26 April 2023

Anxious off-the-plan home buyers wait on Territory to confirm HomeBuilder grant extension

| Ian Bushnell
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Apartments and townhouses.

Off-the plan buyers have been left in limbo about the HomeBuilder grant. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Nervous off-the-plan home buyers are waiting on the ACT Government to confirm that applications for the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant will be extended to 2025 as announced by the Commonwealth.

Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins announced on 26 March that the deadline for HomeBuilder document submissions would be extended from 30 April 2023 to 30 June 2025, subject to agreement from the states and territories.

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But there has been no announcement from the ACT Government, and the ACT Revenue website continues to advise home buyers who have had to grapple with delays to their projects caused by supply chain blockages and labour shortages to watch this space.

An ACT Government spokesperson told Region that the Territory was still to sign a new agreement on the HomeBuilder grant.

“The ACT government is seeking further clarification from the Commonwealth on details of the Commonwealth announcement of 26 March 2023 on the HomeBuilder grant, ahead of signing a new partnership agreement with the Commonwealth for the ongoing administration of the grant,” the spokesperson said.

One anxious buyer, who has bought in Denman Prospect and is awaiting settlement, said that with only days to go until the original deadline she was extremely nervous.

“At this stage as far as any information goes, I’m assuming I’m going to lose the $25,000, and that would be devastating,” she said.

At least one other buyer in her development had resigned himself to missing out.

The buyer said she bought off the plan while stuck in Victoria behind a closed border due to COVID because she could not view a property in person.

The grant was also a big factor in her decision.

“I thought at least if I buy off the plan there’s this grant available and that’s a massive help to me in my financial situation,” she said.

“By the time that I actually get up there, it’ll be close to being finished.”

The project was supposed to be completed a little over a year ago but, like many other sites, construction dragged on.

Pre-settlement inspection finally took place in February but a settlement date is still unclear.

All the while, the clock has been ticking down on HomeBuilder.

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The buyer wrote to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry and Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman but without a response, and ACT Revenue simply did not know.

“I’m a young person, made a career change and moved to Canberra to do it,” she said. “I was really counting on this grant to set myself up.”

Even if she settled tomorrow, there would be little time left to submit her application with the documentation required.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.

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