Let’s back WA’s confidence boom with policies that support property

Twelve months on from national COVID-19 lockdowns, soaring confidence in Western Australia’s property industry is a positive sign for the local economy. Despite this, investment-sapping taxes could slow growth, says the Property Council of Australia.

WA has the most positive outlook in the nation, rising a massive 24 points in the last three months, according to the March 2021 ANZ/Property Council Survey.

The pulse-check of industry confidence has WA at 157 index points in March 2021, up from a score of 133 in December 2020. The national confidence index now sits at 142 points. A score of 100 is considered neutral.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said the local property industry’s expectations around forward work schedules, staffing levels and economic growth were the highest in the country.

“High industry confidence is a reflection of our state’s ability to weather the storms of COVID-19 and work together to ensure our economy, which is underpinned by a strong property industry, continues to grow.”

The property industry’s confidence in the McGowan Government exceeds that of any other state or territory. “A commitment to collaboration between industry and government provides the perfect platform to address some of the biggest handbrakes on growth,” Ms Brewer added.

When asked to nominate the most critical issues for state government, WA respondents prioritised property taxes and charges (24%), vibrant city centres (22%) and housing supply and affordability (17%).

“Policies that support apartment development can address all three priorities. By eliminating the foreign buyers’ surcharge and making permanent concessions for off-the-plan apartment buyers, the McGowan Government can boost rental stock, meet infill targets and enhance the vibrancy of Perth’s CBD,” Ms Brewer explained.

“The seven per cent foreign buyers’ surcharge has hampered growth in the apartment market since it was introduced in 2019. Foreign investors often provide the first round of funding to get off-the-plan apartment projects off the ground.

“Removing this surcharge will attract investment and skilled migrants, boost our apartment rental stock and generate property tax revenue as international buyers return to the market.”

The 75 per cent stamp duty rebate for off-the-plan apartments, which is set to expire in October, has also encouraged much-needed development and provided greater housing choice.

“Making this a permanent tax concession will act as a long-term incentive, rather than just a short-term sugar hit. The residential construction industry, supported by HomeBuilder and complementary state government stimulus, was the workhorse of our state’s economy last year. A report published by NHFIC found every $1 million spent on residential development generates nine full-time jobs.

“Our state is poised to capitalise on the post-COVID boom – as this boost in industry confidence confirms. Let’s back this up with far-sighted strategies that deliver jobs and growth in 2021, and builds a strong and prosperous state for future generations,” Ms Brewer concludes.

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

Launched in 2011, the ANZ/Property Council Survey is now one of Australia’s largest sentiment surveys in the property industry. Respondents are drawn from across the property industry, and include developers, managers, agents and service providers. The survey of 830 people was conducted online between 15 and 31 March 2021. Property is Australia’s largest industry, employing 1.4 million people and generating 13 per cent of GDP.

To view select ANZ/Property Council Survey historical data series, or to learn more about our supporting sponsor RCP, visit the Property Council’s Data Room.