The extension for applications for the HomeBuilder program has now concluded, having closed at midnight on Wednesday (14 April 2021).
The scheme, which was extended last year to provide a $15,000 grant for building contracts (new builds and substantial renovations) signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021 (inclusive), aims to provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.
It has a secondary aim of assisting the residential construction sector by encouraging the commencement of new home builds and renovations.
While applications for both iterations closed on Wednesday, applicants have until 30 April 2023 to submit all supporting documentation (such as invoices for work done, and proof that construction has started) to their state or territory revenue office.
The supporting documentation will allow for payment of the HomeBuilder grant, according to the Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing, and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing, Michael Sukkar MP.
Mr Sukkar outlined that the timing of the payment will depend on the type of application (for example, whether it relates to a new build, substantial renovation or off-the-plan/new home purchase).
For new builds, grants will be paid after construction has commenced and the first progress payment has been made to the builder.
For “substantial renovations”, grants will be paid after construction has commenced and at least $150,000 of the contract price has been paid in respect of the renovation.
For off-the-plan/new home purchases, grants will be paid after the applicant’s name is registered on title.
Mr Sukkar commented: “The HomeBuilder program has been highly successful and has achieved its purpose of supporting the residential construction industry and assisting Australians build and renovate their homes.
“HomeBuilder will continue to support the residential construction sector through 2021 and into 2022.”
He added that the states and territories have “played an invaluable role in administering HomeBuilder”, outlining that any questions relating to HomeBuilder applications should be directed to the relevant revenue office.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the latest data for building activity (covering the December 2020 quarter) shows that the number of construction commencements on detached houses hit a 20-year high of 33,761.
Meanwhile, the ABS data showed that the value of total building work done rose 0.1 per cent to $29.4 billion in the December quarter, in seasonally adjusted terms.
According to the ABS, the rise was driven by new residential building work done, which increased by 2.6 per cent to $15.4 billion.
Commenting on the ABS figures, Mr Sukkar said: “HomeBuilder has driven the highest level of new home commencements in more than 20 years.
“This record level of new home construction is protecting the more than 1 million jobs reliant on a strong residential construction sector.”
He concluded: “The number of first home buyers are at their highest level since 2009 with the support of HomeBuilder, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and the First Home Super Saver Scheme.
“The Morrison government is delivering on our commitment to support the construction industry and first home buyers alike.”
[Related: House commencements at 20-year high: ABS]
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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.