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Stimulus grants on WA residential building market

August 02, 2020

From historic lows to historic highs. That’s how I’m describing the impact of the stimulus grants on WA residential building market. The huge response to the grants — and their tight delivery time frames — has highlighted some of the pressure points for industry, particularly around local governments, valuations, land availability and trades.

In recent weeks, I’ve been advocating to Government to relieve some of the pressure on industry by fine-tuning aspects of the grants which has seen three recent wins for HIA members.

Notably, our lobbying persuaded the WA government to change its definition of ‘commencement’ ‘slab down’ in WA for both grants, to “significant earthworks, excavations or physical building works commence”, and for a substantial renovation under both grants, commencement now means “when the works under the renovation contract commences”. 

We’ve also secured confirmation that the WA Government will allow applicants for HomeBuilder grant to seek  a three-month extension of time between contract and commencement due to unforeseen factors outside the control of the parties. This is a big win which will effectively align the timeframes of HomeBuilder to WA’s BuildingBonus.

The WA Government have also relieved some pressure on land supply issues, advising that if the building contract is not in the name of the registered owner of the land, applicants for the Building Bonus can provide supporting evidence to establish it is a bona fide arrangement, such as being an eligible transferee on a transfer of land document. We will continue lobbing for a similar treatment for HomeBuilder.

The other issue members are concerned about is local government delays in issuing permits and approvals due to the surge in work. My sincere thanks to all members who have shared with HIA details of where their June sales occurred. We have compiled this feedback and last Friday, I wrote to relevant local governments to advise them of the total number of sales that are coming their way and to seek their assurance that they will adequately resource permitting and approvals to respond to the increased level of work. I will also share this with our Ministerial stakeholders. This data will be updated monthly and I will continue to share it with relevant shires and Ministers so that we can assist them plan for the demand, and also to ensure they are accountable.

We have also held a series of roundtables with the large valuers in WA to understand their perspectives on the issues around valuation in a volatile and transitioning market.

We’ll continue to work on these issues on behalf of members.

The stimulus packages have also created opportunities within the Residential Construction Industry Employment market. HIA have seen an increase in enquiries for Carpentry Apprentices over the last 8 weeks.

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