Activity centres offer investment growth potential

Perth is a growing city and despite the recent economic downturn the population is still predicted to reach 3.5 million people by the year 2050.

Over the years, the Perth Metropolitan Area has spread significantly outward as lower density suburbs emerged in a fairly linear pattern from north to south. In fact, some of the new fringe suburbs are close to 50 kilometres from the CBD.

In an effort to curb this urban sprawl, the state government has introduced plans to increase density in established areas under their Perth and Peel @ 3.5 Million Plan.

There is also continued progress in fostering activity and employment centres in a range of areas so that people can live closer to their place of employment as well as other amenities and services. This takes pressure off the CBD and with the support of an efficient public transport system, could reduce commute times.

State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centres for Perth and Peel (SPP 4.2) describes these centres as community focal points that can include commercial, retail, higher density housing, entertainment, tourism, civic/community, higher education and medical services.

Late last year, the state government made announcements that focused on boosting two locations that are named as strategic metropolitan centres under SPP 4.2 – Midland and Fremantle.

Firstly, the City of Fremantle was in the spotlight as the Premier announced that approximately 1,500 Housing Authority, Corrective Services and Environmental Protection Authority workers would be based in the port city from 2020.

This move is part of a commitment to ‘urban office precincts’ in the hope of providing economic benefits to the local area through more people coming to the city and hopefully spending time and money.

The government has made a similar commitment in the City of Joondalup where 800 more public servants will be located as of 2019.
The commitment to more workers in these areas has occurred as more public and private sector medium and high density residential projects have emerged in surrounding locations.

A significant announcement was also made in Midland on the 21 November following a state cabinet meeting in the local council chambers. Over $67M worth of announcements aimed at boosting the local economy and better servicing residents were made including a joint venture between the Housing Authority and private developer Psaros that will deliver a 79-unit affordable housing development at the Workshops Precinct located close to the Midland train station.

Secondly, St John of God Murdoch has purchased a 3-hectare parcel of land at the same precinct for a new private hospital.

Furthermore, the government has signed an agreement with Curtin University to provide the educational institution with $22 million and land in the Workshops for a new campus.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher said the government aimed to reposition the Workshops precinct as a medical and education hub. It is hoped that these new projects will further boost Midland as a strategic centre that local and surrounding residents use to access services as well as create employment.

These two recent examples are representative of how the development of Perth is not just focused on the CBD but also the revitalisation and enhancement of other centres.

If you are considering how the emergence of more activity centres might benefit property values, it would be prudent to investigate where these centres are located and what is planned for them moving forward.

SPP 4.2 outlines ten Strategic Metropolitan Centres including Yanchep, Joondalup, Stirling, Morley, Midland, Fremantle, Cannington, Armadale, Rockingham and Mandurah.

These are followed by 19 secondary centres, some of which are already established including Booragoon, Claremont and Subiaco. While others are new or in the process of establishment, including Alkimos, Two Rocks North and Cockburn.

There are also five Specialised Centres including major university/ health campuses and Perth and Jandakot airports.

These locations are all set for significant growth in the coming years as more mixed use development occurs with a range of densities and housing types, providing potential investment opportunities.