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The City of Swan lies on the north-eastern fringe of the Perth metropolitan area, and combines a diverse range of land uses and economic activities. Much of the land in the north and east of the City remains rural in nature, and there is also significant parkland and forestry in the west of the City. The central areas are dominated by intensive agriculture - principally viticulture in the famed Swan Valley wine region.
Urban development in the City dates to the establishment of the Guildford township in the 1830s, but apart from expansion around the railway town of Midland (formerly Midland Junction) from the 1880s, significant residential development in the City of Swan has been a relatively recent phenomenon. The City’s population growth in the last twenty years has focused around Ballajura and the Swan View area (Stratton and Jane Brook), with the most rapid recent expansion occurring in Ellenbrook and the Urban Growth Corridor.
Traditionally, the City of Swan has attracted family (and future family) households particularly in newly developing areas where the housing stock caters for the needs of this market. In recent decades this has been exemplified by the development of new suburbs at Altone, Beechboro and Swan View, and more recently further north in Ellenbrook. The City attracts new residents from other parts of metropolitan Perth, particularly adjacent areas north of the Swan River, as well as from interstate and overseas. Between 2006 and 2011, the City lost population to fast growing areas in outer southern Perth such as Rockingham and Armadale, as well as to the south western part of the State.
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.
Residential development of the City over many decades, the large size of the municipality and the wide range of land uses across the City, have resulted in a variety of developed distinctive characteristics and different roles in the housing market. Areas such as Ellenbrook, Altone (Beechboro in particular), Stratton and Jane Brook have had significant residential development in recent years, and they are attractive to couples and families seeking new housing opportunities. Many of the more rural parts of the City, such as Gidgegannup and Bullsbrook, are attractive to mature families seeking a rural environment and lifestyle. The historic character of Guildford and the semi-rural environment of Hazelmere are also attractive to mature families. In contrast, Midland tends to attract young adults and other smaller households because of the range of services it provides - principally its education facilities, employment opportunities (eg hospital), the large commercial area and the availability of rental housing.
The diverse character of the small areas in the City, coupled with differences in residential supply, means that population and household outcomes differ widely. Significant supply has been identified in Ellenbrook and the Urban Growth Corridor in particular. Ellenbrook comprises both a Town Centre and a surrounding suburban area, which cater to different housing markets. The Urban Growth Corridor is a 1,100 hectare area to the west of the Swan Valley which will be a focus of residential development over the next 10-15 years, and encompasses suburbs such as Caversham, Brabham and Dayton. As at mid-2015, the very rapidly developing areas in the northern part of Ellenbrook and in the Urban Growth Corridor are contributing to very high rates of population growth in the City. In the medium to long term, the focus of growth is expected to shift to Bullsbrook and Gidgegannup.
Significant residential development is also expected in Midland City Centre, as the former railway workshops are converted to apartments and townhouses. This type of development is expected to attract rental households (young adults, couples and group households) taking advantage of proximity to employment, education and major retail/commercial facilities. Infill development is favoured in other parts of Midland whereby older housing stock on large blocks is redeveloped into medium density housing, though it is expected that the opportunities for this will diminish over time. There are also development opportunities on strategic sites in Guildford-Hazelmere and Swan View which will attract family households, possibly second homebuyers, to the City.
In contrast, there are parts of the City where population change is expected to be minimal. The Swan Valley, as a major wine producing region, is protected through statutory controls from major residential development. Suburbs that underwent their primary development phase during the 1990s, such as Swan View, Altone and Ballajura will experience stable, even declining population growth, as households mature. However it is assumed that these areas may become attractive to development in the long term as the dwelling stock ages. Overall, population growth in the City of Swan is assumed to be quite strong in the short term and moderate over time. In light of the assumptions underpinning this forecast, the City is assumed to reach a population of around 224,000 at 2036.
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