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Federal grant extension a boost

The popular HomeBuilder scheme that provides grants for new home builds and renovations is being extended to March next year.

HomeBuilder will be extended from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021 and is expected to support the construction or major rebuild of around 15,000 homes.

This is in addition to the 27,000 homes the scheme is already expected to support, bringing it to a total of around 42,000 homes across Australia, according to the Federal Government.

For all new build contracts signed between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021, eligible owner-occupier purchasers will receive a $15,000 HomeBuilder grant. For those with contracts signed this year, the grant amount is still $25,000.

In addition, the construction commencement deadline, which the State Government extended in November using its discretionary powers, is now six months instead of three.

ABN Group Managing Director Dale Alcock said at the time of the state extension that the state and federal grants had been responsible for the sharp increase in new home sales following a period of low activity.

“The sheer volume of new activity alongside workforce shortages has meant that, in many instances, we were not able to meet the previous criteria of three months from contract signed to site commencement,” he said.

“This is further impacted by current workforce shortages across a range of sectors related to the pre-build process, including valuations, lending approvals, construction and local government approvals.

“The new timeframe will alleviate the immense workforce pressure as we move through the volume of those seeking to build.”

Master Builders Association (MBA) Western Australia Executive Director John Gelavis said MBA had been calling for HomeBuilder to be extended for months.

“Additionally, we are pleased to see the application period has been extended,” he said.

“The Commonwealth Government’s extension of HomeBuilder and the State Government’s extension with further construction stimulus shows a strong resolve to achieve economic recovery, which supports leading states such as WA who have forged ahead with changes and further building stimulus measures to support our economy.”

The move was also praised by Housing Industry Association (HIA) Managing Director Graham Wolfe, who said the extension would provide a setup for thousands more Australians who aspire to homeownership.

“HIA’s forecasts predicted a significant drop in housing demand in 2021 as HomeBuilder projects finished,” he said.

“This extension will ensure that the demand is carried forward to 2021 and activity will continue throughout the year.

“This HomeBuilder extension brings welcome certainty and stability that will allow the Australian housing market to push forward into 2022, regain its pre-COVID-19 confidence and maintain a steady supply of housing at an affordable rate for Australians.”

HIA estimates that the extension will see at least 12,000 more new housing projects and a further 3000 to 5000 major renovation projects across the country.

“HomeBuilder has exceeded industry expectations for both new home projects and renovation work.” Mr Wolfe said.

“It has generated jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail, has supported Australians to take up homeownership and will continue to underpin the Australian economy in 2021 and beyond.”

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