The federal government has announced its HomeBuilder scheme, previously set to expire at the end of 2020, has been extended through to 31 March 2021 – albeit with several key adjustments.
Whereas the initial iteration of HomeBuilder gave $25,000 grants to eligible Australians either building a new home or renovating an existing one, that rate will be lowered to $15,000 at the start of the new year.
Additionally, the government has raised the construction value caps of the scheme; Urban Taskforce CEO Tom Forrest explained why those changes are so crucial.
“The HomeBuilder scheme was limited in its original design because of the price caps that resulted in very limited applicability in the main markets – Sydney and Melbourne,” Forrest said.
“[Now] the Morrison Government has increased the eligibility cap for NSW and Victoria from $750,000 to $950,000 and $850,000 respectively.
“The revised scheme will support the production of new homes, reducing upward pressure on prices. It is a welcome boost for new home buyers and will support thousands of property and construction industry jobs.”
The Urban Taskforce group also welcomed the extension of the requirement to commence construction work from three months from time of application to six months, but did dub it “disappointing” that the $25,000 grant value will drop to $15,000 for applications made between 1 January and 31 March 2021.
Housing Industry Association (HIA) managing director Graham Wolfe joined the conversation, agreeing that extending HomeBuilder was a “necessary measure” to support the Australian economy into 2021 and beyond.
Like Forrest, Wolfe agreed the adjustments to the price caps in New South Wales and Victoria will attract additional home buyers to the scheme.
“Combined with the critical additional time to commence for both new and current applicants, giving builders six months from signing a contract to start work, HIA expects the take up of the grant will remain strong,” he said.
“This HomeBuilder extension brings welcome certainty and stability that will allow the Australian housing market to push forward into 2022, regain its pre-COVID confidence and maintain a steady supply of housing at an affordable rate for Australians.
“HomeBuilder has been an incredibly successful program, creating and maintaining jobs in the residential building industry, as well as keeping the supply of housing at a sustainable level during 2020,” Wolfe finished.