Sign here… home building contracts go through the roof.

AS construction projects in southern states battle the Covid blues, Queensland is in the midst of a building boom as people chasing the Australian dream take advantage of up to $45,000 in grants available to help them into their home.

The industry is reporting some companies are signing up twice as many new home contracts as usual as federal and state government grants give the construction industry a ‘Covid boost’.

Master Builders deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell said that one major builder had signed 226 contracts in the past month, mostly in southeast Queensland and another in Rockhampton on the central coast had signed 60 contracts in that city alone.

Across the state’s east coast, the same major builder would normally sign about 1000 contracts a month but had actually signed 2028 contracts as “interest goes through the roof,” Mr Bidwell said.

“The government stimulus is working really well.”

At the moment the Commonwealth Homebuilder program provides couples earning less than $200,000 a year with a $25,000 grant to build a new home they will live in or to substantially renovate an existing home, if they sign before December.

First home buyers can also tap into Queensland’s $15,000 First Home Owner’s grant – an extra $5000 if they build in regional Queensland.

The good news comes as the Property Council of Australia calls on the Queensland government to consider stamp duty concessions for people who buy new apartments and new town houses to try to counter a slump in this sector.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the average first-home buyer already paid effectively zero stamp duty in Queensland because of discounts and low rates.

Meanwhile, the NSW government has announced there will be a temporary increase in stamp duty concessions for first-home buyers.

HIA says the announcement is a very welcome move; it has been seeking changes to the stamp duty arrangements to better reflect the price of new homes in NSW and in particular in Sydney.

This initiative will have positive outcomes for the housing industry and the NSW economy as whole,” said David Bare, HIA executive director NSW.

“From August 1, the changes will see the stamp duty exemption limit increased from $650,000 to $800,000 for the purchase of a newly-built home,” he said.

“The stamp duty concession will also increase to cover newly-built homes from over $800,000 up to $1 million in value.”

He said the changes to the stamp duty thresholds for land were also critical.

“The government is forecasting that this change will assist more than 6000 first-home buyers, which have traditionally been under-represented in the NSW market, particularly in Sydney,” he said.

“Following the release of the NSW Homebuilder details, the announcement makes sense and will support many first-home buyers to get into the property market sooner.

“Combined with the existing $10,000 first-home owner’s grant and the $25,000 Homebuilder grant, first-home buyers in NSW should be looking to a new home as a real option to take up home ownership.”

Mr Bare said more importantly, this 12-month package would provide a much-needed boost to an industry for which hundreds of thousands of people in NSW relied on for employment.

“The home building industry will play a critical part in NSW’s economic recovery from COVID-19 related challenges and the state government should be applauded for listening to our calls for greater support.”