Future of Housing – Low Energy Homes

Solar Dwellings.Floreat.2018(Image: Solar Dwellings. FLOREAT. 2018)

Over 9 million homes exist in Australia and are responsible for 23 per cent of electricity use and around 11 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of these were built prior to national minimum energy efficiency regulations introduced in 2003 which means they cost more to run, are less health (natural light and ventilation), less thermally comfortable and emit higher emissions than those newly constructed (approx. 200,000 new dwellings per year).

Nationally consistent policy options are being considered as part of the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings to help reduce the emissions profile of existing homes in Australia making them zero energy (and carbon) ‘ready’.

“Zero energy (and carbon) homes have an energy efficient thermal shell, high efficiency major fixed appliances and are at least ‘ready’ to achieve zero net energy usage annually by combining renewable or decarbonized energy systems (on or off-site).”

Solar Dwellings. GNARABUP. 2012(Image: Solar Dwellings. GNARABUP. 2012)

But getting the design right always comes first. Griff Morris who leads multi-award-winning building design firm Solar Dwellings in Perth has worked with home-owners and builders to optimise design and liveability outcomes for almost three decades. The sustainable homes designed by Solar Dwellings are accessible for all budgets, from first homes builders through to luxury appointed.

Griff also knows how important solar passive design is to long-term affordability and comfort of occupants.

“This awareness in the value of good passive solar design has grown over recent years as people seek to inform themselves.”

Understanding the design principles of good passive solar design is generally misunderstood by the building industry as well as the general public. In following the principles of passive solar design, it is unusual that a home would require heating or cooling for more than 8 – 10 days of the year.

“Essentially, people can cut their energy running costs by up to 70 – 80%”, Griff says.

However, more can be done to better inform consumers (buyers, sellers and renters) so they understand how to make better real estate choices now.

It seems there is overwhelming support for a national voluntary disclosure system that would measure, benchmark and communicate information on the energy performance of existing homes, especially at the time of sale or lease.

Research conducted by the CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and Common Capital on behalf of the EnergyFit Homes initiative, showed that 92 per cent of housing consumers want energy efficiency details revealed in building inspection reports; 82 per cent at open inspection; and 72 per cent in property advertising, with half of home buyers and renters willing to pay for this information.

As the cost of living increases (rising power bills etc), an exciting new opportunity is opening up in today’s real estate market for healthy, efficient, comfortable homes that are more affordable to live in and are connected to community.

The Liveability Real Estate Framework was developed from within the property marketing industry and is now owned and supported by CSIRO.

“Liveability is all about finding or creating your best home – one where you and family can thrive”.

The award-winning Liveability Real Estate Specialist Training program up-skills existing sales agents and property managers to identify, appraise and list an additional 17 Liveability Features.

 Solar Dwellings. BEDFORD. 2018(Image: Solar Dwellings. BEDFORD. 2018)

These new Liveability Features (The 17 Things) offer the potential for increased comfort and reduced running cost if used correctly by the occupant. They cover location, floor plan and layout, key building structure elements, important energy and water efficiency devices and energy ratings.

This new specialisation in residential real estate for sales people and property managers is relevant for new and existing homes. Graduates are widely considered to be the next generation of real estate agents as they are able to provide real knowledge and understanding of these new Liveability Features to buyers and renters as part of a richer customer experience.

To learn more and how to promote these features in your next home contact  Chiara directly.  0419 953 079 | chiara@communitywestre.com.au


Chiara Pacifici has spent over two decades in residential real estate and property development. Chiara has an extensive background in sustainable design and construction working with developers, training fellow agents, advocated government for legislative policy change and leading customer research. She is the Licensee, and Director at Community West Real Estate. As a Liveability Real Estate Specialist Chiara has been trained to identify, appraise and sell an additional 17 Liveability Features, knowing how to recognise them and why they are important for occupants and re-sale value.

CWRE Perspective – State of the WA Market.

First Home Buyers Make a Come Back

The latest QBE Australian Housing Outlook Report (released last week) forecasts improved property values for Perth by 2022.

‘First home buyers, accounting for almost 20 per cent of mortgage lending, are continuing to lead the charge to buy residential property as more onerous conditions forced many potential investors out.’

Nationally, the confidence in the 1st Home Buyer market seems to have returned judging from figures release by ABS. The number of loans to first home buyers grew in July, rising 15 per cent on the month prior with almost 30 per cent of them making up all owner-occupier commitments. This lift was supported by a 20 per cent lift in the value of loans to first homebuyers.

