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Our Blog

Our Managing Director, Danny Murphy, is acknowledged as one of the industry leaders in property development, with his opinion on the general market conditions regularly sought.  This blog is an occasional update on his thoughts about creating communities, towns and developing land.  We hope you find them useful.  If you have any ideas for future topics, please email us.

The Glades - Resident Blog

by Danny Murphy - 25 Mar 2014

 

Mandi Parker Market Coordinator and resident at The Glades  Occasionally we like to have guest bloggers who give a different perspective of our communities.  This time, our guest blogger is Mandi Parker, one of the early residents of The Glades and also Market Coordinator for The Glades Arts & Produce Markets.  

The ‘Great Australian Dream’ of owning a home with a patch of grass Dad can mow on the weekend, friendly neighbours who pop over for a cuppa and local kids riding up and down the streets on their bikes in relative safety, is a dream hard to come by these days.

The Glades at Byford, however, is not only an exception to this rule but is forging its own legacy as a connected master-planned community and one where Australian families can ‘live the dream’.

Mandi Parker, a resident at The Glades and Market Coordinator for the development, is incredibly passionate about her community and we interviewed her as part of our latest blog.

Mandi and her young family previously lived in Serpentine, a short distance away from The Glades, until it was clear that there was something lacking.

“Having young children and a husband who worked away, I found that I really was missing a community support network,” Mandi said.

“So my husband and I did some research into Ellenbrook, LWP’s first development and were really impressed with the community they created there; so soon after we bought our homesite in The Glades.

“LWP’s vision for their master-planned communities is more than a sales pitch; they live and breathe it.  They don’t just build houses and walk away, they invest a lot of time and money creating neighbourhoods like the ones we grew up in where everyone knows everyone.”

Mandi and her husband were among the first to build in the development and today know every single person in the street.  Mandi loves the friendliness of The Glades, and the feeling that there is a community of families looking out for one another’s kids.

“We had a ‘few’ friends and neighbours over for dinner a few weeks ago, and when I counted I discovered I had 27 kids in my house, playing, eating, riding bikes, while the parents caught up! It’s a real neighbourhood, where we all look out for each other.

“At Christmas time we blocked off the street and had a street party; a real highlight of the year, everyone looks forward to it.”

When asked what has changed in the time she has lived in The Glades, Mandi was quick to respond:

“Growth! When we moved in there were five houses, now there are over 400. It’s phenomenal. Our community is growing and growing, with people chasing that one in a million community feel.”

Mandi has also been instrumental in the success of The Glades Arts & Produce Market.

“When I was first approached to take over coordinating the market it was a small, Saturday afternoon market of about 30 stalls and I could see so much potential in making it a real community institution.

“LWP is very special because they always look to the community first when trying to fill a job or role within the development. Phil Cuttone from LWP found out I had previously worked in event management and approached me to take on the role.”

Thanks to Mandi’s team and LWP’s support, The Glades Arts & Produce Market now showcases between 80 and 100 stalls and attracts thousands of people from the local community and surrounding area.

“The Market really provides a fun environment where residents can catch up, and at the same time people interested in living in The Glades can enjoy an insight into what it’s like to live here,” Mandi said.

“The Market has also been an effective avenue for fundraising for our local community groups such as the local primary school.”

Mandi’s market model has also been adopted in LWP’s other developments Trinity at Alkimos and Ellenbrook; with the markets at Ellenbrook counted among the biggest outdoor market in Western Australia. So what now for The Glades Arts & Produce Market?

“Now the purpose-built market site in Gallant Turn has been completed, we are enjoying settling into our fantastic new location. My aim is to maintain the quality and continue to grow the popularity of the markets  - it’s already become a fixture in the community calendar,” Mandi said.

“LWP has created something amazing with The Glades. They don’t just talk about creating communities; they go above and beyond and really deliver. For that, and on behalf of my family and the many families in my community, I am very thankful.”

