HomeBuilder construction deadline extended
The federal government has extended the deadline to begin construction under the HomeBuilder grants program by an additional 12 months.
Those who were eligible for the grant before its March 31 conclusion - some 121,000 building applications, according to the government - will now have 18 months after signing contracts to commence construction.
This is a year longer than previously allowed.
"This extension in the commencement date for which the first slab can be laid is a very important step," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters.
"It will help ensure a pipeline of economic activity.
"This program has grown over time because more people have decided to use this grant to fulfill their own dreams ... you have to remember when we put this program in place to start with, jobs were being lost on building sites across the country."
Mr Frydenberg said the scheme would cost the government $2.5 billion but had helped tip some $30 billion into Australia's construction sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approvals to build private homes hit a record high in February, fuelled by HomeBuilder and record low-interest rates.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said since the introduction of HomeBuilder in June 2020, private house approvals have risen by almost 70 percent.
The HomeBuilder scheme was introduced during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and late last year was extended to March, although the size of grants was trimmed from $25,000 to $15,000.
The Property Council of Australia on Saturday welcomed the deadline change, saying HomeBuilder had been an "economic bullseye" and the extension would ease pressure on home builders to begin construction quickly.