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How Perth’s Evolving Skyline Is Changing The Way We Live

Over the past few years, Perth’s skyline has been transformed, especially by residential projects.

Over the coming years, as more projects are completed, it will have a profound impact on our local property market.

We explore how high rise living is transforming the rental market, and what it means for Perth’s residents, tenants and investors.

The residential projects shaping our skyline

Perth’s skyline today looks very little like it did just a decade ago, with new – and significantly higher buildings dominating the skyline. But unlike earlier waves of high-rise development, which tended to consist largely of office buildings, many of the new towers dotting our skyline are residential. And that’s a pattern we expect to see continue over the next decade or more, as the future of Perth’s CBD becomes more residential.

Here are some of the more notable projects that have recently transformed or are transforming Perth’s skyline.

1. Perth Hub and Dorsett Hotel (to be completed mid-2024) Far East Consortium has been developing a site that includes a 270-room 4-star Dorsett Hotel and a 300-apartment tower that will be 32 storeys high.

This development is part of a broader plan to connect the CBD with Northbridge and bring new vitality to the city centre, including residential, retail, and commercial spaces​.

2. The Grove Residences (to be completed early 2024): Developer Blackburne has almost completed the $300-million project for 245 apartments at the site of the old Sundowner Hostel aged care facility in Claremont. This development is notable for its emphasis on open space and public parks, reflecting a shift in urban living preferences​.

3. 97-105 Stirling Highway: Costa Property Group and Grange Development Consulting have plans for a $320-million apartment project in Nedlands. This project, featuring 231 dwellings in three towers, is part of the new Nedlands Town Centre development​.

4. Murdoch Health and Knowledge Precinct: Part of a strategy to manage population growth in Perth, this development will serve as a new city center in the Southern Corridor. It includes plans for 1,200 dwellings, 45,000 sq m of health, retail, and commercial space, and is expected to provide jobs for 35,000 Western Australians​.

5. Elizabeth Quay: This part of Perth will continue to be transformed, with construction underway on los 3 and Brookfield Property Partners recently receiving approval for a $1.1 billion mixed-use twin-tower project on lots 5 and 6, including 220 luxury apartments​.

6. 101 Hay Street: Finbar Group and Ventrade Australia are planning a $200-million mixed-use development, which includes two residential towers and a heritage component adapted as a microbrewery​.

7. World’s Tallest Timber Tower: This 50-storey hybrid timber tower, known as C6, is set to be the tallest timber building in the world. Located in South Perth, the tower will comprise 245 apartments and aims to be a carbon-negative building.

Who buys into project developments?

Traditionally, a disproportionate number of buyers in new projects tend to be investors – and for good reason. New properties often come with additional tax concessions in the form of depreciation. The fact that many are sold ‘off the plan’, also provides the potential for buyers to already have made a capital gain by the time they settle on the property (although it also brings in the potential for a capital loss).

Generally, a lot of investors like apartments close to the city because the rental properties tend to be in high demand with young professionals, students and others. Some choose to furnish their apartments to specifically appeal to the ‘executive rental’ market. Alternatively, an increasing number of investors are choosing to put their apartments on the short-term rental market too.

But it’s not just investors who buy into new developments. Increasingly, we’re seeing people choose to live closer to the city centre in apartments rather than in the suburbs. This includes families, professionals and especially downsizers.

Other cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne have undergone a real gentrification and transformation of the city centre, with the residential population of the CBD swelling. We believe Perth is about to undergo the same phenomenon in a major way – and that the future of the Perth CBD will be residential.

What does it mean for the rental market?

As central Perth undergoes this rejuvenation a growing number of people will choose to live in – or close – to the city centre. And this should be great news for investors, as well as for tenants.

For investors, it will provide a new opportunity to capitalise on Perth’s growing cosmopolitanism. We’re forecast to grow at a rapid rate over the next few years, and many of the people coming to Perth will want to live life close to the heart of the city, especially those arriving from overseas.

We’ll also be seeing an increasing number of new businesses and other amenities taking shape in the centre of town, including the Edith Cowan campus which will accommodate 9,200 students and staff each day.

For tenants, new projects go some small way to easing the rental crisis, by adding to our housing stock. However, we’d argue that much more needs to be done still, especially close to the CBD.

What does it mean for the future of Perth property?

As the city centre becomes more residential, Perth can take both lessons and warnings from cities a little further ahead in the trend – such as Sydney and Melbourne. Both have already shown how to do high rise living well, as well as how to do it badly.

One of the most important things is planning – it’s vital that we allow enough green space and outdoor areas for inner city residents to relax in. It’s also important that we integrate our public transport system and residential planning. After all, the last thing we want is for the city to be overrun by traffic, and one of the real benefits of inner city living should be that it can take away from the need to drive so much.

Finally, it’s vital that we preserve our inner city heritage. Some of the best developments in other cities incorporate the facade of a longstanding building into the dynamism of a contemporary residential tower.

How to choose the right inner Perth property

If you’re looking to buy an investment property in one of the projects reshaping Perth’s skyline, here are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • Who’s building the property? Perhaps nothing matters more when you’re buying into a new project than the developer and builder. You need to make sure they have a good reputation and a strong track record of past developments. After all, the biggest risk – especially if you’re buying off the plan – is that the building won’t be completed on time, or that you’ll face defects which will devalue the property.
  • Where is it located? Make sure the property is close to public transport and amenities, and that proper planning, such as public spaces, has been undertaken.
  • What amenities are in the development? One of the real appeals of living in a new development is that it can offer a ‘resort’ lifestyle, with swimming pools, gyms, communal outdoor entertainment areas and more. Many tenants are likely to be attracted to these features. The flipside, however, is that they can add to the cost of your strata fees.
  • How long will it take? A final factor to consider is how long it will be before construction is finished. It’s only then that you’ll start collecting rent.

Want more?

Are you looking to invest in Perth real estate, rent out your Perth property or find your next Perth rental home? We can help. Get in touch with our specialist Perth rental team today.

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