WA’s Building Bonus scheme deadline extended to allow more time to begin construction

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The WA Government has extended the deadline for when construction can begin on new home builds to give more people access to a $20,000 grant.

Under the Building Bonus scheme announced in June as part of its COVID-19 recovery, eligible WA homebuyers — both owner-occupiers and investors — building a new home have been able to access the grant.

But they had to have signed a contract by December 31 this year and begun construction before June 30 next year.

Today WA Premier Mark McGowan said the construction deadline had been extended by six months to December 31, 2021.

“So that gives home buyers and builders a longer period in which to start work. This is what the industry has asked for,” Mr McGowan said.

“The industry … have said this will fix the problem, ensure that more people can get access to the grant, make sure that we get more contracts underway as soon as possible and ensure we get work underway next year.

“We expect thousands more people will now be able to sign up to home building contracts and receive the $20,000 grant.

Extra $65m to go towards building stimulus scheme

The scheme is not means tested and there are no property value caps.

Mr McGowan said $147 million had already been allocated to the scheme and its extension would cost an additional $65 million.

“It’s a big commitment by the State Government towards this program but it is ensuring that billions of dollars of housing constructions is undertaken, tradies are kept employed, businesses keep operating, apprentices (are) being engaged,” he said.

The Premier said many builders had closed their books and stopped taking on new clients because of the June commencement date, and the extension would allow them to take on more jobs and create a pipeline of work until 2022.

He said the State Government had also asked the Commonwealth to extend its $25,000 home building and renovation grant, introduced around the same time.

‘A really sensible move’: housing industry

Housing Industry Association (HIA WA) executive director Cath Hart said the extension was a “win for consumers, jobs and WA’s economic recovery”.

“It’s a really sensible move that will smooth out the workflow,” she said.

“The benefit is really around having a much more sustainable pipeline of work. We were looking at having to get all those slabs on the ground really quickly, but what this will mean is that construction activity can extend right into 2022.”

Ms Hart said it would mean some builders who had been forced to turn customers away would be able to return to those clients to do the job.

“We think that this extension will make it entirely possible for all the builders to deliver the work that is in their pipeline. We don’t expect that we’ll need another extension after this,” she said.

According to the HIA, WA new homes sales increased by 211 per cent between May and June this year following the announcement of both federal and state grants.

By Eliza Laschon (Original ABC Article)