Housing business is booming, Kookaburra Homes owner says

The Murray Bridge business has welcomed a visit by federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

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More homes are being built in Murray Bridge as a result of the federal Homebuilder scheme and other initiatives, a local business owner says.

Kookaburra Homes co-owner Steve Walker welcomed a visit from federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and MP Tony Pasin on Friday morning.

The pair toured Kookaburra Homes’ Brinkley Road factory and met some of the 40-plus staff who work there.

Mr Walker said business had increased by 80 per cent since Homebuilder – a $25,000 grant scheme – was announced in June.

“When COVID ... was first announced, we were quite concerned as a business,” he said.

“Thanks to the governments, state and federal, for moving swiftly and implementing Homebuilder, we were able to see an increase in sales.

“We were already a profitable business, but it allowed us to secure our business not just then, but for into the future as well.”

The Homebuilder scheme offers grants to people who sign contracts to build new homes, or carry out more than $150,000 worth of renovations, before December 31.

Mr Frydenberg argued that the scheme was adding demand to the housing market, not just rewarding people who were already planning to build or renovate.

“During COVID, people are more cautious – there’s more uncertainty about people’s own economic circumstances, so they defer ... the aquisition of a new home, if that is what they’ve been thinking about," he said.

“This $25,000 grant from the government will bring forward those decisions and make them happen.

“Once you’ve deferred it, who knows if it ever was to occur into the future?”

Still, the state government is hoping the scheme will be extended by at least three months, to give people more time to apply.

State Treasurer Rob Lucas said on Thursday that more than 1100 people had applied for Homebuilder grants in South Australia.

As well as Homebuilder, last week’s federal budget also included a First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, for people wanting to buy a home worth up to $250,000 but who cannot afford a 20 per cent deposit.

Other assistance available to home buyers include the federal First Home Super Saver Scheme, which allows intending home buyers to store their savings in their super accounts; and the state First Home Owner Grant, worth up to $15,000.

Photos: Peri Strathearn. Video: Revenue SA/YouTube.

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