Western Australians want more medium density

New research shows the majority of Western Australians either support or are open to the idea of medium density development in their neighbourhoods.

The Close to Home report, commissioned by the Property Council WA released today, reveals 74% of Western Australians do not oppose medium density development that are well designed and add to local amenity.

Close to Home is the first report to quantify Western Australians sentiment about increasing density in established suburbs.

The report surveyed 1,200 residents across Perth and found that attitudes towards density were broadly consistent across political preferences.

In the lead-up to the WA state election, the Close to Home report sets out a clear opportunity for all sides of politics to investigate ways to support and encourage well designed density to deliver more housing choice for a growing Perth.

Property Council WA Executive Director, Sandra Brewer, said the survey debunked some of the conventional wisdom about attitudes towards density, including which level of government residents believed was best placed to plan and deliver medium density

“This first of its kind data has debunked the narrative about who opposes density the most.

“There has always been a prevailing attitude that it’s older, more conservative residents in leafy suburbs who are opposed to greater density and development.

“This report shows that people from all age groups, backgrounds, and political preferences are open to the idea of greater density, including older residents.

“Even in the group most often considered to be the most resistant to density, people in the 65-74 age bracket more people favoured, or were open to, medium density than the number opposed.

“The Close to Home data shows that what really matters to Western Australians – safety, improved transport, community, cultural vibrancy, sanctuary and affordability - can be delivered through density,” Ms Brewer said.

Media contact:  Emily Young | P 0475 161 328 | E [email protected]


Key findings
– Close to Home

  • Almost three quarters (74%) of Western Australians are not opposed to medium density development – in fact, almost 60% are supporters of or open to it.
  • Only one in four are openly resistant to medium density – however, three quarters of those people believe well-designed living spaces enhance rather than diminish an area’s unique character.
  • Only 5% of those resistant to density are aged 18-21. However, the majority of 65-74 year olds surveyed were in favour of or open to medium density development.
  • Safety was identified as a top priority, with more than 80% believing urban density improved safety in the community.
  • Developing townhouses and boutique apartment projects in existing suburbs, or in newer suburbs on the outskirts of the metropolitan area, is seen as the best way to deliver medium density living in Perth.
  • Three quarters of Western Australians agree that planning policy must prioritise retaining tree canopy, and bushland on the fringes of the city.
  • Less than a quarter of respondents believe local government should have responsibility for the delivery of medium density development, instead wanting that to rest with State Government or DevelopmentWA.
  • Labor voters were more likely to support or be open to medium density, with 61% support compared to 58% among Liberal voters, 57% among Greens voters, 38% among other minor party supporters and 56% among undecided voters.