The release of Northern Territory's Home Improvement Scheme (HIS) has boosted the activity in the local construction industry, according to Herron Todd White's latest market report.
As part of its efforts to support the local economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Northern Territory government initially allocated $30m for the HIS, which was eventually expanded to $100m. The scheme is expected to progress 20,000 "screwdriver-ready" projects across the territory.
The scheme, which operates on a voucher system, will grant homeowners up to $6,000 for renovation works.
Will Johnson, local expert at HTW, said the scheme was a great incentive for not only home improvements but a kick-starter for trades and services.
"Another great positive in this scheme is that investors can also benefit, the government making it clear from the onset that investors who own a home and are a resident in the Northern Territory could also benefit," he said.
Johnson said local agents are reporting increased enquiry on renovated homes. Given the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, this is likely to continue over the coming months.
Also read: Darwin Property Market Improves
What could this mean for the housing market? Johnson said the territory is still in a wait-and-see position.
"If we can continue on the current trajectory, with social distancing and also avoiding the second wave, we may see confidence return much sooner than expected with local sentiment already beginning to turn," he said.
Quentin Kilian, chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory, said the local housing market has already recorded an upswing in buyer activity.
In a report in NT News, Kilian said while the territory's real estate industry has remained steady, its growth still depends on a strong economic recovery.
"It is absolutely paramount, not just to our industry but to every industry in the Territory, it is paramount that we turn this economy around and start creating jobs. Something has to happen to create a population boost, because that population boost will flow into our industry with sales and rent of properties," he said.