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One of the government’s most successful schemes, HomeBuilder, has been extended, bringing the total level of expected government support for the construction sector to $2.5 billion.
The federal government has extended the construction commencement requirement under its HomeBuilder scheme, meaning existing applicants will have an additional 12 months to commence their build.
More than 121,000 Aussies that applied for the grant, which is expected to support around $30 billion of residential construction projects, now have 18 months to start construction from the date that the building contract was signed.
All applicants who signed contracts during the HomeBuilder eligibility period between 4 June 2020 and 31 March 2021 will have this extension applied to them.
“Extending the construction commencement requirement will smooth out the HomeBuilder construction pipeline, support jobs in the construction sector, and ensure that existing applicants facing difficulties in starting construction on their new builds and renovations are not denied a HomeBuilder grant due to circumstances outside their control,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
According to the Treasurer, builders have been facing supply constraints caused by COVID-19, including delays in global supply chains and recent natural disasters.
Master Builders Australia applauded the government’s move, noting that 70 per cent of builders have been hit by delays and cost increases for key trades and building products.
“This also created the risk that thousands of HomeBuilder applicants could miss out on the grants because builders could not meet the construction start date requirements,” CEO Denita Wawn said.
“Thanks to this move by the federal government, thousands of HomeBuilder applicants around the country can now breathe a huge sigh of relief.”
Applications for HomeBuilder closed on Wednesday, 14 April 2021.
A media statement from the federal government Minister for Housing, Michael Sukkar, flagged that the number of new home commencements increased by 26.6 per cent to deliver 33,761 dwellings in the December quarter.
While it has delivered record results to date, Tim Reardon, the chief economist at the Housing Industry Association, believes the ultimate peak has not yet been reached.
“We anticipate that commencements will reach a new peak in mid-2021,” he’s forecast.
“This will see a very strong level of building activity into the middle of 2022.”