The Property Council WA has declared West Australian home buyers the winners in the wake of a State Government commitment not to add to the cost of building homes in METRONET precincts.
Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has also revealed plans to cap local government charges levied on developers for providing community infrastructure, further easing cost pressures on home buyers and developers.
The decision not to proceed with so-called “value capture” on housing developments in METRONET station precincts coincides with the Reserve Bank lowering official cash rates to 1 per cent and Perth rental vacancy rates hitting a low of 2.6 per cent in the June quarter.
Combined, those three developments are expected to improve confidence in WA’s property and construction sector, generating more economic activity and creating more jobs.
Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said the industry had worked hard to make sure the State Government understood the impact of costs and charges on housing affordability and the industry.
“We are thrilled that the State Government and Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti have demonstrated that they are listening. Minister Saffioti has taken decisive steps to put in place a regime that will make housing more affordable, encourage development in METRONET precincts and create more jobs in WA’s property sector,” Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said.
“This is a positive move, making it more affordable for the industry to deliver housing in METRONET precincts, by reducing red tape, which adds to the cost of building, and making it more affordable for West Australians to buy their own homes.”
The WA property industry, which employs more than 233,000 West Australians, is the State’s largest employer, accounting for more jobs than mining (91,800) and manufacturing (83,400) combined.
Ms Brewer said the industry wanted to partner with the State Government to realise its METRONET vision by generating well-designed projects and making a substantial contribution to the State Government’s 150,000 new job target.
The property industry has been campaigning for greater consistency and certainty around developer contributions for many years.
Developer contributions schemes are run by local governments. As part of this, developers can be charged amounts of $5000 a block in some cases, for a community contribution to pay for libraries, playgrounds and sporting spaces.
The schemes have been criticised because of inconsistencies in the amount levied, the timing of the spending, lack of accountability for delivering infrastructure and delays in refunds to developers.
Some local governments did not spend this money for years after home buyers moved into their homes, effectively depriving residents of services and infrastructure that they had already paid for.
Minister Saffioti’s draft reforms are expected to clearly spell out what local governments can and cannot include in those charges.
Ms Brewer said the WA industry was happy to pay its fair share. “We are proud of our 42% contribution to the state’s tax take, which funds our roads, schools and hospitals, and of our role in creating great places, creating economic activity and being the State’s largest employer.”
Ms Brewer said it was vital growth in the sector was encouraged with a streamlined and effective planning system, better communication about the benefits of density for the community and fairer taxes and charges.