According to the ABS, National figures show a total of 48,662 home loans were approved to owner-occupiers throughout the month of July[1].

How WA Compares With the Top Performing States

Perth Market – ‘Predictions’

The Perth residential markets are forecast to turn by 2021/22, with improvements in property prices to emerge as dwelling oversupplies are absorbed and the improved affordability provides a trigger for price growth as economic conditions begin to strengthen[2].


Historic Snapshot: (Source: The QBE Australian Housing Outlook 2019–2022)

Medium house price: 3% decline in the median house price 2018/19, representing the fifth successive year of house price falls – totalled 13% between June 2014 and June 2019. Rents: Down by 22% (June 2019) from their June 2014 peak.


After a marginal decline in 2019/20, house price growth is forecast to emerge from 2020/21 as the excess dwelling stock is reduced and positive impetus returns to price growth. By June 2022, the median house price is expected to reach $550,000 (6% higher than June 2019 levels).


Historic Snapshot: (Source: The QBE Australian Housing Outlook 2019–2022)

Median unit price: fall of 9% in 2018/19 experiencing a total 20% decline since peaking in December 2014.


After a marginal decline in 2019/20, a limited rise is forecast for 2020/21 before unit price growth picks up to take the median unit price to $380,000 by June 2022, or a 5% increase on June 2019 levels.

Reasons for Predicted Improvement

It seems that dwelling values across Australia have found a floor, consecutive rate cuts from the Reserve Bank have pushed home loan interest rates to all-time lows, and the lowering of mortgage serviceability rates has increased the borrowing capacity for some borrowers, having a positive flow-on effect.

In WA, rises in commodity prices are encouraging mining investment, which should improve employment growth.

WA’s population is predicted to slowly increase 0.7 to 1.7 per cent per year and rise up to 2.9 million in 2027, depending on interstate migration. These figures are based on various estimates for assumed levels of births, deaths and migration.

By 2066, WA could have 4.5 to 5 million people with the Greater Perth region housing 81 per cent [3].


Medium House Prices by Capital City: a longitudinal snapshot


[1] ABS (5601) – Lending to households and businesses, Australia, Jul 2019 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/5601.0Main%20Features2Jul%202019?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=5601.0&issue=Jul%202019&num=&view=

[2] The QBE Australian Housing Outlook 2019–2022 https://www.qbe.com/lmi/news/reports/housing-outlook

[3] This latest Population Projection of estimates are lower than previous predictions in 2013 as we were at the tail end of the mining boom. https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3222.0Main%20Features112012%20(base)%20to%202101?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3222.0&issue=2012%20(base)%20to%202101&num=&view=

Homes on the Rise – the future of strata

New Strata Laws to Benefit All

Late last year the ABS released Population Projections for Western Australia – 2017 to 2066[1]. In it, various estimates based on assumed levels of births, deaths and migration would see WA’s population slowly increase 0.7 to 1.7 per cent per year and rise up to 2.9 million in 2027, depending on interstate migration.

By 2066, WA could have 4.5 to 5 million people with the Greater Perth region housing 81 per cent [2].

This rise in our urban population would, without doubt, feed our need to meet infill housing targets still estimated at 47 per cent (or 380,000 homes)[3]. The majority of which will be medium density housing (strata / survey-strata).

While the government is focused on developing housing opportunities along major public transport routes through Metronet[4], the long term viability and resilience of our strata buildings will be just as important as their location, connection to transport, building design and construction quality.

The timely and much needed new Strata Title Amendment Bill 2018 helps to make strata better, address problems that have risen in strata, introduce a new form of land ownership (leasehold strata title schemes) and modernise the language and structure of the Act[5].

By November 2019,  Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 – Management  with provisions governing the Amendment Bill will finalise the 10 main improvements to our Strata Laws.

