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September 6, 2021

It is no secret that Perth has taken its time to adopt apartment living as a viable alternative to a three-by-two home in the suburbs, however, we are slowly but surely evolving as a city. But there is still a way to go.

Property Council of Australia WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer shared her thoughts on why we need to renew our focus on infill development in Perth, as debate continues to rage about density across our suburbs.

Developers have tended to gravitate towards the more populated areas of the city, where greater density levels already exist and where we are able to offer residents a level of housing diversity that may be lacking in other areas.

Whilst the number of apartment developments in the CBD and inner-ring suburbs are expanding in line with population growth and heightened demand for housing diversity, developments in Perth’s more established suburbs remain more contested.

This ongoing housing sprawl to the north and south has resulted in the need for more investment in new infrastructure to keep pace, with the spread placing increasing demand on government resources.

At 47 per cent, many argue that Perth’s infill target is far too low in comparison to other developing cities. The report cites Adelaide’s target of 85 per cent urban consolidation by 2045 and Melbourne’s aim for 70 per cent by 2050 as direct comparisons.

The pandemic has only further fuelled our urban sprawl, as government incentives have led to an inflating demand for house and land packages that are increasingly being built further and further from our CBD.

Whilst these communities can be thriving places, they don’t portray Perth as a growing city of housing diversity and consolidation. Apartment and townhouse developments must be an increasing part of the mix as we move towards a sophisticated post-pandemic city.

As noted by Ms Brewer, apartment developments in infill locations offer relatively affordable homes and save the government’s additional spending on infrastructure as they are built-up areas where infrastructure is already established.

At Griffin Group we encourage the view of growing our city in instead of out in line with Ms Brewers comments. We have a number of boutique apartment and townhome developments that span across several Perth inner and outer city suburbs.

Incentives such as removing the foreign buyer’s surcharge, removing stamp duty for off-the-plan apartments, and allowing build-to-rent to really develop in Perth will deliver greater housing diversity, increase supply, create jobs, and help ease housing affordability and the current lack of stock in the local market.

This summary is based on the article ‘Why it’s time for our city to grow in and not out’ by Ronald Chan | The West Australian | Monday 6 September