Alocasia Residences by Hillam Architects and New Leaf Homes.
Alocasia Residences by Hillam Architects and New Leaf Homes.
  • The Development Ready Pipeline (DRP) project aims to become the 'single source of truth' for future housing supply in Western Australia.
  • 24% of undeveloped urban zoned land in Perth is fundamentally constrained.
  • Perth will need some 800,000 new homes over the next 30 to 50 years.

Perth, like many cities around the globe, is experiencing a critical housing supply shortage that is making it increasingly difficult for people to find an appropriate and affordable home.

Rental vacancy rates remain at record lows and the median rent has escalated to $545 per week.

Perth remains one of the most affordable cities in Australia, however, that mantle may soon be lost as the median house price edges over $540,000.

Iterno Bayswater by Parcel Property
Iterno Bayswater by Parcel Property

While there is a range of measures that are being put in place at a State and Federal level to address housing supply issues, including the National Housing Accord and the State Government’s Housing Diversity Pipeline, one of the biggest challenges is a lack of clear understanding of our housing supply pipeline.

Currently, there are varying methods used to understand how much land we have available in both infill and greenfield areas in the Perth and Peel regions for future development.

The State Government’s Urban Growth Monitor (UGM) is one approach, however, the methodology for the UGM does not consider the very real constraints to getting urban and urban deferred zoned land to the market and realising that lands housing potential.

To that end, UDIA recently launched the Development Ready Pipeline (DRP) pilot project in Perth. The project aims to become the ‘single source of truth’ when it comes to future housing supply that can be used by various stakeholders across industry and government.

The project is working to understand what urban zoned land and future urban land will realistically be able to be developed over a ten year timeframe, breaking it down into land available for commencement within six months; two years; five years and in ten years.

tanya steinbeck
Tanya Steinbeck. Image – LinkedIn.

“The DRP is critically important to understanding future housing supply in Perth by calculating what land is actually available for residential development,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said. “In the midst of a housing supply crisis, this has a significant impact on the future affordability of housing in Perth.”

“While there is land that is zoned for urban or future urban development, the reality is not all of that land can be developed into housing because there is a myriad of constraints that preclude it from being delivered,” Ms Steinbeck said.

The DRP project has undertaken three phases of research to establish preliminary findings in relation to Perth’s housing supply pipeline including GIS sieve mapping, a Developer Survey to collate project scale information on developer-held land holdings and a series of forums aimed at assembling all the relevant stakeholders, by corridor, involved in the urban development process for an interactive workshop including developers, landowners, consultants, local and State government authorities, utility and service providers.

: The Hales by Satterley Property Group. Winner of the Residential Development Award at the UDIA WA 2022 Awards for Excellence.
: The Hales by Satterley Property Group. Winner of the Residential Development Award at the UDIA WA 2022 Awards for Excellence.

Key findings from the initial pilot have revealed that approximately one quarter (24%) of undeveloped urban zoned land in the Perth Metro Area is identified as being fundamentally constrained.

A further 18% of all potential future urban land, such as land in planning investigation areas and zoned as urban deferred, is identified as fundamentally constrained.

‘Fundamentally constrained’ means that land is effectively sterilized from future development. UDIA has calculated that equates to between 150,000 to 200,000 potential new homes that cannot be delivered to the market across Perth on either urban zoned or potential future urban land.

The fundamental constraints that have been identified are primarily in relation to environmental or infrastructure constraints, including Bush Forever sites, floodways, school sites, rail corridors, service infrastructure easements and major roads.

The State Government’s strategic plan for growth predicts we need to accommodate 3.5 million people, which equates to 800,000 new homes in the next 30 to 50 years. What this research is showing, is that we are not going to meet that target unless we address these constraints.

In addition to the fundamentally constrained areas, the project has also identified a potential further 20% of undeveloped urban zoned or potential future urban land that has ‘other’ types of constraints which will prove challenging to the delivery of new homes.

“It is that 20% with ‘other’ types of constraints where we need to focus our attention, as these ‘other’ constraints are more manageable if industry and government work together to look for shared solutions,” Ms Steinbeck said.

‘Other’ constraints include partial site coverage of remnant vegetation or State Forest, with additional challenges presented by fragmented land ownership, lack of service agency commitment, or funding allocation for required infrastructure.

To date, the project has gained extensive support from industry and government alike.

Cossill & Webley Director Avril Thomson says the project is an exemplar of how a mapping tool can assist with readily understanding opportunities and constraints for sites identified for future development.

“It shows great leadership from UDIA and is also a really practical mapping tool that consolidates multiple data sources to provide clarity around how much unconstrained land is available for development, and what the key issues may be in unlocking future development areas,” Ms Thomson said.

Avril thomson cossill and webley director
Avril Thomson.

“In time, and with collaboration between industry, planning agencies and service agencies, the DRP could become an invaluable tool to assist planning for efficient, sustainable development across the metro area. It could help service agencies plan for headwork infrastructure alignments and programs, environmental agencies understand cumulative environmental impacts and planning agencies understand aggregated impacts of environmental and infrastructure constraints when determining how and where we want people to live.”

Zane Christmas, Acting Executive Manager, Asset Operations at Western Power agrees that the DRP is a positive initiative.

“Robust data collection and assessment in any type of industry is critical as it allows future planning for all key stakeholders and flow-on benefits to the wider economy,” Mr Christmas said.

“Western Power has proudly partnered with UDIA over a number of years. As an influential voice in the property development sector with a commitment to achieving best practice, we’re confident UDIA is best placed to drive this project.

“Collaboration is key and Western Power is working with Government, local government, industry, associations, traditional owners and community associations to deliver the best energy outcomes for all customers and stakeholders,” Mr Christmas said.

Jarrod Rendell, Principal at Acumen Development Solutions also says that the DRP is crucial research in establishing an industry-sourced foundation for the strategic decision making and forecasting that is needed to ensure continuity of housing supply in Western Australia.

“The DRP will provide the ability for UDIA and it’s development members to work strategically alongside key Government authorities and stakeholders to have informed discussions on the critical infrastructure and approvals needed to maintain a balanced and diversified supply of new housing,” Mr Rendell said.

jarrod rendell principal acumen development solutions
Jarrod Rendell.

“Most development businesses like ours already know the constraints and critical infrastructure needed to unlock the housing potential in our future projects and landholdings.

“Being able to collectively share and analyse that information through an aggregated research platform like DRP, provides a real tested assessment of the issues impacting land supply and land release. This is not always just about environmental or planning approvals, or service infrastructure extensions, it can also be the commercial intent of the landowners for development timing that has a material impact on housing supply in key areas.

“Having Government and agency understanding of those constraints, challenges and realities is the real power of something like the DRP and the information it can collate and deliver across the industry,” Mr Rendell said.

Now that preliminary findings have been established, over the coming months UDIA will be doing further data interrogation and undertake workshops in all major corridors to test our findings rigorously before producing a final report.


This story was originally published in The Urbanist magazine, an official publication of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA). It has been edited for republication by The Property Tribune. 

The Property Tribune thanks the UDIA WA for the opportunity to republish the work, and share thought leadership in relation to urban development and community creation with our readers.

Read the original copy of The Urbanist by heading to UDIA WA’s website under the News tab.

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