‘Homebuilder’ Program to Help Singles and Families Buy, Build, Fix Homes

June 4, 2020 Updated: June 4, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the government’s “HomeBuilder” program aimed to stimulate the building and construction industry by providing grants to families and individuals that want to build a new home or renovate an old one to help the country bounce back from the economic impact of the CCP virus pandemic.

From June 4 until 31 December 2020, “HomeBuilder” will provide $25,000 to eligible families or individuals buying a new house or substantially renovating an old one. Because it is a stimulus measure construction would need to commence within three months of the contract date.

Unlike existing schemes, “HomeBuilder” is not restricted to first home buyers.

The prime minister said on June 4: “It’s going to make a big difference for the economy that will depend on the building industry, the residential home building industry continuing to move forward over the next 6 to 12 months.”

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference at a residential building site in Googong on April 04, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

“HomeBuilder” applicants are subject to income caps of $125,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples. The price cap for new builds is $750,000, and renovations must range between $150,000 and $750,000 for properties valued no more than $1.5 million.

The government’s press release stated that “HomeBuilder” will support 140,000 direct jobs, 1 million indirect jobs for tradies and the residential sector, including businesses and sole-traders builders, contractors, property developers, construction materials manufacturers, engineers, designers, and architects.

“Whether you’re spending money on a renovation or you’re building a home, what this is about is the jobs of the people who work on those projects,” Morrison told reporters in Googong, New South Wales.

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A welder works on the roof of a new house construction at Karratha in the North-West of Western Australia on June 17, 2008. (Greg Wood/AFP via Getty Images)

The head of the Master Builders Australia Denita Wawn said tradies, builders, and suppliers are feeling a sense of relief around the country.

“We were facing a 40 percent decline across the country in residential home building, which would have equated to nearly around about 450,000 job losses over the next 6 months,” said Wawn, thanking the federal government for its support.

The economic impact of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus (commonly known as novel coronavirus) pandemic has to lead to 2.6 million people either losing their jobs or having their hours cut in the last two months. This has meant fewer homes being built and less construction work.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that national employment is down by 7.3 percent and in the building and construction industry by 6.5 percent.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has downplayed the “HomeBuilder” program, arguing that it is restrictive and poorly targeted. He says the money would be better used to fund social and affordable housing projects.

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