The BuildBonus grant, modelled off the federal government’s HomeBuilder program, initially gave Territorians access to a grant of $20,000 to build their own home.
While the initial scheme, which was launched in February 2019, was scheduled to end on 31 December 2020 or after the cap of 600 grants was hit, it has now been extended to 31 March 2021 with no cap, albeit at a reduced rate.
From 1 January 2021, Territorians can access a grant of $12,000 to put towards building their homes if they have entered into a contract to build or buy a home, or have started construction as an owner builder after 8 February 2019.
According to the NT government, the extension came after the federal government’s decision to continue its HomeBuilder program to the same date, with a matched reduction in grants funding.
As such, together with the Commonwealth’s contribution, Territorians may be able to put $27,000 in grants towards building their own property in the first quarter of this year and take advantage of home owner discount stamp duty concessions.
If they are a first home owner, they will also be able to apply for the $10,000 First Home Owners Grant.
The extension comes after the final quarter of 2020 saw a surge in applications for BuildBonus, with 67 submitted in October, 128 in November and 76 in December.
The month of November also saw the Territory record an almost 60 per cent increase in the number of residential building approvals compared with the month before.
Since March 2019, it is estimated that the BuildBonus grant has generated more than $220 million into the local economy since it was introduced.
Of the 720 applications received, more than 550 grants have been approved, with a total of $11 million paid.
So far, there have been seven BuildBonus applications in 2021.
Speaking of the extension, NT chief minister Michael Gunner said: “This grant has helped so many Territorians build their nest and make a break into the real estate market.
“It’s also kept tradies in work along the way, with plenty more jobs to flow this year.
“People are choosing to stay longer in the Territory, and more people are moving and choosing to call it home.
“The Territory’s real estate market is booming for the first time in years, and we want to capitalise on this opportunity and make the Territory the best place to build and own a home.”
Likewise, the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler, added: “The great take-up of the scheme we saw in late 2020 means there will be plenty of work in the pipeline for Territory tradies this year.
“The extension of this grant will also keep jobs flowing in the construction industry and help more Territorians realise their dream of building and owning their own home.
“This government has done whatever it takes to keep Territorians safe and in jobs throughout the pandemic.”
According to the NT government, there remains more than 4,000 undeveloped new residential lots held by developers across seven development fronts in Darwin and Palmerston, which could be utilised by BuildBonus recipients.
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Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.