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Perth tenants should brace themselves as rising house prices, improving economic conditions and more newcomers to the state combine to force up rents this year, a leading property researcher says.

The latest rental report by Australian Property Monitors shows asking rents in Perth have increased in the first three months of the year.

The median weekly asking rent for houses in the metropolitan area is now $370, a $10 increase on the previous quarter and the first rise in more than a year, while units increased $8, to $358.

But with rising house prices, increased rents have not led to increased yields. The gross yield for houses is now 4.06 per cent, while units are yielding 4.62 per cent.

That leaves Perth ahead of only Melbourne among all state capitals.

APM economist Matthew Bell said he expected Perth rentals to increase a further $10 a quarter for the rest of the year, with a strong resources sector and population growth the driving factors.

But this was unlikely to be fast enough to maintain yields, which would drop slightly as house prices rose further. The median Perth house price is believed to have passed $500,000.

Really, the outlook for both rents and house prices is pretty strong,” he said.

“Yields will probably soften again, but historically they are at pretty good levels.”

Houses were usually bought by investors for capital growth, with units offering better yields, Mr Bell said.

Meanwhile, the Urban Development Institute of Australia said its own research showed a six-month delay in planning approval could add 7 per cent to the price of an average block in the metropolitan area.

UDIA WA chief executive Debra Goostrey said developers were doing what they could to ensure “affordable” land was being made available during a time of increasing prices.

“We also need the support of a fast and efficient planning approvals process to avoid costs associated with delays,” she said.

Her comments follow those last week by property researcher Terry Ryder, who said claims of housing shortages were a beat-up by property industry lobby groups.

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Business has warned that West Australians could be priced out of the resources boom and interest rates pushed even higher if the Federal Opposition follows through with a promise to slash the number of immigrants.

WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist John Nicolaou said the flagged cut would mean the abandonment of major developments by companies unable to find the workers they need to exploit the State’s natural resources.

He was backed by Trade Minister Simon Crean who said cutting immigration now would devastate economies like that of WA and Queensland which were crying out for workers.

The Opposition has signalled cutting the net immigration intake which, when temporary workers and students are taken into account, edged down to 297,000 in the three months to the end of September.

Shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison said forecasts of Australia’s population reaching 36 million by 2050 proved immigration under the Rudd Government was “out of control”.

He said a coalition government would bring immigration levels back to a “sustainable level”.

But Mr Nicolaou said with WA needing 400,000 people over the coming decade to deal with the resources boom, cutting immigration levels could prove economically disastrous to the State.

He said major resource companies would go overseas if they could not get the labour they needed in Australia.

Those that did continue work in WA would have to pay higher wages for their staff, which would then push up costs for the rest of the community.

“I think it’s very short-sighted if they’re looking at cutting immigration, because it’s going to push up costs for everyone through wages going up,” he said.

“We lost investment in the last boom because there were insufficient workers, and we run the risk of doing that again.”

Professor Peter Mc Donald of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute also warned that trying to cap immigration levels would have major economic ramifications for people already living in Australia. The Reserve Bank was already lifting interest rates to dampen demand.

“You’re just going to push up wages pressures and that will feed into higher interest rates,” he said.

Mr Crean said the resource States would be disadvantaged if the number of workers was artificially restricted.

“Mining companies generally are saying one of the biggest challenges they face … is the availability of skilled labour,” he said. “People calling for cuts to immigration programs ought to understand how the economy is functioning.” 

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says WA needs more migrants amid claims hundreds of thousands of extra workers are necessary over the next decade to thwart a labour crisis.

Speaking at a Perth business breakfast hosted by _The West Australian _and Murdoch University, Ms Gillard said both interstate and international migration was needed to help fill future job vacancies.

It comes as employer groups warn labour shortages are set to hit within months.

Ms Gillard said WA also needed to better utilise its youth market, which was suffering a 10 per cent unemployment rate.

She blamed the labour problem partly on the booming resources sector which was drawing workers, infrastructure and services away from rest of the economy.

“That’s why we need to properly analyse and assess all claims about the West’s needs in the decade or so ahead, including claims about the need to attract hundreds of thousands of new workers,” she said.

“There’s no doubt more interstate and overseas migrants will be needed, but we need to look also at how we can achieve better results with the assets that are already available and underused.

“With a youth unemployment rate of almost 10 per cent, there is more work to be done to create the pathways that will give these kids a future.”

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry said labour shortages would hit in the second half of this year, with WA needing an extra 400,000 workers in the decade from 2007. Based on current population trends, there would be 150,000 shortfall.

CCI supports strong migration to alleviate the skills shortage, which threatened to curb WA’s economic growth during the last boom.

The WA Group Training Scheme, which last year sacked some apprentices because of reduced work, said there had been a quick economic turnaround and expectations of boom-level demand this year.

Ms Gillard said an expanded training initiative announced yesterday, creating 11,000 advanced level training places nationally, would help address some of the skills shortage.

