Some of Tasmania’s largest housing construction companies have backlogs of at least 30 slabs with many businesses not taking on new clients due to massive demand and timeframe constraints from the HomeBuilder scheme.
The rush to have slabs down within three months of signing contracts – with a cut off of December 31 – in order to claim the $25,000 Commonwealth grant, plus $20,000 from the Tasmanian Government, has seen demand outstrip supply, with businesses urging the government to loosen the requirements.
Terry Webb, who lives in the Meander Valley, attempted to find a builder for his new house, but was told by some companies that it could take until at least mid-2021 before they could add more new builds.
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“All of the builders in Tasmania are that busy that anyone who wants to have a house built now has no chance,” he said.
Master Builders Tasmania and Wilson Homes have called on the government to extend the scheme by 12 months to avoid a crunch early in 2021.
Smaller players echoed this call, including Deloraine-based Skipper Homes. Managing director Tyson Skipper said there was also the issue of obtaining the relevant council approvals within the timeframe.
“We’re having to turn down one person per week. It’d unlikely I’ll take on any more than the five houses that I have on at the moment,” he said.
“If it was extended, I’d be able to take on more though.”
AJ & M Construction handles the upper end of the market on the North-West Coast, and has had multiple new builds sneak under the $750,000 maximum limit to obtain the grant.
AJ Croome said it was going to be a busy 12 months in the housing sector.
“We’ve had a fair inundation of people wanting houses built, it’s going to be very busy early in the year, that’s for sure,” he said.
State Growth Minister Michael Ferguson said it is up to the Commonwealth to alter the scheme, but demand was an indication the scheme is working as intended.