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  • Improved housing diversity required for the future of WA


    Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves

    By 2050, the State Planning Strategy 2050 forecasts Western Australia’s population will have increased from 2.5 million currently, to between 4.4 and 5.6 million.

    To accommodate this high population growth, they forecast 700,000 new dwellings will need to be built. The bulk of that (500,000 to 550,000) in the Perth metro region alone.

    Composition of WA housing stock

    The household composition and age demographic in WA is also expected to change by 2050, with those aged 65 and over increasing from 13 per cent to 22 per cent over the next 40 years.

    Combined with the increase in population and requirement for additional housing stock, these findings clearly identify the need for more appropriate, diverse and affordable housing across the state.

    At present, 80 per cent of WA’s provision of housing is standalone houses. In order to adequately cater for the population influx we’re going to see over the next 30 or so years, it’s recommended a more diverse balance of housing provision is required; 56 per cent separate houses, 35 per cent semi-detached and nine per cent apartments.

    REIWA and PIA’s Housing Diversity Project

    For the last six months, REIWA has been working with the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) on a Housing Diversity Project to help address WA’s housing stock imbalance. At present, the focus on higher density infill in WA does not meet the current and future social and economic needs of our community. It is our belief that housing diversity is the central theme to improved affordability, housing choice, settlement and urban design outcomes.

    PIA Executive Officer Emma de Jager says promoting and facilitating the provision of diverse dwelling types and densities in appropriate locations is becoming increasingly important, to ensure that the housing needs of residents are catered for at all stages of life.

    “Although density creates some tensions, the reality is that we need to provide a variety of housing forms across WA to cater for our changing society. Planning needs to consider the community of the future, and affordability is about access and services as much as price. This requires leadership and delivery of good examples,” she said.

    In conjunction with PIA, we will be submitting a number of recommendations to government at both a federal and state level, advocating for a series of legislative changes to encourage measures that promote the efficient supply of well-located diverse housing in WA.

    It is imperative WA evolves to accommodate our growing population. Housing diversity is an essential component for any community, and we need to look to the future and prepare adequately.