The Federal Government will give eligible Australians $25,000 to build or substantially renovate their homes, in an effort to boost demand in the construction sector and keep builders employed.
- The scheme will give $25,000 grants to eligible homeowners, but recipients will need to spend at least $150,000 of their own money
- The Government hopes it will ease a predicted downturn in construction demand
- Labor and the Greens have called for the Government to invest more in social housing
Industry bodies are painting a grim picture of the second half of this year, warning that the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic could see the number of building projects in the pipeline plummet, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work in a “valley of death” scenario.
In an attempt to boost new projects between now and the end of the year, the Government will give $25,000 grants to owner-occupiers for certain works on their homes.
But eligibility for the Government’s program, which it has dubbed “HomeBuilder”, will be restricted to substantial renovations and the construction of new homes, with recipients required to spend at least $150,000 before being eligible.
The grants will be means-tested to exclude couples making more than $200,000 per year and individuals making more than $125,000 per year, while limits will also be placed on the value of the property the grants go towards.
New builds will be capped at $750,000, while renovations can cost anywhere between $150,000 and $750,000, but will only be subsidised if the house being altered is valued at less than $1.5 million.
The scheme will not apply to investment properties or owners who intend on building or renovating on their own without the help of builders.
There had been concern from some in the industry that the Government money would incentivise “cowboys” to rush into the market with little regard for health and safety, which the scheme takes steps to address.
They include requiring that all eligible builders be licensed or registered before the Government’s announcement, keeping the timeframe for the scheme to six months, and having tighter eligibility for the program.