The announcement last week by the WA State Government that it’s investing in 1,000 new and affordable rental homes is definitely a step in the right direction for a housing sector that’s under pressure on several fronts.
The varying housing issues and trends in Perth are well-documented: high property prices, fluctuating rental demand and vacancy rates, plus local residential construction rates struggling to keep up with the demands of a growing population, particularly the need for more affordable housing.
And the commentary – I’m raising my hand here – has been consistent in calling for more land to be made available for residential property development, and highlighting the need for new ideas to address a long-term challenge that shows no sign of easing.
So it’s refreshing to see that governments – at both at State and National level – have agreed to join forces with the real estate industry in an initiative that is helping to address the issue of Perth’s housing shortfall, particularly at the more affordable end of the spectrum.
The National Affordable Rentals Scheme has seen the property sector proactively collaborate with both the State and Federal Governments to develop affordable rental options. Known as NARS, this initiative is helping people who may otherwise struggle with the rising cost of living expenses by delivering subsidies to their weekly rent.
It’s an excellent scheme and one that has been welcomed by thousands of people who are now living in quality homes at below-market costs. They’re able to enjoy living conditions and security that may not have been afforded to them without such cooperation.
I’m very proud that Realmark has been involved in NARS through our new complex in Cockburn Central. These brand new one- and two-bedroom apartments come with all the modern touches, yet they’re available for significantly less than regular homes.
NARS isn’t just making a difference; it demonstrates what can be achieved when government works side-by-side with industry to find a solution. This collaboration is increasingly important at a time of market imbalance and it shows that people’s concerns are being heard.
The 1,000 new NARS properties will be a welcome addition to a market that’s under pressure. However, to ensure this doesn’t end up being written off as a PR stunt, it needs to be followed up by government with further proactive legislation and policy to free up land for residential development and stimulate the Perth market.