HomeBuilder has driven the highest level of new home commencements in more than 20 years, the government has boasted, as the sun sets on the stimulus measure.
Applications for HomeBuilder closed on Wednesday, 14 April 2021, but the government has indicated that it expects the scheme to continue to support the residential construction sector through 2021 and into 2022.
A media statement from the federal government Minister for Housing, Michael Sukkar, flagged that the number of new home commencements increased by 26.6 per cent to deliver 33,761 dwellings in the December quarter.
While it has delivered record results to date, Tim Reardon, the chief economist at the Housing Industry Association, believes the ultimate peak has not yet been reached.
“We anticipate that commencements will reach a new peak in mid-2021,” he’s forecast.
“This will see a very strong level of building activity into the middle of 2022.”
For Mr Sukkar, the construction pipeline “is protecting the more than 1 million jobs reliant on a strong residential sector”, while Mr Reardon sees first home buyers as the biggest beneficiaries of the fiscal measure brought in to combat the COVID-19-induced downturn that occurred at this time last year.
Highlighting that, Mr Reardon stated that “the segment of the market that has driven the bulk of this record level of demand is first home buyers who have accounted for over 40 per cent of all loans in recent months”.
“This contrasts with the investor-driven demand of the previous cycle,” he said.
While the scheme has now closed to new applicants, prior applicants do have until 30 April 2023 to submit all supporting documentation related to their building project or renovation to receive the payment.
***UPDATE*** Since the publishing of this article, Mr Sukkar and Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, have announced they will be extending the construction commencement requirement for HomeBuilder from six months to 18 months for all existing applicants.