Huntlee: A New Town and What it Means

by Danny Murphy - 24 Feb 2014

 Stephen Thompson, Project Director Huntlee A guest post by
Stephen Thompson | LWP Project Director | Huntlee

 

You hear and read a lot of slogans from land developers about creating great places to live.  And you hear how their project includes everything you need, and incredibly, it’ll all be right at your doorstep.  But is that even possible?  Well, yes and no.

The reality is that there are great places to live in this world, but there are also some not-so-great places to live.  At LWP, we create great places, but what makes a place great? 

A gentleman by the name of William H Whyte asked himself that question in the late 1960’s whilst working at the New York City Planning Commission.  To answer his question he spent many years studying and watching people using their city.  His work inspired the likes of Jane Jacobs, another famous “people watcher”, and the emergence of “new urbanism” in the United States.  New urbanism is an urban planning philosophy which embraced Whyte’s findings that it is people who make places great. 

Most people understand that America is a car-centric environment.  Following the end of World War II, America became known for its interstate freeway construction programme, the explosion in car ownership, and the ensuing urban sprawl.  Suburbs sprouted up everywhere to cater for the new dream of suburban living and car dependency; a trend which continued for 40 years.  Australia’s urban development followed a similar pattern to that of the United States.

New urbanism (or place-making) on the other hand, adopted the Whyte and Jacobs beliefs that great places are where people gather to socialise and interact, and that places should be designed for people, not cars.  Through his years of behavioural observations, Whyte famously stated: “What attracts people most, it would appear, is other people”.  That’s what we believe at LWP. 

The development of Huntlee will take context from “place-making” and “new urbanism” to create a New Town that will be a place for people.  Exhaustive work been undertaken to ensure Huntlee is a fully considered community with a focus on education, employment and recreation opportunities for its residents.  And the town centre will provide important opportunities for social and cultural interactions.

So yes, you can have great places with everything at your doorstep.  But no, not everyone can do this.  The reasons are relatively simple: scale, experience, and commitment.

In order to create a new great place, there needs to be scale.  It’s difficult to create a great place if what’s being developed is a few blocks of land in a paddock, or there’s no town centre, or you can’t connect your communities with cultural, social, and employment opportunities.  Huntlee has the scale to achieve all of this.

You also need experience.  Building a whole town is a complex endeavour of social, environmental, and physical constructs. To be successful, it is not something that can be slapped together and hope for the best.  Developments that fail, fail because they focus on chopping up land as quickly and cheaply as possible, rather than building the social and cultural layers that make a thriving community.  Huntlee is being managed by LWP Property Group; a company that specialises in large-scale communities and with a proven track record at creating great places to live, work, and play.

And probably most importantly, you need a consistent vision and a steadfast commitment to it.  You can’t compromise your vision for a quick buck, or change your plans to suit a few short-term flutters in the market, or just because you had a bad year.  Creating a great place requires you to be truthful to your commitments and to deliver the vision you’ve promised to everyone who has believed in you. 

So if you think the latest land release near you is just a collection of marketing slogans, take a closer look at whether they can offer the ingredients for creating a truly great place. 

Market Outlook for 2014

by Danny Murphy - 14 Feb 2014

We are now well into the second month of 2014 and it is an opportunity to reflect on what is in store for homebuyers over the coming year.

Sound Fundamentals
The WA property market continues to be supported by sound fundamentals, such as population growth, low interest rates and relative housing affordability.  Most economists are predicting interest rates to remain at around current levels until at least late 2014.

Also, the increase in the WA Government's grant to $10,000 for first homebuyers who build, coupled with stamp duty concessions, has encouraged a solid first homebuyer market.

Already at our developments in WA and NSW, we have seen the all of our products continuing to move quickly throughout January and February.

Increased demand for compact housing options
Throughout 2014 we anticipate that homesites of less than 500 square metres will continue grow in popularity, due to affordability and changing lifestyle patterns.  Additionally, purchasers are becoming increasingly savvy about the benefits of having smaller backyards without the need to compromise on house size.

