27/12/2020 | Rob Lucas MLC | More Jobs

Thousands of South Australian home builders and renovators are rushing to take advantage of the Federal Government’s popular HomeBuilder grant scheme – with only 5 days left to apply for the larger $25,000 grant - as local builders hire hundreds of new staff just to keep up with demand.

There have been 5,851 applications for the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant so far, of which 461 have been paid and another 757 have received conditional approval.

Of these, some are also receiving the State Government’s $15,000 First Home Owner Grant – providing them a combined $40,000 head start into home ownership.

Hundreds more applications are expected over the coming months (and many in the coming days) with the Federal Government announcing the HomeBuilder scheme will be extended beyond December 31 – with a $15,000 grant for eligible new builds and renovations – from January 1 to the end of March.

Treasurer Rob Lucas welcomed the “absolute boom” in housing construction activity as a significant stimulus for a critical industry that supports thousands of local jobs, with SA being one of the first states in the nation to sign-up to administer the scheme back in June.

“This program is going gangbusters, with a huge surge in demand for grants from South Australians wanting to build a new home or renovate an existing property,” said Mr Lucas.

“HomeBuilder is turbo-charging our state’s critical housing and construction sector, which supports thousands of local jobs – from plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers to electricians, architects and other suppliers.”

“We know local builders and trades have been rushed off their feet, and we are delighted the Federal Government has extended the scheme beyond the end of the year, with a $15,000 grant for eligible South Australians to the end of March.

“In fact, South Australia’s largest home builder The Hickinbotham Group, for example, has employed an extra 85 staff to help meet the surge in demand from HomeBuilder applicants.”

Of the 5,851 applications for the grant in SA, 4,034 are for new builds, 834 are off-the-plan and 983 are for substantial renovations. In June, the Federal Government had estimated the initiative would lead to about 2000 commencements in SA.

It comes as ABS figures show total housing loans to owner occupiers (excluding refinancing) for SA reached $10 billion in the year to October (up 13 per cent) - including a record $1.1 billion for the month of October alone.

The number of commitments for construction or purchase of new dwellings (679) was also a record for SA in October.

Under the HomeBuilder grant scheme, contracts must be signed between June 4 and midnight on December 31 (inclusive) this year for the $25,000 grant and between January 1 and midnight on March 31 (inclusive) for the $15,000 grant, and construction now must commence within 6 months of the contract date.

Eligible applicants will be paid the grant as follows:

* For new builds, the grant will be paid at the first progress payment when the footings are laid;

* For substantial renovations, the grant will be paid once at least $150,000 of the contract price has been paid in respect of the renovation; and

* For new home/off the plan contracts, the grant will be paid on evidence of the title transferring to the new owner

* Applications must be received by RevenueSA by 14 April 2021.

*The application process allows for conditional approval where all other criteria have been met, in advance of evidence that construction has commenced within 6 months of the contract being signed.

For new builds, construction is taken to have commenced when site works including excavation for the approved building works is complete.

For more information and to download the application form: visit

https://www.revenuesa.sa.gov.au/HomeBuilder