IT'S not quite a panic buying situation like we are seeing in supermarkets, but the building industry is undergoing a boom in home approvals... now it just needs to find the contractors to carry out the jobs.
Just three weeks after the federal government's announcement of the new $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, Ballarat's builders have been flooded with interest from those wanting to build their home.
The stimulus package, coupled with the existing first home buyer grants and others, mean some people could receive up to $65,000 to build their first home.
There is a sting in the tail though. In order to get the HomeBuilder grant, you must sign before December 31, be building a property valued less than $750,000 and work must start within three months, which is causing headaches for contractors trying to find enough workers to begin the job.
David Rowe, managing director of Ballarat-based Bond Homes, which itself employs 22 staff plus contractors, said this new package had "really stimulated the market" more than other grant packages.
"The issues we're seeing are due to the stipulation as part of the package is that work needs to start within three months," Mr Rowe said.
"Some of these country areas require a planning permit that can take three or months to come through, so we're not signing any contracts on those until planning permits come through.
"The building permit can be enacted within three to four weeks, but there are delays which can occur in the initial contract stage which cannot be avoided.
"There will be situations where it will be not possible to start building a house within three months of signing a contract, so there needs to be some sort of way to justify if a hold up is beyond your control.
There will be situations where it will be not possible to start building a house within three months of signing a contractBond Homes managing director David Rowe
"Even though the cut off is December 31, you need to have a mechanism that it can be carried forward in case of hold ups."
Hudson Ridge sales consultant Maria McGregor said viewing of open houses had skyrocketed in recent weeks.
While she dismissed the notion of 'panic buying' she said there was a feeling of "fear of missing out" creeping into the market.
"We have seen a number of builds that were on the back burner due to COVID-19 reactivated and signed to proceed," Ms McGregor said.
"In addition, the numbers through our doors at the display home since the grant was announced have quadrupled."
Ms McGregor said it was a case of double-dipping for constructors as many had buyers ready to go when the pandemic first hit which had been put on hold due to concerns about their own financial situations and long-term future of the industry.
"But with the easing of restrictions and the stimulus package giving our buyers the extra $25,000 grant towards their build, we saw those people return to Hudson Ridge with confidence and ready to get their projects moving again," she said.
"We're not out of the woods yet, but the spike in interest does give us more confidence to keep looking at new projects, keep people in the region employed and hopefully play our part in the recovery of the local economy,"
Master Builders Victoria Chief executive officer, Rebecca Casson, who visited Ballarat on Friday, said that the grant scheme coupled with state government investment will help the building and construction industry avert disaster in the short term.
"Ballarat is a great example of many regional areas across our state where new home investment plans were scrapped as people were concerned with uncertainty around the pandemic," Ms Casson said. "This was disastrous for our industry as the pipeline was quickly drying up and its why we have worked with both the state and federal governments to find a path back."
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