Homebuilder deadline extension comes to rescue of applicants
Housing Minister Julie Collins has announced the government will work with the states and territories to extend the deadline for people to submit their Homebuilder documentation, while funding for homelessness has also been expanded.
HomeBuilder recipients affected by weather and supply constraints around the country have won a reprieve, with the Federal Government extending the HomeBuilder documentation deadline for existing approved applicants.
The deadline was originally 30 April and will now be pushed out to 30 June, 2025.
The decision was widely welcomed by industry peak bodies.
Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said moving the deadline out by two years for submission of supporting documentation for those who have been affected by supply constraints and construction industry delays is the right thing to do.
“This, and the assistance of state and territory governments, will help approved applicants who are already in the scheme and have relied on it.
“The new home aspect of HomeBuilder was a remarkably successful job saver and confidence booster during and after the most severe health related lockdowns in more than a century.
“Retaining the positive promise of a scheme we hope is never needed again, is thoughtful public policy,” he said.
Maxwell Shifman, Urban Development Institute of Australia’s National President, said Sunday’s announcement (26 March) by the Federal Government to extend Homebuilder by two years is a welcome action that will ensure existing purchasers are not forced to default on construction contracts on projects impacted by pandemic induced delays.
“Without this decision, ordinary Australians, through no fault of their own, were in danger of losing not only their Homebuilder grant but also their home deposits, which have taken them years to save – putting them in a worse situation than before the pandemic,” Maxwell Shifman, UDIA National President said.
Homebuilder provided up to $25,000 in grants towards the construction of new homes and renovations.
It helped many Australians to get into homeownership, and many housing projects relied on Homebuilder supported purchasers to satisfy pre-sale requirements for construction loans.
“This extension will ensure Australians will not be negatively impacted financially, keeping their family home ownership aspirations alive and the industry now has the breathing space it needs to finish Homebuilder projects, following supply chain delays, COVID 19 shutdowns, and construction company failures that pushed timelines past the earlier completion deadline for Homebuilder,” Mr Shifman said.
“The extension to Homebuilder does not involve any additional expense to Government, it simply recognises that the challenges experienced by the construction industry have been outside anyone’s control.
To receive a $25,000 grant, people had to meet strict criteria, including:
- Spend between $150,000 and $750,000 renovating a home or building a new home
- Sign a contract between June 4 and December 31, 2020
- Be the registered owner on the title.
- The home must be their principal place of residence when completed or settled
Applications to apply for the grants closed on April 14, 2021.
Housing Minister Julie Collins said the extension would give Aussie homeowners more time to cash in on the $25,000 grant.
“Too many Australians stood to miss out on support they believed they would receive, through no fault of their own,” Ms Collins said.
“This decision will not cost the budget, but it will ease the burden on families right across the country who are relying on this grant.”
Homelessness funding increased
The Albanese Government announced on Friday (24 March) that it will deliver a $67.5 million boost to homelessness funding to states and territories over the next year, to help address the serious challenges revealed in the latest Census data.
The funding will assist homelessness services through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement in 2023-24 as the Albanese Government develops a new National Housing and Homelessness Plan to begin in 2024-25.
The plan will set out a 10-year strategy to inform future housing and homelessness policy in Australia.
Last week the Government also announced it would invest $91.7 million to help combat youth homelessness through the Reconnect program over the next three years.
In its first five years, returns from the fund will help deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes, including 4,000 homes for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence or older women at risk of homelessness.
Fund returns will also help address acute housing needs, including:
- $200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvement of housing in remote Indigenous communities
- $100 million for crisis and transitional housing options for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence and older women at risk of homelessness
- $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.