HomeBuilder extension welcomed

The extension of the HomeBuilder Scheme will be a welcome move for Central Coast construction businesses as we continue to see demand for housing increase, says Business NSW Regional Director, Paula Martin.

“Since June there has been a hike in residential dwelling approvals for housing in Warnervale, Wadalba and Charmhaven, confirming the importance of the Northern Growth Corridor as a key development area,” she said.

“Flat and apartment approvals in Gosford and Patonga have also increased, with some record pricing reached, driven in part by increased demand from Sydneysiders wishing to make the move to the Coast through COVID-19.

“As working from home continues to be a normal part of our working arrangements, renovating or buying a new home will be attractive for both locals and Sydneysiders.

“We need to ensure that we have the right policy measures in place to accelerate developments to meet our growing needs and ensure that local builders are employed to deliver these projects.”

HomeBuilder is a Federal Government grant program for eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers, to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.

It is designed to boost the residential construction sector and employment through Covid economic recovery.

Martin said the construction industry employs more than 12,000 locals and a was a leading employer of apprentices and trainees providing a valuable start to young people.

“At the beginning of COVID-19, the construction industry was hit hard with local projects stalled or extended as a result of health restrictions.

“In the last quarter, however, we have started to see investment increase in both private and public developments,” Martin said.

The Housing Industry Authority (HIA) also applauds the Federal Government’s extension to the HomeBuilder funding package to boost economic activity on the Central Coast by generating jobs through more new home and renovation projects.

HIA Executive Director of the Hunter/Central Coast region, Craig Jennion, said adjustments to the scheme, especially those regarding price caps, would attract additional home buyers and support thousands of residential building industry workers, along with those in the manufacturing and retail sectors.

“Combined with the critical additional time to commence for both new and current applicants, giving builders six months from signing a contract to start work, HIA expects the take-up of the HomeBuilder grant will remain strong,” Jennion said.

“The latest building approvals data shows the start of the impact of stage one of HomeBuilder, with September recording the second strongest month of detached home approvals in the Hunter/Central Coast region since the Global Financial Crisis.

“Annualised detached home approvals are up three percent for the year to September compared to the year earlier, and 12 percent for the three months to September.

“The extension of HomeBuilder, combined with low interest rates and first home buyer incentives, will ensure that this demand is carried forward to 2021 and activity will continue throughout the year.

“This will ensure the residential building industry is on a strong footing and this contributes to the long term prospects for the entire region,” Jennion said.

Sue Murray