Tight supply to continue until mid year
The current tight supply situation we are experiencing is likely to continue until the middle of the year, when we expect the market will ease.

In order to keep up with demand, many developers have had to release lots five to six months ahead of titles being issued; where we would normally pre-sell no more than three months prior to title issue, we have relaxed our policy to meet market demand.

This is likely to continue to be the case until the second half of the year when developers will be able to ‘catch up’ and the availability of titled stock will increase.

Moderation and Stabilisation
Housing prices, apart from the top end, may experience further increases in the first half of 2014.   Prices are likely to reach their peak in this particular cycle by mid year when demand is expected to moderate.

From this time, the main focus for homebuyers will again be value for money and quality.  Homesites in master-planned communities continue to be sought after as they provide a broad range of homesite sizes located close to essential facilities and services.

The challenge for developers
With this expected moderation in demand by mid 2014, more normal market conditions will return following a strong 2013. 

 Accordingly, the challenge for developers will again be to excite buyers to move, by producing quality, fresh, value for money propositions.

 

 

 


Summertime Survival: Looking after your garden

by Danny Murphy - 11 Feb 2014

  Sabrina Hahn native gardening specialist

Sabrina Hahn is a whole lot of hort with heart – master gardener, qualified horticulturalist and storyteller.

An obsessive gardener, she started landscaping at the age of four: stripping flowers and foliage from her grandmother's yard, creating magical miniature gardens all in her Nan's baking trays. She now has a regular slot in the West Australian Newspaper as well as on ABC Radio and we are excited to have her as our guest blogger this month.  

There’s still a long road of summer in front of us, and we need to give the garden its best possible chance of surviving the next few months. The biggest factor to survival is getting the water to the plant roots and keeping it there.

This requires a good quality wetting agent, an efficient watering system, soil amendments and a course, thick mulch. You may need to apply wetting agent three or four times a year, particularly in summer. Soils will eventually become hydrophobic as they dry out.

Native gardens: just because you have a native garden does not mean that it can be neglected. Remember all plants are grown in a nursery where they are watered twice a day, so the transition into our gardens requires some care until the plants becomes big enough to fend for itself.

Dig down 10cm into the garden bed and if it is bone dry apply a wetting agent. You will need to water, water, water it in for it to be effective. This is better done by hand with the jet on the hose. If your soil is sandy you may need to repeat this process a few times.  Once this is done add a layer of compost and replace the mulch. Do not granular fertilise natives at this time of the year, new growth will be burnt by the intense heat.

The veggie garden will need some shade cloth over it to get the best out of your plants. Use a 30% shade cloth, any higher than that the veggies don’t get enough light to develop fruit or veg. Top beds up with poo, compost and apply a pea hay, lucerne or straw mulch. Water in the mornings, but on days over 38 degrees you may need to give them another water in the late afternoon. 

Project 500 and the looming land shortage

by Danny Murphy - 20 Nov 2013

Housing industry associations, including the Urban Development Institute of Australia, have consistently indicated Perth faces a severe land shortage, only compounded by the fact that demand for homesites is only growing.

The return of ‘camp outs’ at our land sales was also a powerful indication that homebuyers are aware of and concerned by the trend that is seeing demand for land increasingly outstripping supply. 

It was clear to us that something needed to be done to reduce the need for purchasers to go to such great lengths to secure a homesite and to alleviate some of the pressure on homebuyers.

Project 500 was developed to meet the needs of all market sectors, with 500 homesites released across six LWP developments from July through September.

The Project’s series of releases saw land sales at Ellenbrook, The Reserve, Trinity at Alkimos, The Glades at Byford, Springdale Beach and Dongara.

The Project 500 call to action was the largest and most diverse land offering in LWP’s history over such a short period of time and was exceptionally well received, with a total of 507 homesites sold, exceeding projected targets. 

Central to the success of the Project was our ability to not only deliver on a large scale, but to also ensure a high degree of diversity in terms of product and price point. 

