It may very well be the end of an era for Perth. The city famously dubbed as ‘Dullsville’ is set to undergo some radical transformations which could finally put an end to this unflattering tag.
In what is likely to be the biggest ever change seen in Perth’s short 183 year history, the CBD and surrounding areas are set to be overhauled in a radical move to breathe new life into the city. Fast forward ten years, perhaps even just five, and we’ll be seeing a very different side to Perth.
In this futuristic vision of central Perth with the unsightly railway line now sunk, you’ll be able to easily walk from the CBD through serene gardens to the culinary delights of Northbridge, or even catch a public concert in the newly built City Square along the way. New waterways will be carved into the bank along Riverside Drive creating an inlet and man-made island. Here in this riverside haven, you can take a morning stroll along the promenade beside the water’s edge followed by breakfast or lunch in one of the many waterside bars and restaurants. Or, you could head to Kings Park with a picnic before catching a cable car down to the inlet, hiring a bike, and setting off to explore the new city sights on wheels. Further along towards East Perth, you’ll now be able to dock your boat at a mooring by the Causeway and indulge in a little retail therapy while the kids take a dip at the newly built public beach on the foreshore.
All these projects will result in more than 60 hectares of land being developed, more than $10 billion dollars spent on infrastructure and development, more than 500,000sqm of commercial and retail space being created, and the addition of approximately 7000 new dwellings (mostly apartments) into the area.
Whether you agree with the specific plans for these projects or not, it’s hard to dispute that this rejuvenation is exactly what a growing, cosmopolitan city like Perth needs. For some time, Perth has lagged behind other more progressive cities both in Australia and around the world with a city hub that is grossly underutilised and lacking amenity and vibrancy. It’s been a poor reflection on what otherwise one of the most beautiful is and liveable cities in the world.
Importantly, these projects also help address some key economic issues. For many years the city has struggled to supply enough office and commercial space to the market, with Perth having the most expensive office rents in the nation and a chronic shortage of short-term accommodation (just 200 beds have been added to the CBD in the past 5 years). Perth is also growing faster than any other city in Australia and is projected to have the highest percentage growth in population over the next 15 and 45 years.
With land becoming scarcer, Perth will need more multi-residential developments and urban infill to cater to the larger population and these new, smaller households. In an era of growing concern on environmental impacts, the redevelopment of the city centre will also help create a more transit-orientated and sustainable local community that contributes a smaller carbon footprint.
All of this is good news for Perth investors. This ‘new look’ Perth will attract more tourists and their dollars, more jobs and more new residents needing homes, increased consumer spending by locals and increased expenditure and investment by businesses. The projects will help Perth move forward in leaps and bounds by resolving rather than hindering economic problem areas. Along with the strength of WA’s resources sector, Perth should therefore experience significant growth and prosperity over coming years which is necessary to support a rising property market.
Demand for properties in and nearby the Perth CBD will be likely to increase the most as a result of these transformative projects, however Perth overall will probably feel the ripple effects to varying degrees. While apartments have traditionally not been as popular as in the eastern states, that trend is probably set to change. I would however stress caution upon investing in one of the 7000 odd apartments due for construction in these areas. Although demand may increase, supply is also likely to be high which doesn’t make for particularly strong capital growth. The apartment would need to have a key point of difference that would be difficult to replicate to be considered a wise investment in my books.
The future of Perth is certainly looking bright and I’m pleased to see that the prosperity Perth has experienced over the recent decade is starting to filter through to projects such as these, which enhance the city and the economy. It’s just another reason why you’ll be hard pressed to find a better city to invest in over the next 10 years.