Last day of HomeBuilder - there'll be no more extensions
The federal government has ruled out a further extension to the HomeBuilder grant despite trade and material shortages blowing out construction deadlines.
Applications closed on Wednesday for the $15,000 grant, and industry heads had pushed for an extension to the build window to ensure eligible applicants didn't miss out.
To be eligible, applicants had to meet strict criteria relating to income and the value of works completed, and construction had to start within six months of a building contract being signed.
The program was extended once from its initial end date in December last year.
Burbank Group managing director Jarrod Sanfilippo argued earlier this month the build window should be extended to accommodate for COVID-19 related construction delays caused by difficulties importing steel, tiles, stone and timber.
"And extending the construction deadline would not mean more people accessing the grants, it would just ensuring that everyone who signed up for the grant receives it," he said.
But on Wednesday Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said no further extension to the scheme was being considered.
He said the grant had "done its job" by ensuring construction projects were in the pipeline and tradies stayed in jobs.
"HomeBuilder is expected to generate in excess of $18bn worth of construction projects at a time when our economy needs it," Mr Sukkar said.
RPM Real Estate figures show 6508 land sales were made across Melbourne and its surrounding regions in the December quarter.
It was estimated half of these were snapped up by buyers eligible for HomeBuilder.
Villawood Properties executive director Rory Costelloe said ending the grant program now was the right call.
He said the program had kept small and large construction companies afloat during the pandemic, but any further extension risked further driving up the cost of land and building projects.
"Ninety eight per cent of people will say to you, 'the grant needs to be extended or the world's going to fall on its head', but there just needs to be a pause because otherwise it could become inflationary," Mr Costelloe said.
Government figures show more than 96,720 applications were made, almost a third of which were made by Victorians.
Should all the grants be successful, the government outlay is estimated to be upwards of $2bn.
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Originally published as Last day of HomeBuilder: no more extensions