Reno dreams collapse under tough stimulus hurdle
MACKAY renovators and home builders are struggling to access a $25,000 grant due to a lack of clarity surrounding a federal stimulus package.
The Reef Properties owner Glenn McGrath said the Federal Government's Home Builder announcement had opened the floodgates, with 20-30 inquires sent to his business in the past two days.
But limits on who qualifies and a lack of clarity for some clients has forced Mr McGrath to turn many prospective customers away.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the stimulus package on Thursday. It will give $25,000 to anyone building a new home or doing a substantial renovation.
Only individuals earning up to $125,000, or couples earning a combined salary of $200,000, would be eligible.
New homes being built must be worth $750,000 or less, including land, while renovations must be worth at least $150,000 but no more than $750,000.
The $25,000 grant does not apply for households looking to add a pool, outdoor spas and saunas, tennis courts, sheds or garages to their property.
Contracts will have to be signed by December 31 and construction must begin within three months of the contract date.
Mr McGrath said the package would be "a great start" for the few who would qualify.
But the policy was unclear for many looking to build their dream home, including retirees using their superannuation, owner-occupiers looking to split their property into two homes and other key customers, he said.
And "whispers" of the government stimulus had created month-long delays to projects across the region, Mr McGrath said.
Contracts were left unsigned and work put on hold as prospective home renovators and builders waited for the construction stimulus package to be dropped, Mr McGrath said.
"Anyone who was interested has put everything on hold until it was announced," he said.
"Our trucks stopped overnight."
"Everything just went stop."
Master Builders Mackay and Whitsunday regional manager Malcolm Hull said the stimulus package dropped just as construction had stalled.
"It's come at the right time to assist the industry," he said.
"This could make a significant difference for someone who may have wanted to build a home but couldn't."
Mr Hull said a stimulus package targeting the construction industry was key to the region moving through a recession.
"For every one person on a construction site they indirectly support five people," he said.
As the region moves from a pandemic to an economic emergency, Mr Hull said the appetite for major renovations or buying new homes was limited.
"People who have a safe job and are eligible will not be hesitating," he said.
"People outside of that are more cautious and don't know what will come tomorrow."
Mr Hull remained optimistic, saying the region would be "surprised" by the number of households to benefit.
"Everyone has a list on their fridge of things that could be done," he said.
"This is an opportunity to improve your home."