The building and construction industry in South Australia has welcomed moves by the South Australia government to stimulate residential construction by offering grants of up to $8,500 for home owners to build new homes and a doubling of the value of the existing first home owners grant for new homes, saying the moves will give a badly needed shot in the arm to a home building industry currently experiencing its worst conditions in more than a decade.
Under new arrangements announced by state premier Jay Weatherill:
- The existing First Home Owner Grant, which was recently extended past its expiration date earlier this year, will be increased from $7,000 to $15,000 for buyers of new homes. This grant will be ongoing.
- Any person, whether a first home buyer or an existing home owner, who purchases a new or newly-built home worth up to $400,000 will be eligible for a new Housing Construction Grant of $8,500, with the grant phasing out progressively at any value above this threshold.
- For first home buyers who purchase existing homes, the current grant of $7,000 will be reduced to $5,000 and will end on June 30, 2014.
The moves have been welcomed by building and construction industry groups, who have long argued that grants which are targeted specifically toward purchases of newly built homes and are not limited to first-home owners provide the best value in terms of stimulating home building activity, addressing the housing shortage and improving housing affordability.
Property Council of Australia (SA Division) executive director Nathan Paine says he expects the new policy to prove a ‘game changer’ which will “instil a sense of confidence in homebuyers and get money flowing around the economy again.”
Housing Industry Association SA regional director Robert Harding says the changes will help end a two year recession in the state’s residential construction industry.
“The property market is facing a large number of issues affecting the residential market and the jobs that go with it,” Harding says. “This action by the State Government, along with the promise to consider Private Certification and more rapid approval processes, should go a long way to restoring public confidence in the housing market.”
The latest moves, which come on top of earlier announced stamp duty concessions for the purchase of new, off-the-plan apartments in the Adelaide CBD and North Adelaide as well as moves by the state government to fast track public-sector construction projects, follow an extensive marketing campaign from the state’s property industry highlighting the economic importance of the building and construction sector as well as impact and value of the built environment upon the everyday lives of ordinary residents in the state.