innovation needs to be innovations around governance,” Mr Cresp said.

TPG + Placematch Executive Chairman David Caddy said: that SPP 4.2 must also be adapted to enable development to create vibrant communities instead of social silos.

“SPP 4.2 needs to be reviewed. It is not working in the context that the original policy document set out,” he said.