Ms Gillard, who heads to the Pilbara today to inspect the $43 billion Gorgon project, warned unions not to engage in unlawful industrial action, singling out the construction union’s Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald. “We have got no tolerance for people who seek to break the rules and I am well aware there is a concern in this State over the propensity of some individuals to believe they are beyond the law,” she said.

Mr Reynolds said he was not surprised at being singled out by Ms Gillard over unlawful industrial action, claiming the pair had an adverse relationship. He said migration should be a back-up with the focus on training. 

Ms Gillard said an expanded training initiative announced yesterday, creating 11,000 advanced level training places nationally, would help address some of the skills shortage.

Ms Gillard, who heads to the Pilbara today to inspect the $43 billion Gorgon project, warned unions not to engage in unlawful industrial action, singling out the construction union’s Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald. “We have got no tolerance for people who seek to break the rules and I am well aware there is a concern in this State over the propensity of some individuals to believe they are beyond the law,” she said.

Mr Reynolds said he was not surprised at being singled out by Ms Gillard over unlawful industrial action, claiming the pair had an adverse relationship. He said migration should be a back-up with the focus on training.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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A vibrant foreshore entertainment district, an indigenous cultural centre, cheap inner-city housing for students, voting at 16 and gay marriage are some ideas for improving Perth that Australia’s 2008 youth ambassador to the United Nations will take to today’s C2030 Summit.
 
One of many speakers at the summit, Elizabeth Shaw, 25, said a bold plan to bring the river to the city should be at the top of the State Government’s to-do list. perth city development 
 
Ms Shaw, of Claremont, is on the City of Perth youth advisory council.
 
She said it was time Perth realised its potential. “We need to stop talking about things like connecting the city to the river and just do them,” she said.
 
“When you’ve got a space like the foreshore, you’ve got to be bold and innovative and take risks.”
 
Ms Shaw’s vision for the foreshore included a variety of housing for all social economic backgrounds, a range of restaurants, live music, wine bars, a rowdy pub, an art gallery, a public space for weekend markets and an indigenous cultural centre.

Diversifying usage on each city block to achieve a balance of retail, housing, business and industry combined with deregulated trading hours would keep the city activated and vibrant at all times.
 
Ms Shaw said attracting and retaining skilled local and international students could be improved by building high-density housing in the city and making it an exciting place to be.
 
“We need a big resident population to create flow-on services,” she said. 

JOSEPH CATANZARO  :   www.thewest.com.au

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Butler is said to be the biggest construction site outside the mining sector.

The Brighton estate is more than halfway complete, now offering more vacant lots for a total of $8.4 million. The largest block for sale is almost 16,000sqm in Captiva Approach, near Lukin Drive which is $3.25 million. Property developer Nigel Satterley said this block would be zoned mixed business allowing for multi-purpose use.  Another site overlooking the park in Brampton Avenue which is 6664sqm mixed used lot at $2.1 million.

Mr Satterley said the North-West-Metropolitan sector is the third fastest growing area in Australia for housing.  In the Brighton Estate there will be 6300 residential lots and eventually a population of 28,000 people.  It is the biggest project ever to be lodged under the WA Planning Commission’s Liveable Neighbourhood community design codes.  The plan includes 55 parks, artificial lakes, shopping village and community facilities.                                                                                                                     

The other lots up for offer are : brighton%20crop

  • 5335sqm on Chipping Crescent, zoned business $1.1 million.
  • 3553sqm on Kingsbridge Blvd mix of commercial and residential use classed as centre zone $790,000.
  •  More information call 9562 0422 or 0418 953 659

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The coast of Western Australia is getting busy: the whale watching season is underway and early sightings suggest that not only has the season started early, but there are more whales than there’ve been in decades. Commercial whaling in Western Australia finished up in 1963 with just 500 humpback whales left in the waters, but estimates now put the number of whales that will swim the 8,000 miles from Antarctica to the north of the state at around 17,000. Good work, whales!

Whale watching trips run all up and down the coast and from the capital Perth, too – grab a two-hour trip from Hillarys Boat Harbour for A$62 (Whales_in_Western_Australia$50), or head south to Albany for three-hour cruises that let you come on board again in the unlikely event of no whales showing up.

The only thing that seems to be growing faster than the whale population is the population of whale-watchers. Tourism peeps in West Oz say tourist numbers are growing by 15% every year so you need to hurry to avoid the crowds.

Source  :   www.jaunted.com

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Finally after a decade of trying to get plans to develop on the banks of the Moore River, they have been given the go ahead to build 2000 newmoore river homes. 

Planning Minister John Day told parliament Cabinet had approved a smaller development that is allowing a population of up to 6000 people.

Original plans have been cut by 60 per cent which would have allowed a population of around 15000 people.

Marcus Plunkett the developer has said ” this will ensure that the shire of Gingin will have a major residential and tourism development which will bring much needed infrastructure to the area.”

This development will still need to put forward plans for approval, a revised plan is expected to be released for public comment.

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