BABY boomers are leading the charge out of the suburbs looking for lifestyle change and with another two-thirds of the baby boomers still to push past 48, lifestyle property development is the industry to be in.
However, Perth developers should be wary of expecting the same level of demand for inner city dwellings as has occurred in the eastern States, according to KPMG partner and author of The Big Shift – Welcome to the third Australian culture, Bernard Salt.
Mr Salt was in Perth last week for a KPMG function where he explained the business implications of social and cultural change in Western Australia.
As a leading researcher of demographic and social change, Mr Salt gives market demand advice to property investors and developers.
Somewhat of a television personality, he has appeared on television programs such as Business Sunday, The Today Show, SBS Insight, Today Tonight and Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.
According to Mr Salt’s research, Australians began shifting out of the suburbs and into inner city locations in 1992, however, Perth did not experience this cultural phenomenon until around 1997-98 and, as a result, Perth is still catching up to the eastern States.
The 2002 figures for the population in a five kilometre radius around Perth CBD were 111,000 people, which re-presents an increase of 4,113 people over the five years since 1997.
In comparison Sydney’s 2002 population within a five-kilometre radius of the central city was 299,000, an increase of 28,917 people since 1997.
“Perth is in catch-up phase … but it is never likely to get to or approach the level of demand seen on the eastern seaboard,” Mr Salt said.
Over a 12-month period the average number of people relocating into inner city Sydney was 6,000, 4,834 moved into Melbourne, 4,125 moved into Brisbane and 1,516 moved into Perth.
While the population base is obviously smaller, Mr Salt said he believed Perth would not attain the same level of demand for inner city living because, in comparison to Sydney and Melbourne, it was a young city and, as a result, had never traditionally had an inner city population.
“Perth is a vastly different market to capital cities on the eastern seaboard and even Adelaide and Brisbane,” he said.
Mr Salt said market demand in Perth tended to be more river and coast-focused with people moving to coastal regions north and south of the city.
The south west cape is also expected to continue its growth as baby boomers began their lifestyle change, heading towards the coast, he said.
Real Estate Institute of WA public affairs director Lino Iacomella said while a future level of demand was difficult to predict, evidence to date showed that there was strong demand for inner city living in Perth.
“Last year the highest growth was in the City of Perth, in all of Australia,” he said.
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