Dodgy builders inflate prices, promise govt grant

A STIMULUS package designed to keep tradies in work has been extended for three months but has the potential to help dodgy builders scam those eager to cash in.

The Federal Government’s HomeBuilder grant, which contributes $25,000 to eligible people eager to build or renovate a home, was due to wrap up at the end of the year.

Now Australians will be able to take advantage of the cash until March 30 but at a lowered rate of $15,000.

Housing Construction firm Hallmark Homes Ipswich New Homes Sales Consultant Dylan Stumer said some building companies were lying to potential customers to secure sales.

“I’ve heard (people) say they would go with the builder guaranteeing the grant but, because it’s coming from the government, no builder can say they can guarantee it,” he said.

“They don’t know the person’s background, whether they earn too much, whether they’re an Australian citizen, whether they qualify.”

He said some companies were upping their prices by $25,000.

“(Clients) were saying they wanted to build with us but went with the companies saying they could guarantee the grant,” Mr Stumer said.

“But some clients came back saying they would be paying $30,000 or $40,000 more, anyway.”

The program was designed to help the country’s economy recover from the impacts of the pandemic by stimulating the construction sector and keeping tradies in jobs.

Mr Stumer said the biggest help in the recent announcement was an extension to the amount of time people have to begin construction.

“It’s going to relieve a hell of a lot of pressure,” Mr Stumer said.

Previously, successful grant applicants were given three months to begin construction but are now able to start within six months.

“Having to be on site within three months made it really difficult,” Mr Stumer said.

“(It’s hard to) get council approvals through quickly and finance applications are taking ridiculous amounts of time. Some lenders are taking up to 100 days to give finance approval.”

Since the grant launched, more first home buyers have approached Hallmark Homes as well as those looking to upgrade their housing with a new home.

“I did get a lot of upgraders who, I think, would have built anyway but most have been first home buyers,” Mr Stumer said.

Some aspiring homeowners have mistakenly thought the grant could be used in lieu of a deposit.

“Some people thought they could use it for a deposit but no, it’s not meant to buff up a deposit – its an incentive to get someone to want to build and you still need your normal deposit to satisfy finance,” Mr Stumer said.

Read more news by Ebony Graveur.



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