These include the following (as provided by the Bill):

  1. Strata managers will be regulated and made more accountable. Statutory duties will be imposed on strata managers to make them more accountable and to encourage higher standards of professional service to be delivered to strata companies
  2. Owners will have more of a say in the running of their scheme. Owners will have more of a say in how their scheme is managed by allowing voting to occur outside of a meeting, permitting electronic voting, and expressly allowing strata companies to keep records and send notices electronically. Restrictions will be imposed on the use of proxies. Owners will have a forum to review by-laws and resolutions that are unreasonable, oppressive or discriminatory.
  3. Buyers will receive better information about the strata lot they are buying. This includes: estimated contributions a buyer will have to pay in the 12 months after settlement; the minutes from the most recent AGM; a statement of accounts of the strata company; any debts owing against the lot to the strata company; whether the lot has the benefit of exclusive use by-laws and information about any termination proposal received by the strata company.
  4. The management of the strata company will be improved. Strata companies will be able to keep records in electronic format to allow owners to more easily inspect those records. By-laws cannot be oppressive, unreasonable, unfairly prejudicial to or discriminatory against one or more owners. Strata companies will have streamlined procedures for executing documents. The standards of strata councils will be raised with statutory duties imposed on members of the council of a strata company. Council members will not be able to vote where they have a conflict of interest.
  5. Owners will be empowered to improve their scheme and retrofit their scheme to benefit from renewable energy sources. The owners, who make up the strata company, will be empowered to improve the common property within their scheme. It will be easier to obtain approval from the strata company for owners or the strata company to install sustainability infrastructure like solar panels onto common property.
  6. Better ongoing maintenance of schemes will be facilitated. Every strata company for larger schemes will need to prepare a 10 year maintenance plan and to have a reserve fund. The 10 year maintenance plan is aimed at assisting the strata company in deciding how much money it should set aside in their reserve fund. Larger strata schemes will need to prepare a 10 year maintenance plan to detail expected yearly costs.
  7. Enforcing by-laws will be easier. Owners, occupiers and the strata company will be able to apply to the State Administrative Tribunal to enforce by-laws.
  8. Strata disputes will be resolved quickly, cheaply and efficiently through a single specialist forum. The State Administrative Tribunal will become the one-stop-shop for strata disputes and will be given sufficient powers to resolve those disputes.
  9. Providing for more flexibility in staged development. Staged subdivision of strata / survey-strata schemes will be made more flexible. If a scheme developer needs to vary a stage of subdivision, they will need to obtain: a. A unanimous resolution and b. the consents of all people with a designated interest (defined to include mortgagees, etc).
  10. Safeguards for the termination of schemes. The first strata schemes in Western Australia were constructed over 50 years ago. Scheme buildings are ageing and many are costing owners large amounts in maintenance. Based on experience in other jurisdictions, termination and redevelopment of strata / survey-strata schemes will become increasingly common. To protect the assets held by all strata owner, the process of terminating a strata scheme will be revised.

Have Your Say

Yes. It will be important to give your feedback on these changes.

Simply CLICK HERE to visit Landgates dedicated website to learn how you can add value to the outcome.


[1] The population projections presented in this publication cover the period 2018 to 2066 for Australia, the states and territories, capital cities and rest of state regions. https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/39433889d406eeb9ca2570610019e9a5/566071abb7fdcfc6ca257c2e0017255c!OpenDocument

[2] This latest Population Projection of estimates are lower than previous predictions in 2013 as we were at the tail end of the mining boom. https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3222.0Main%20Features112012%20(base)%20to%202101?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3222.0&issue=2012%20(base)%20to%202101&num=&view=

[3] The Perth and Peel regions now stretch more than 150 kilometres from Two Rocks in the north to Bouvard in the south. Of the 800,000 new homes needed for the projected population increase, almost half – at least 380,000 or 47 per cent – will be provided through increased density and greater infill development in strategic areas such as around transport hubs, including the new METRONET station precincts and activity centres. Most of these will be built within existing suburbs in the Central sub-region. (Source: https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/perth-and-peel-@-3-5-million-frameworks)

[4] With approximately 72 km of new passenger rail and up to 18 new stations, METRONET is a catalyst to turn over 5,000 hectares of land around new stations to desirable places for investment in housing, jobs and services for growing communities. As one of the largest single investments in public transport that the city has seen, METRONET will help positively change how people live and travel in Perth. (Source: https://www.metronet.wa.gov.au/about)

[5] Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018. http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/parliament/bills.nsf/07FA9EA0FF54B548482582B90023602D/$File/EM%2B80-1.pdf

It’s about finding your best home

Health | Efficiency | Comfort | Community

Are you looking for a home with reduced running costs and which is healthy, efficient, comfortable and connected to your local community? Well, you’re one of many people driving a new trend in real estate that is impacting the way your house is marketed.

