NEW HOMEBUILDER GRANT: Hughes Elite Builders owner Mark Hughes said he’s unsure the grant will be popular on the Southern Downs.
NEW HOMEBUILDER GRANT: Hughes Elite Builders owner Mark Hughes said he’s unsure the grant will be popular on the Southern Downs.

Reno dreams dashed as HomeBuilder grant fails to deliver

THE new HomeBuilder payment will do little for the struggling local construction industry, according to Southern Downs builder Mark Hughes.

With strict parameters inhibiting eligibility, Mr Hughes said it will be particularly ineffective in encouraging residents to renovate their homes.

"People have more valuable things to spend their money on than a reno on their house if they've survived this long without it," he said.

"Personally I don't think in Warwick there's that many people that will be able to sacrifice that amount of money to spend."

Yesterday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $25,000 for new builds if the property is valued at $750,000 or less.

The new payment was designed to assist over one million construction workers through the pandemic.

Those looking to renovate will also be up for the grant provided they are already spending over $150,000 and the property was previously valued at less than $1.5 million.

Applicants for Home builder must also meet the following two income caps to qualify for the scheme.

• Singles must be earning $125,000 or less based on their 2018/19 tax return or later.

• Couples must have a combined income of less than $200,000 based on their tax returns.

The cash splash will be offered for any contracts entered into between June 4 and December 31.

With the average house on the Southern Downs costing $350,000, Mr Hughes said residents are "better off buying a new home".

Online readers responded with criticism for the conditions of the grant.

"So if I have $150,000 I will get an extra $25,000 from the government, but if I don't then I won't get a cent to help with renos?" Shannon Hart said.

"Not everyone can afford to buy a million dollar home, between my husband and I we don't even earn $125k a year."

"What a joke," reader Liam Manthey said.

And while they could be more likely to take up the grant to purchase a new home build, Mr Hughes said there's a lack of "good quality blokes" in town at the moment.

Since March one million jobs in the sector have been threatened, and Mr Hughes' employees were no exception.

"We've had five new builds and two renovations postponed since March and as a result we've had to let some guys go," he said.

"It is hard to put people off when you've got good workers and blokes who are really keen to learn."

But despite his concern over its effectiveness, Mr Hughes is hopeful it will signify the beginning of more long term support for the industry.

"Hopefully new builds take off a bit more because they're sort of in a lull at the moment,

anything will be a bonus I think."

For more details on the grant, click here.