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property market downturn in Western Australia has prompted an unprecedented
response from industry, with five major property industry organisations collaborating
to present a package of policy support measures to the state government.
changes required in order to reinvigorate the market, the Housing
Industry Association (HIA), Master Builders Association (MBA), Property Council
of Australia (PCA), the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) and
Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) presented the plan to Ministers
Tinley and Saffioti today.
UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said the residential market has reached a critical point where the state of the property industry is having a direct impact on jobs and growth in our economy.
The property development industry is the state’s second
largest employer, however since August 2015 more than 35,000 jobs in the construction
sector alone have been lost.
“This is about the state government doing their part in
stimulating broader economic growth, supporting job creation and ensuring more
people in WA have a place to call home,” Ms Steinbeck said.
According to MBA WA Executive Director John Gelavis, the Keystart
maximum property price tag of $480,000 is blocking access to Keystart loans for
“It’s time to loosen the shackles by raising the limit to
$550,000 and allowing more freedom in housing choices,” Mr Gelavis said.
“Income limits also need to be unlocked for couples, who are
barred from Keystart if they earn more than $130,000 even though families have
a $155,000 cap. Combining them into one category will help couples wanting a
family home for the future but stymied by the deposit criteria of the big banks,”
Mr Gelavis said.
Stamp duty has also been identified as another a major
barrier for many looking to purchase property and is dampening market activity.
Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said stamp duty is a significant cost for all WA home buyers but
those buying apartments off-the-plan are charged more than house and land
“The buyer of an $800,000 off-the-plan apartment is charged
$32,316 in stamp duty. Compared to an $800,000 house and land package where the
stamp duty only applies to the land component, the duty would be around $20,000
less,” Ms Brewer said.
“Levelling the stamp duty playing field between apartment
and house buyers will set Perth up for thoughtful growth so that as our
city grows, we can create greater living spaces in existing suburbs close to
public transport,” Ms Brewer said.
REIWA CEO Neville Pozzi said that with first home
buyers accounting for one-third of all residential property transactions in WA and more needs to be done to create greater choice within the established property
“By increasing the stamp duty exempt threshold to $550,000,
49 per cent of properties in the Perth Central sub-region will become available
for first home buyers, which will enable them to live closer to the city,” Mr
“This will assist in achieving the government’s infill targets as
well as encourage people to live closer to existing transport infrastructure.”
The industry bodies have presented their comprehensive plan
to Housing Minister Peter Tinley and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti today.
HIA WA Executive Director Cath Hart said the combined impact of the end of the mining boom and
credit crunch significantly affected the WA residential construction sector and
has prompted the entire sector to unite to seek support get WA building again
so we can continue to house, employ and train West Australians.
“Between the five groups, we represent a significant source
of jobs and training in WA - after such a sustained period of difficult
conditions, industry and government need to work together so we can continue to
support those jobs. In such unprecedented conditions, it will take more than
one thing to get industry moving again - that’s why a range of measures have
been outlined today,” Ms Hart said.
“We are pleased that Minister Tinley and Minister Saffioti
have heard our concerns and listened to our proposals to sustain a recovery. We
look forward to hearing their further feedback in due course,” Ms Hart said.
For more on REIWA's advocacy efforts, visit our advocacy page.
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