11 March 2021

Homebuyers need to act quickly to save $15,000

| Karyn Starmer
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Kiara apartments complex in Narrabundah.

Kiara apartments in Narrabundah is one of many developments in Canberra that qualify for HomeBuilder. Photo: Supplied.

Homebuyers considering a purchase in the next year are being encouraged to act quickly before HomeBuilder – the grant bought in by the Federal Government as a stimulatory measure in response to COVID-19 – ends on 31 March.

The HomeBuilder grant has seen a boom in qualifying real estate sales in the ACT.

Independent real estate’s executive director of project marketing, Wayne Harriden, says sales of their qualifying properties have been strong, describing the past two weekends as huge.

“The $15,000 contributed by the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder grant effectively saves buyers 12 months’ waiting to build up their deposit,” he says.

“Many of our qualifying properties – such as DKSN in Dickson, Otto in Denman and Summerfield in Taylor – have been selling out. Many properties will not settle for 12 to 18 months so this is an amazing opportunity, but buyers will need to move quickly and commit in the next couple of weeks.”

The HomeBuilder grant is a federal initiative administered by state and territory governments. Initially offering a $25,000 grant to eligible owner-occupiers who build a new home or substantially renovate an existing one, the scheme was revised from 1 January, 2021, to offer a $15,000 grant until 31 March.

The scheme is subject to caps on property price and income, with the grant being available for singles earning $125,000 or under, and couples earning $200,000 or under.

Each applicant must live in the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six months immediately on completion of construction, renovation or settlement. In all cases, construction cannot have commenced before 4 June, 2020.

Investment properties are excluded from HomeBuilder, and construction must be undertaken by a building service contractor who is licenced in the ACT.

READ ALSO Canberra home prices surge 2 per cent in boom market

According to Housing Industry Association economist Angela Lillicrap, the number of construction loans to owner-occupiers in the three months to January 2021 was 45.8 per cent higher than the previous quarter, more than double the same time the previous year, reflecting a rush to finalise contracts to build a new home before the end of the HomeBuilder grant.

ACT Property Council executive director Adina Cirson says HomeBuilder has been the workhorse of Australia’s economic recovery.

“The success of the HomeBuilder grants program demonstrates the power of residential construction to drive economic activity, create jobs and get more Australians into their own homes,” she says.

“We recognise the government is unlikely to extend the HomeBuilder program and we understand this will put pressure on the industry during the coming weeks. However, the program will keep thousands of Australians in jobs for many months as HomeBuilder-inspired new projects build out.”

Artist's impression of contemporary home in South Jerrabomberra.

Contemporary, skillion-roofed three-bedroom home and land packages are on sale at South Jerrabomberra. Image: Supplied.

Village Building Company chief executive officer Travis Doherty says first home buyers in particular have benefitted from the scheme.

“The response has been really positive,” he says. “People have been able to put down a deposit to buy a block of land and build a house now, rather than wait until they had more savings.

“To be honest, I was a bit sceptical of the scheme at first but it has been phenomenally successful. HomeBuilder has given buyers confidence and, in turn, it has given the industry some much needed confidence at a time when no-one was sure what impact the COVID-19 pandemic was going to have.

“We have had a number of developments qualify for HomeBuilder, including South Jerrabomberra. We made sure the development fits all the criteria and people will start settling from May onwards. It is really exciting.”

For more information on the scheme, visit HomeBuilder. If you have any questions on qualifying for the scheme or want to look at some of the complying properties on offer, contact Independent and Village Building Co.

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