The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has elected Joe White as its new President, after serving two years as Deputy President.
He takes over from outgoing President Damian Collins who recently finished his four-year term.
Mr White said he was humbled to be appointed to the role after seeing the calibre of real estate professionals across the state.
“It’s quite humbling to be elected when you’re not from around here,” Mr White said.
“You look around the room and at the end of the day, I’m a country agent, but I’ve always had a very strong academic interest in housing affordability and supply.”
The Principal and Licensee of JMW Real Estate in Dunsborough, Mr White said the focus of his term would be to address the current housing crisis that WA and the rest of Australia is currently facing.
“The biggest issue domestically in Australia at the moment is housing,” he said.
“As far as our ability to affect all policies including total housing and diversity of housing, that’s got to be our singular focus.
“At the end of the day, we have to build a unity of principles around an appropriate roof over every Australian.
“The purpose is then how do we do it and the policy is then let’s get the little things together so it can be achieved.”
Mr White said it’s clear that the current crisis is putting the most pressure on those who simply can’t afford the high cost of housing.
“We have a big problem with those there were on the margins and are now under the margins and now don’t have anywhere to live,” he said.
“And that’s not acceptable.
“The only way we’re going to address that is with housing supply and the better we can shape policy to make sure that happens and it happens quickly.”
Social housing is also a big issue becuase there are so many people facing financial hardship, Mr White said.
“Once they’re homeless, their health and their education fall away and they fall off a cliff,” he said.
“That’s not acceptable and you’re creating generational poverty with that.”
Mr White said his singular focus needs to be on housing supply.
“Whether a home is owned or rented, it’s all impacting the supply,” he said.
“The more houses there are the more there are to go around.”
According to Mr White, the best way to tackle the problem is by bringing all the parties together and getting focused on what needs to be done.
“You can’t discuss housing supply without discussing labour mobility, stamp duties, planning policies and urban planning,” he said.
“Because everyone’s become so specialised, there’s less recognition of the interrelatedness of all those issues.
“And somehow, we’re going to have to get all those parties around a table and formulate a plan, so we can deliver on it and not just put more layers of bureaucracy in the way.
“With the crisis on our hands, there’s at least a need now to achieve.”
A real estate agent for over three decades, Mr White hopes to use his knowledge of country WA to help give a voice to the regions.
“I’m there to represent everywhere, but I certainly do have an interest in the regions as that’s where the money is actually generated.
“Whether it be agriculture or mining, the bottom line is that’s where the money starts and it gets distributed through the rest of the system.
“Given that we’re such an urban population now, I think there needs to be recognition that the whole thing starts in the regions.”
REIWA CEO Cath Hart said Mr White will bring a wealth of experience to the role.
“With a gamut of skills under his belt including 31 years in the real estate industry, experience as a member on numerous boards, Mr White brings a wealth of knowledge to REIWA,” Ms Hart said
“His knowledge of regional Western Australia, having lived and worked in Dunsborough for three decades, as well as his commitment to the housing supply and affordability framework will be a great asset to the Institute.”
Suzanne Brown was also appointed Deputy President.