HomeBuilder: Australia faces $2bn-plus bill as applications tipped to top 100k

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The federal government is facing more than $2bn in HomeBuilder payments, despite initially estimating it would cost $680m.

The federal government is bracing to shell out more than $2bn in HomeBuilder grants with applications numbers potentially set to top 100,000 by the end of March.

At its launch in June last year the government had anticipated 27,000 Australian households would access a grant, and budgeted the uncapped program at about $680m.

Figures released to News Corp this week show 88,264 had already applied by February 26; this would account for more than $2.075bn in grants if all successful.

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Those who applied for a grant last year will receive $25,000, while those who applied this year will get $15,000 — provided they meet strict criteria relating to income, the value of works completed and commence construction within six months of signing a building contract.

But volume home builder Burbank Group this week revealed delays to timber, steel, stone and tiles being shipped from overseas could combine with a tradie shortage to cost some applicants the government funds they were relying on.

Construction workers cooperating while analyzing housing project in apartment.

Without a construction window extension, trades and material shortages could mean some HomeBuilder applicants miss out.

Managing director Jarrod Sanfilippo said extending the construction window would address the issue, without increasing applications.
“It would just ensure that everyone who signed up for the grant receives it,” Mr Sanfilippo said.

Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar said the government expected application numbers to rise, and noted the government “will continue to work with the sector to maximise the economic impact of this highly effective program”.

“We look forward to building upon the more than 88,000 applications already received, which means more work for our tradies,” Mr Sukkar said.

roofer worker builder working on roof structure at construction site

Homes are already under construction around the nation as the program supercharges the industry.

Housing Industry Association chief economist Tim Reardon said there would be a surge in applications late this month, as builders and homebuyers had delayed signing contracts to give themselves to the end of September to commence construction.

“I would imagine by the end of March it will have exceeded 100,000 applications,” Mr Reardon said.

Melbourne and Sydney would see the largest uptick.

A similar late surge occurred in December, before the $25,000 grant was swapped for a $15,000 one on January 1 this year.

CM New Estates - generic image - Home under construction

Housing construction is expected to be in overdrive until mid next year.

State governments have also revealed the HomeBuilder hot spots where tradies and building materials will be most in demand.

Victoria’s Wyndham municipality is the national leader having already received 2138 applications — at least 1400 of these are in the Tarneit and Hoppers Crossing postcode area.

Checking Construction Site

The billions of dollars in federal funds will support a range of employment.

Nationwide, there were 75,143 applications by December 31, meaning up to $1.878bn in $25,000 grants could be paid.

If applications top 100,000 it could add a further 25,000 payments of $15,000 to the federal credit card, about $375m, though at present the figure is $196.8m.

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nathan.mawby@news.com.au

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