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Friday, May 14, 2021
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ACT HomeBuilder uptake exceeds expectations

The uptake of the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme has exceeded expectations in the ACT, with more than 1,800 grants taken up so far. 

Master Builders ACT CEO, Michael Hopkins, said the positive impact of the scheme has been felt by the residential construction sector in Canberra, largely made up of small and family businesses.

“It’s given that sector of the industry a future pipeline of work and that means they can plan ahead for 2021 and … it gives their teams, their workers confidence that there’ll be employment for them long term.”

Of the 1,891 grants taken up in the Territory, 1,371 apply to new homes and 520 for rebuilds.

“I think the 1,891 applications in the ACT, that would have exceeded our expectations,” Mr Hopkins said.

“There was initially a slow uptake of the program, but that we believed had more to do with the normal home building process, which often takes quite a few months in the early stages to lock in designs and approvals and finance before the actual grant could be paid or the application could be made.”

Local developer JWLand has felt the impact of HomeBuilder, with their Braddon development SOL at Founders Lane eligible for the scheme.

“Since HomeBuilder was introduced last year we saw an increase in sales activity,” said JWLand’s project marketing manager, Nick Babic.

“The HomeBuilder program also helped generate a lot more enquiry in the market as buyers needed to determine which developments were eligible for the grant.”

He said sales for SOL largely came from first home buyers taking advantage of the grant, $25,000 for contracts signed before 31 December 2020, and $15,000 for those signed before 31 March 2021.

“We ended 2020 with strong sales results and have had a very positive start to 2021 as well.”

Mr Babic said the strong sales numbers have also boosted developers’ confidence in starting construction.

In order to be eligible for the HomeBuilder grant, building work must commence within six months of the contract date.

Nationally, there are reports people are missing out on the $25,000 grant due to builders being unable to comply with the scheme’s regulations, namely the six-month timeframe, a concern that’s been raised by Federal Labor’s shadow housing minister, Jason Clare.

“We were nervous before the announced extension of HomeBuilder that it was creating a last-minute rush,” said Mr Hopkins. “Locally that [extension] smoothed out a lot of those potential issues.”

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