Home renovation grants part of multi-billion-dollar stimulus package

04/06/2020

The Federal Government’s $688 million dollar HomeBuilder scheme will see new home construction and major renovation projects boosted, with cash grants offered to Australian householders primarily for larger projects and new home builds.

It is expected to be a massive relief to thousands of home builders and tradies across Australia, with the stimulus package designed to save the jobs of 800,000 tradesmen, as part of an economic recovery plan.

The HomeBuilder package is available to owner-occupiers who sign a contract to start building or substantially renovate their property after June 4, with grants of up to $25,000 allocated to home renovators.

The grants are open to those earning less than $125,000 per year or $2000,000 per couple and for new homes valued up to $750,000 including land, or renovations worth between $150,000 and $750,000, where the value of your existing property does not exceed $1.5 million.

The funds cannot be use on investment properties or to build swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages.

It is believed while some tradies have already experienced a slowing in projects, the new grants will prevent tradies from losing more work in the months to come – particularly in September when a slump in the industry is expected as JobKeeper dries up.

The HomeBuilder scheme spend is expected to not only encourage homeowners to undertake significant renovations but larger projects, such as new home builds, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a recent ninenews.com.au report.

“We are looking at a bit of drop off in that current home building that is going on. That is not good for tradies and not good for jobs,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The government will also discuss offering first home buyers a $40,000 incentive to buy or build a new home and broadening the scope for who can access the grants.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said they hoped the grant will turbocharge the economic recovery by propping up an industry that employs roughly 10 per cent of the workforce

“It is not just the sparky and the plumber and the carpenter on the building site, it is also the timber mill. It is also the appliance manufacturer for the new kitchen. It is also those who help with the materials that go into the bathroom,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer, Denita Wawn said HomeBuilder will be a lifeline for an industry facing a valley of death in the coming months.

“It will mean more new homes, more small businesses and jobs are protected and provide a stronger bridge to economic recovery for our country. Based on the Government’s estimated 27,000 grants, we think the scheme will be used for $10 billion in building activity, supporting the viability of 368,000 small builders and tradies – the businesses which employ 800,000 people in communities around Australia,” she said.  

“Supporting the home building industry is essential to strengthening the economy and helping Australia recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Residential building activity gives back more than double to the communities that sustain it with every $1 invested in home building activity providing $3 to the wider economy.”  

“This means that HomeBuilder will provide a boost for thousands of tradies; the cafes, pubs, and ute dealerships that they frequent; as well as the thousands of building supply businesses that depend on the industry. The scheme is well targeted and should maximise the number of builders, tradies, workers, apprentices and households that will benefit,” Ms Wawn said. 

The Government has listened to Master Builders’ call for HomeBuilder to include grants for both new home builds and renovations, according to Ms Wawn, who said the EY modelling commissioned by Master Builders shows that this stimulus mix will deliver the best return on investment for taxpayers. 

“The eligibility criteria mean that the vast majority of Australians will be able to access the scheme. More than 80 per cent of households have income of $200,000 or less. The scheme is structured to get building activity going immediately and to provide safeguards around quality and consumer protection.”

“The building industry is simply too important to the economy and living standards to allow to collapse. It is the nation’s second largest industry, provides the most full-time jobs, trains the most apprentices and is 98 per cent made up of small businesses,” Ms Wawn said.