The government has announced grants of $25,000 for some 27,000 eligible owner-occupiers, pumping an estimated $680 million into the residential construction sector.
This latest package is expected to not only benefit small builders and tradies, but also the cafés, pubs and ute dealerships that they frequent, including thousands of building supply businesses that depend on the industry.
Under the scheme, from 4 June until 31 December 2020, all eligible owner-occupiers, not just first home buyers, will have access to $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing one, under the condition that construction is contracted to commence within three months of the contract date.
There are several other conditions, including income caps of $125,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples based on their latest assessable income.
A national dwelling price cap of $750,000 will apply for new home builds, and a renovation price range of $150,000 up to $750,000 will apply to renovating an existing home with a current value of no more than $1.5 million.
Master Builders Australia has applauded the government’s scheme, calling it a “massive relief to the thousands of home builders and tradies around the country”.
“HomeBuilder will be a lifeline for an industry facing a valley of death in the coming months. It will mean more new homes, more small businesses and jobs are protected and provide a stronger bridge to economic recovery for our country,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia, said.
Based on the government’s estimated number of grants, Master Builders is confident it will spark $10 billion in building activity, supporting the viability of 368,000 small builders and tradies.
“Supporting the home building industry is essential to strengthening the economy and helping Australia recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” Ms Wawn said.
“Residential building activity gives back more than double to the communities that sustain it, with every $1 invested in home building activity providing $3 to the wider economy.”
Ms Wawn described the scheme as “well targeted”, noting it should maximise the number of builders, tradies, workers, apprentices and households that will benefit.
“The eligibility criteria mean that the vast majority of Australians will be able to access the scheme. More than 80 per cent of households have income of $200,000 or less,” Ms Wawn said.
According to the government, the HomeBuilder scheme will be implemented via a National Partnership Agreement, signed by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.
Ms Wawn opined that this will streamline its roll-out.
“The building industry is simply too important to the economy and living standards to allow to collapse. It is the nation’s second-largest industry, provides the most full-time jobs, trains the most apprentices and is 98 per cent made up of small businesses,” she concluded.