To deliver something valuable for homebuyers it was crucial that Project 500 was responsive to the needs of the market in every way; from the size of homesites available to offering homesites for all budgets.

Trinity at Alkimos registered 127 sales across the three-month period, coming close to being completely sold out in September.

Ellenbrook, LWP’s flagship development, sold an impressive 225 homesites; The Glades at Byford recorded 115 sales, to become the dominant project in the corridor.

Coinciding with the launch of Project 500 was the relaunch of LWP Advantage; a loyalty program providing members with exclusive access to new land releases before they are offered to the general public.  

A dramatic increase in LWP Advantage registration was documented across all development throughout the Project 500 period; suggestive of homebuyer’s eagerness to secure a piece of the action.

In September LWP also launched an online registration system, exclusive to LWP Advantage members, to simplify the deposit process by allowing members to secure a homesite with a $2,000 deposit payable by Visa or Mastercard.

The online registration system was exceptionally well received, with LWP Advantage members enthusiastic about how easy the new online process made securing the homesite of their choice. 

Interest in LWP developments did not taper off toward the end of Project 500, but quite the opposite with homebuyers as keen as ever to secure a home in our developments.

Project 500 was more than a development initiative, it has been something the whole team at LWP, including designers and contractors, have been very passionate about. 

Our enthusiasm was driven by the fact the project addressed a real imbalance in the housing industry and offered Western Australians a chance at owning a home where they otherwise have struggled.

The challenges facing WA homebuyers today

by Danny Murphy - 20 Nov 2013


In 2012/13, over 15,000 lots were sold in Western Australia, a figure that stands in stark contrast with the average 7,500 per annum sold over the five years prior.  

This escalation in activity is largely attributed to our state’s considerable population growth; this influx has in turn driven higher land prices and exposed an unsettling lack of forward planning for our city’s future growth.

With the rise in lot prices placing pressure on an already strained homebuyer’s market, tradeoffs between price, location and size of lot are now evident.

The market is not only restrictive in terms of affordability, but also space, given the majority of lots sold today are under 400 square metres. Such lots can provide low maintenance benefits; however, the absence of genuinely usable private space in lots of this dimension, presents a very real issue for homebuyers.

As such, property developers are faced with the challenge of creating quality public spaces to compensate for the reduction in private space. 

To this end, a responsive solution from developers doesn’t just come down to intuitive design of parks and streetscapes; but also the way we deliver living experiences within a community.

It is about creating a sense of connectedness and accessibility to open space experiences that both educate and excite residents that ultimately facilitates healthy lifestyle balance.

Every shift in urban settlement trends creates challenges for developers and homebuyers alike. However, at LWP Property Group we see them as opportunities to adapt and challenge our commitment for community development, for all residents.

Annie's Landing: history in the making

by Danny Murphy - 16 Oct 2013

Each of our villages or precincts in our developments has their own personality, which is reflected through architectural and landscape design elements, street naming, materials used, public art, the natural surrounds and local history.

For example, our Ellenbrook development has been master-planned as a town of eight self-supporting villages. Each village offers its own individual style, yet sits harmoniously alongside the others in a way that is uniquely ‘Ellenbrook’.

Ellenbrook itself is named after Lady Ellen Stirling (nee Mangles), the wife of Perth’s first Lieutenant Governor, Sir James Stirling. The nearby creek of Ellen Brook was also named, by Captain Stirling, after his wife. The town has been designed to reflect Ellen’s style and is vibrant, welcoming, engaging, spirited and playful.

Our newest village at Ellenbrook, Annie’s Landing, is also attributed to a woman from WA history. Annie’s Landing takes it name from Anne (Annie) Frances Elizabeth Hamersley, the wife of William Brockman, a pastoralist and stockbreeder who together with Ensign Dale discovered the Avon Valley in July 1830. Annie and her family had a prominent influence in the region, with Annie and William’s son Edmund managing one of the first farms in the Avon Valley.

The Avon Valley’s rural landscape and historic townsites have influenced the layout of the village as well as the architectural and landscape theme. 

