International travel bans and strong border controls have seen Aussie cities dominate the March 2021 results – with the West Australian capital city, Perth, ranking sixth.
Perth is known for its sandy beaches, thriving cafés and small bar scene and leafy green Hills area. Warmed by more sunny days than in any other Australian capital city, highlights include leafy Kings Park, which boasts several key lookout spots over the city and the museum and gallery precinct. Fremantle is a thriving coastal hot spot popular with locals and visitors alike, with plenty of historical landmarks and cultural activities on offer. You can jump a ferry from Fremantle or the city to nearby Rottnest Island – home of the quokka. Travelling inland, the Swan Valley is renowned for its vineyards, art, food and history.
More recently, WA and its capital has come under the spotlight thanks to its prudent management of the Coronavirus pandemic. Swift and strict border controls and international travel bans has seen life return to relative normality quite quickly particularly when compared to much of the world.
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What is the Global Liveability Index?
Compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU); the Index assesses which locations around the world provide the best and worst living conditions. Ranking 140 cities based on more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors, these factors span five areas: stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure. Due to the pandemic, new indicators including stress on health-care resources as well as restrictions around local sporting events, theatres, music concerts, restaurants and schools have been added.
According to the EIU, assessing liveability has a broad range of uses, including helping to frame policies and target investors.
The pandemic effect
Unsurprisingly, the overall global average liveability score has fallen by seven points compared to the average pre-pandemic score. Cities with strong border closures who returned to relatively normal living conditions unsurprisingly bumped their way up the rankings. While Auckland, New Zealand took the top spot, up from the sixth position in August last year, four Australian cities have made the top ten, with Adelaide third, Perth sixth, Melbourne ninth and Brisbane tenth. Sydney only just missed a top 10 title, taking out 11th place.
Perth scored 100 percent on healthcare, education and infrastructure, 95 percent for stability, and 78.2 percent for culture and environment, with an overall score of 93.3 percent. Border closures and a consequently low Covid-19 case count has meant Perth has been able to keep schools, theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions open for much of the pandemic. Impact to healthcare have likewise been largely unaffected by the virus.
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The pandemic and the Perth property market
Like much of Australia, the property market in Perth saw and maintained a somewhat surprising boom, thanks in part to a wide range of Government initiatives. REIWA President Damian Collins said the March quarter saw strong sales growth across Perth, with a 31 per cent increase when compared to the March 2020 quarter. Their data shows a total of 138 suburbs in Perth recorded increased sales volumes in the March 2021 quarter.
Mr Collins said many first home buyers are opting to buy instead of rent due to the relatively affordable prices and record low interest rates.
“Despite the recent price increases, REIA’s Real Estate Market Facts for the March 2021 quarter revealed Perth had the lowest median house price in the country. As the market continues its recovery, we should see buyer confidence continue to gain momentum… You can be assured there is still excellent affordability in the WA market,” Mr Collins said.
Words by Melanie Hearse
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