The Challenges of Density and Residential Development

The Property Council had a conference in Perth today on Multi-Unit Residential Development which I was invited to speak at.

One of the interesting statistics is that in Perth there are three new houses been built for every one new apartment. In comparison in Sydney they are building two new apartments for every one new house. The impacts on suburban sprawl are obvious.

A key message was that historically Perth has either built cheap apartments that were often cheap social housing (ie Johnstone Crt) or really expensive apartments for millionaires (ie Leighton apartments) but little in between for people on average incomes. But this is starting to change now as demands for apartments grow across Perth.

Also changing is an increased focus on more sustainable design through water and energy efficiency. Councils like Fremantle that have offered extra height incentives for more energy efficient buildings were congratulated.

I was on a panel that looked local government and property development. It was a good diverse section with the pro-development Belmont CEO debating with the often anti-development Nedlands mayor. Fremantle felt like we were in the middle – pro-development as long it was higher quality, diverse and green and included affordability. The CEO Belmont had a nice phrase which I agreed with that “local government needs to be a facilitator not just a regulator of development”


About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

2 Responses to The Challenges of Density and Residential Development

  1. dianaryan says:


    Is there a development approved at the moment, in Fremantle, which ticks all four boxes of “higher quality, diverse and green and included affordability” and what is the name or location of that development?

    Critically, can you explain the nature of the affordability of what is provided? I notice you have separated up “diverse” from “affordability”, in your description of what you seek to facilitate, which is important as the merging of the two to describe housing can blur somewhat who may be able to afford to purchase it.

    But in this case it has been separated out, so in the development which I hope you can specifically nominate as hitting all four of these tick boxes, how do you arrive at the belief the accommodation to be provided is “affordable”?

    Is there a specific aspect to it, which you feel thus defines it as affordable?

    I am starting to see a lot more 1 bedroom units offered around Perth, for example – still small in numbers per development, and they are listed, as a result, as cheaper in price. Is that where the current state of affordability in new units being built in Fremantle currently lies – in a number of one bedroom units on offer?

    • Not a lot of new mediium density residential been built yet but there are some that tick most boxes. Stage 1 of FOrt Know was 58 apartments using the shared equity model of affordable housing. 11 Queen Victoria is diverse apartments with some good sustainability features. More to come. Gen Y house and not finalised yet but cnr Packenham/Bannister is looking like it will tick all boxes.
      I’ll do a fuller post of affordability down the track

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