The South Australian government has announced a further three-month blanket extension to the HomeBuilder scheme, giving applicants additional six months after the contract signing to commence the construction of their new home or renovation.

The scheme previously required applicants to seek an extension from the SA Commissioner of State Taxation on a case-by-case basis. Eligible reasons include labour shortages, difficulties obtaining construction materials, and delays in finance, land titling, and council approvals.

The extension will help ease the pressure on the industry to meet the growing demand due to the scheme, said SA Treasurer Rob Lucas.

“This will give builders more time to plan and secure tradespeople and ensure a steady pipeline of work which, ultimately, is good for jobs,” he said.

Stephen Knight, executive director for SA at the Housing Industry Association, said the extension will provide relief to builders who can now plan a more orderly roll out of work throughout the first half of 2021.

Knight said the recent lockdowns in South Australia due to the COVID-19 outbreak have disrupted the timelines of many builders, with most already working at full capacity in the lead up to the deadline for HomeBuilder applications by 31 December.

“Since HomeBuilder was launched builders have argued that the eligbility requirement of three months from contract signing to commencement on site was not enough, given this process normally takes at least four to five months,” he said.

Knight said the HomeBuilder will likely boost the interest for new homes across the state, putting pressure on builders who will also witness increased demand for their services.

“By introducing the extra three-month blanket extension to the scheme those who were in the process of planning their new home or renovation can now gain that little extra time they need to finalise details,” he said. “This in turn means hundreds of tradies are able to keep themselves in work and continue the vital job of housing South Australians.”