Responding to a surge of applications in the final quarter of 2020, Northern Territory announced that it is extending its BuildBonus grant scheme to March 2021 – albeit with a significantly smaller grant size.

The BuildBonus scheme originally provided aspiring homeowners with a $20,000 grant for contracts signed before 31 December 2020. With the extension, however, the territory government will be handing out a lower maximum grant size of $12,000 for contracts signed between 1 January and 31 March 2021.

The announcement follows a notable increase in applications during the final quarter of 2020. According to the territory’s government, 67 applications for the scheme were submitted in October, 128 in November, and 76 in December.

In total, the scheme has received 720 applications since March 2019, with more than 550 applications approved. Roughly $11m in grants has been paid to applicants from its inception in February 2019 to the original deadline of December 2020, yielding over $220m in building activity.

Michael Gunner, chief minister of Northern Territory, said that the grant has helped many aspiring homeowners break into the real estate market.

"People are choosing to stay longer in the Territory, and more people are moving and choosing to call it home," he said.

Gunner added that the grant has also presented a substantial number of opportunities for tradies and said that he expects more work to flow this year due to the grant's extension. 

"The territory’s real estate market is booming for the first time in years, and we want to capitalise on this opportunity and make the territory the best place to build and own a home," he said.

“The great take up of the scheme we saw in late 2020 means there will be plenty of work in the pipeline for territory tradies this year," said Eva Lawler, minister for infrastructure, planning, and logistics.

“The extension of this grant will also keep jobs flowing in the construction industry, and help more Territorians realise their dream of building and owning their own home,” she said.