Grant boosts new home sales

By Gerv Tacadena | 14 Jul 2020

The announcement of the HomeBuilder Scheme has resulted in a busy June for the housing market, with sales bouncing back from a record low, according to the latest figures from the Housing Industry Association.

New home sales rose by 77.6% in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Sales activity in the new dwelling segment initially clocked its lowest level on record in March. The decline extended for two for two more months.

Tim Reardon, chief economist at HIA, said while the recent rebound did not fully offset the decline in the previous three months, it is a clear indication that the HomeBuilder Scheme will help protect jobs in the sector in the second half of 2020 and into 2021.

"Additional sales data from July and August will be necessary before drawing accurate estimates on the impact of HomeBuilder on employment in the sector. New home sales data is highly responsive to changes in consumer confidence," he said.

Also read: Five Questions About HomeBuilder Grant Answered

Reardon said without intervention, a substantial decline in the amount of work could play out during the second half of the year. This could lead to a significant contraction across the wider economy, with up to 500,000 jobs at risk.

"The government's announcement of the HomeBuilder program has seen confidence in the market improve," he said. "If the momentum from HomeBuilder continues, we will see more slabs poured before the end of the year, protecting jobs across the economy in manufacturing, retail and professional services."

Of all states, Western Australia reported the most notable improvement in new home sales over the month, striking a 211.2% growth. Reardon said other grants available in the state helped boost its sales.

"This is not surprising given the state government's Building Bonus program, which if combined with the first home buyer scheme can provide support exceeding $50,000," he said.

South Australia also reported a solid gain of 157.1%. New home sales also increased in Victoria (47.8%), Queensland (43.3%), and New South Wales (12.6%).

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