The Liveability Features Framework is an exciting new initiative, backed by CSIRO, Australia’s peak scientific body, which enables up-skilled sales agents and property managers to simply and effectively identify and integrate an additional 17 Liveability Features into the point of sale or rent.

They’re called Liveability Features because they offer the potential for reduced running costs and increased comfort if used correctly.

As Liveability Real Estate Specialists, we are able to exclusively access the industry-leading PropTech “Liveability Appraisals Checklist” to deliver the additional free Liveability Features Appraisal for home owners and investors.

Your Liveability Real Estate Specialist

At Community West Real Estate we focus on how people can thrive by uncovering features within and surrounding the home that enhance quality of life, improve affordability and enhance social connection. These liveability features benefit occupants, and support lifestyle desires of those looking to relocate.

That is why we have taken the steps to ensure that we are trained Liveability Real Estate Specialists.

As one of only a handful of agencies nationally with qualified Liveability Real Estate Specialists, we are able to identify and promote up to 17 Liveability Features in your property that offer the potential for reduced running costs and increased comfort when used correctly.

Connect with Chiara today to get your own FREE Liveability Features Appraisal and understand how your home can stand out from the competition. BOOK HERE.

Liveability v’s Lovability of Neighbourhoods

Loveable neighbourhoods are always memorable. They make us feel like we belong, and often it’s the social interactions and experiences we have in the parks, cafes or streets that make us want to return.

Liveability often relates to tangible natural or built attributes of a place like local parks, beaches and lakes, schools, hospitals, historic buildings, daycare centres, public transport, restaurants, cafes and shops – many of which are found on our buyers preference list.

Social data is transforming the way we understand these two influencing factors and is beautifully explained by the Neighbourlytics CEO and Co-Founder Lucinda Hartley.


At Community West, we bring out the loveable features of your home and community to help define a more meaningful connection with the real estate we offer.

Go to our MAP on the home page to learn more.

An Untapped Market

An Untapped Market

With Perth house sales down by 8% in June (1), and recent CoreLogic data confirming the Perth medium house price is the lowest across all capital cites (around $458,000), the importance of differentiating the real ‘value’ of your home from others will be vital to achieving the sale, no matter what the season.

From our observations over 20 years, we have seen and heard homebuyer conversation shift from aesthetics and functionality towards performance.

New CSIRO research suggests that over two thirds of home buyers now prefer energy efficient homes when given the choice (2), and 8.6 per cent have a higher purchase preference for ‘sustainability’ features than the standard version of the same design.

Our own research with apartment dwellers has identified a 24% swing towards more technologically advanced (‘future-proofed’) apartments.

Showcasing the special ‘sustainability’ features in marketing (ie. floor plans) and through communications (directly with buyers on-site) requires a more intimate connection with the design and technology, and an ability to highlight their benefits. Understanding how to spread awareness of these desirable features is our specialty.

Consumers have highlighted comfort and liveability as high priority when making home buying decisions. In fact, four main desires included comfort, health, community and affordability (3). The good thing is you don't need to be an architect, academic or scientist to truly understand what it all means.

When selling a home, your marketing and communications should consider how good design and functionality 'feels':

The Bricks & Mortar: A ‘sustainable’ home is comfortable to live in; naturally warm in winter and cooler in summer, offering natural daylight and air movement inside the home. It's a healthy home; protecting occupants from extreme temperature variations, ventilated naturally to minimise pollutants, mould and dust build up, as well as chemical off-gassing from furniture, paint and other nasties used in fit-out. It’s more affordable to run and improves the value and saleability of the home.

The Community at Large: A significant point of difference to the quality of life and wellbeing of your future buyer will be how convenient and accessible places important to them are. Natural or built attributes of a place like local parks, beaches or lakes, schools and hospitals, daycare centres, public transport, restaurants, cafes and shops - these are always desirable.

It will be important to choose a selling agent who can passionately communicate the added value these special features have over all others.


1. https://reiwa.com.au/about-us/news/perth-house-sales-down-in-june,-but-10-suburbs-buck-the-trend/utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=reiwa.com-newsletter

2. https://www.asbec.asn.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/190701-ASBEC-CRCLCL-Growing-Market-for-Sustainable-Homes-web.pdf

3. Hulse, K., Podkalicka, A., Milne, E., Winfree, T. and Melles, G., 2015, I’d just Google it: media and home renovation practices in Australia.