Also, the town centre of Annie’s Landing will be located on the central road next to the Sawpit Gully Reserve, with Sawpit Gully, a tributary of Ellen Brook running through the heart of the village. Much like the Avon River is to the Avon Valley, Sawpit Gully has been the major landscape element that links homes to the village centre within Annie’s Landing.

So, next time you visit an LWP development, have a look around and see if you can pick up on the subtle theme references …

 

Charlotte's Vineyard: From earliest history to modern village

by Danny Murphy - 16 Oct 2013

Lyn Coy

This month's blog post has been kindly provided by

Lyn Coy, Ellenbrook resident

 

Lyn Coy is more than a resident of Charlotte’s Vineyard, she is a self confessed ”descendant of the pioneer Grumpy Old Women” who arrived in the Swan River Colony in the State’s formative years and “has Charlotte on the brain.” 

Lyn’s story is inextricably intertwined with the rich history our state and the Swan River region.

Lyn is descended from the Davis family who sailed from Plymouth in England with Captain James Stirling on the ship Parmelia for the new colony of Swan River, Western Australia. On May 31st, 1829 the Parmelia struck a sand bank and orders were given to lighten the load, so 28 women and children, the families of the ship’s workmen, were required to disembark on nearby Carnac Island.

Among them was two year old Charlotte Davis, Lyn Coy’s great, great, great, great grandmother, who was carried ashore by a sailor, making her the first female to set foot in the colony.

For five days and nights the castaways suffered through torrential rain and gales without shelter or beds and with only salt beef and biscuits to eat. Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts, the whole party survived.

Thomas Davis, Charlotte’s father, worked as the Government Blacksmith and her mother, Catherine died in 1836, only seven short years after the colony was established at Mount Eliza. Catherine Davis is buried in East Perth Cemetery.

At the age of 18 Charlotte married John Herbert, at Wesley Chapel. John Herbert later became the publican at West Toodyay’s Royal Oak Inn. History tells the pair made quite a name for themselves throughout the district with John sent to a ‘lunatic asylum’ for alcoholism, as was the treatment in those early days, forcing Charlotte to take over management of the pub while raising four children. Due to her natural business nous and fortitude, Charlotte built an admirable trade at the pub and went on to purchase several lots of land in the area.

Charlotte’s son John Thomas Herbert followed in his mother’s pioneering footsteps by setting out to walk to South Australia, as he claimed there was no longer any adventure to be had in Western Australia. John Thomas arrived safely without enduring any real hardship and soon after married Elizabeth Conroy, an Irish girl. Upon hearing his mother was gravely ill John Thomas decided to return to Western Australia, again on foot, his new wife and child following by ship.

This trip was unfortunately not as smooth with John nearly dying of dehydration, only to be saved by a passing telegraph linesman. John Thomas arrived back in Western Australia shortly before Charlotte died on 31 March, 1885 at 58 years of age.

Charlotte Herbert (nee Davis) is buried at the Toodyay Cemetery.

Charlotte’s Vineyard was named in honour of Charlotte Davis, her pioneering spirit and the contribution she and her family made to our state’s colonisation.

Lyn, ‘GGGG’ granddaughter of stoic, ‘grumpy’ Charlotte, is passionate about her family’s history and enthusiastic about being a resident of Charlotte’s Vineyard.

“If I have known my history years ago, my daughter would’ve been named ‘Charlotte’ and my dog ‘Carnac’, but at least I am living in the right place!” Lyn said.

“I enjoy being active in my community; I’ve joined various clubs, I’m a founding member and second term President of the Ellenbrook Combined Probus Club and used to write for the local paper ‘Windows on Ellenbrook’.”

“Perhaps I just don’t know how to sit on my hands…I will have to learn!” she said.“I can truthfully say that I ‘live, work and play’ in Ellenbrook, just like the LWP slogan says and there is no where else I’d rather be!” Lyn said.

