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Property Clues in WA Growth Report

The good news in a key population outlook for Western Australia, is that a return to higher long-term growth rates is expected soon.  However, WA is ageing faster than expected and the disability sector is looming large in both a social and business sense.

               Structural change in population growth (%), 1971-2031

For property businesses, there is a lot to digest in WA Tomorrow – Population Forecasts to 2031, by the Department of Planning, Lands & Heritage.  Here are the key take-outs for business planning in WA.

  1. WA’s annual population growth rate has turned the corner from an historic low point of 0.8% (see chart above).  The report found WA is on track to return to its long-term growth rate of 1.6% by 2021. 
  2. The recent slowing in WA’s overall population growth was concentrated in persons under 65.  Conversely the number of people over 65 will continue to grow four times faster than persons under 65.  This will result in seniors being a bigger share of the population that earlier predictions.3.
  3. As the population ages, the number of dependent persons (children under 15, people with disability and older dependent people) is forecast to increase rapidly, rising from 49% in 2016 to 57% in 2031. The balance between children who are dependent and older dependent people will gradually shift towards more older persons and adults with disabilities, as the baby boomers move into retirement age groupings and the overall population ages.   

The steady return to sustainable population growth in WA is great news for businesses that rely on the consumer economy, including the retail and real estate sectors.  However, the demands of a rapidly ageing population are becoming more urgent, particularly in the provision of greater housing choice and aged-care. 

The recognition of persons with disabilities in the demographic forecasts is particularly important.  We can expect more of the discussion about housing diversity in the future to include the rapidly growing demand for special disability accommodation.

Image: KPA Architects Rocky Bay SDA Housing