Within two weeks of HIA’s public call to action, which was supported by clear evidence of the predicted slowdown in activity, the HomeBuilder grant was announced.
Clearly, the HomeBuilder grant is not intended to address all of the concerns home builders have been facing since COVID-19 struck, but it will provide an important boost to consumer sentiment, consumer activity and hence to home builders, for both new homes and renovation work.
In the Prime Minister’s words, it’s about jobs, jobs and jobs.
It’s about creating activity for the remainder of 2020 and locking in a level of forward activity into 2021.
From all reports, so far the outcome for consumer sentiment and activity has been very positive.
There were however some early details about the grant that were concerning, and HIA took on board feedback from members to seek changes that would improve the ability of homeowners to access the scheme.
Some of these changes were provided in mid-June. Applicants will be able to request an extension of time to the three-month commencement requirement, sales (conveyancing) contracts are eligible in the same way as a building contract, and the payments will be managed in a similar way to the current First Home Owner’s grant.
These and other details are still being confirmed through the state and territory revenue offices.
While not all home buyers nor all home building projects will be eligible for the grant, the near $700million funding program provides a strong injection of consumer incentive.
HomeBuilder will make a vital difference to activity in the next six months, but the prospect for home building in 2021 is still very unclear.
HIA will continue to monitor activity and highlight with all governments the importance of home building to Australia’s economic prosperity. Our industry is too big to ignore and too important to let down.