Charlotte’s descendants erected a memorial, a large rock in the shape of Western Australia, in Newcastle Park, Toodyay, commemorating the Davis family: a fitting dedication to an iconic Western Australian family.




Coming soon: Trinity’s Interactive Bushwalk

by Danny Murphy - 5 Jul 2013


This month’s blog post has been provided by Senior Project Manager for LWP, Jim Karakatsanakis.     Jim has been involved with the development of Trinity’s ‘Interactive Bushwalk’ from initial concept through to its imminent completion. He explains what people can expect from the bushwalk and why it is such an important and unique part of the development approach LWP has adopted at Trinity.

Throughout its development, Trinity has been firmly based on the principle of connection: connection to neighbours, connection to the coast, and connection to surrounding bushland.

The idea to create an interactive bushwalk stemmed from the concept of linking the ‘new’ Trinity development to its past, and given the surrounding area was only recently developed, the local flora and fauna was the perfect way to achieve this.

When complete; the bushwalk will be just over 1km in length, stretching from Trinity’s southern boundary (corner of Myrlea Trail and Kells Road) to its northern boundary (corner of Benenden Avenue and Romeo Road). 

The bushland is home to beautiful Banksia Woodlands and mature Tuart trees, as well as the protected Carnaby’s Cockatoo, which LWP has committed to protecting by retaining this particular piece of natural bushland.

People can learn more about the flora and fauna by following the information signs along the route, and taking advantage of the built-in technology which provides access to additional information and educational resources.

A schoolteacher has been engaged by the Trinity team to develop worksheets and activities enabling local schools to hold an outdoor class or visit the bushwalk on a school excursion.

The route will also serve as an exercise circuit, with exercise stations dotted along the track. This further demonstrates LWP’s commitment to creating healthy and sustainable communities, a commitment it delivers across each of its three masterplanned communities.

Whether people want to learn more about the natural bushland or simply walk amongst it - we’re confident it will be a much appreciated feature for this coastal community.

Stage 1 of the bushwalk (from Kells Road to Santorini Promenade) will be complete by July, with the built-in near field communication (NFC) technology and supporting website anticipated for completion by September. Stages 2 and 3 will be completed in 2014.
Non-residents can also enjoy the bushwalk. We recommend parking in the car park on the corner of Santorini and Kells.

Guest blogger: Jim Karakatsanakis, Senior Project Manager, LWP Property Group


LWP & Awesome Arts creating arts & culture communities

by Melanie Carpenter - 14 May 2013

Thanks to Jenny Simpson, the CEO of one of our partners - AWESOME Arts Australia – for this guest blog post.

We’ve been working with LWP these past 3 years in a partnership that is about connecting people through cultural activities, particularly involving families. Most neighbourhoods have a pre-existing culture that has evolved over several generations – so what happens when you move into an area that is still being built around you?

LWP stands for Live-Work-Play, and in keeping with their name, LWP is all about creating vibrant and healthy communities. For them it is much more than bricks and mortar. Of course, this starts with ensuring that the built environment contains lots of great public spaces including parks, venues, and really serviceable town centres. People take up residence and undoubtedly start using the facilities but the next step is about making the place ‘feel’ like home and, over time, a sense of community starts to emerge. Residents get to know one another; neighbours help each other out, events like festivals and markets take place and before long there is a collective sense of belonging and identity …a community!

At AWESOME we believe that arts and cultural activities can play a vital role in bringing people together, helping them to find common ground and contributing to the development of a community. I think that arts activities are particularly good because they tend to be fun, non-competitive and they enable people to express themselves in different ways. Arts activities for children bring families together, friendships are established and people get involved in their community.

So you might have seen us running school holiday programs, or presenting arts activities at the markets, bringing Mums together for Creative Bubs sessions...or even making a short film starring the residents!  Next time you spot us out and about running arts programs, come and say hi!

We are really keen to know what kinds of arts and cultural activities in which residents would like to participate in their respective communities and we’ll work towards making them happen. All ideas are welcome, so feel free to drop us an email at communityarts@awesomearts.com

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