The home building sector needs support to counter the impact of COVID-19

The government needs to increase the size of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) to support the construction sector amid the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Master Builders Australia.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia, said builders and tradies are facing an imminent crisis, with around 73% reporting a substantial fall in forward work.

"Increasing the size of the deposit scheme and expanding its eligibility to include anyone wanting to purchase only new homes while maintaining the current price and income caps is just one of a range of measures we have proposed to the federal government," Wawn said.

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The FHLDS allows first-home buyers to purchase a property without having to meet the 20% deposit requirement. The scheme opened an initial of 10,000 slots in the first two months of the year. Around 10,000 more slots are expected to be opened in July.

Wawn said the home building sector is being hit especially hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Confusion about how domestic building activity fits in with government safety rules combined with job losses and business closures is having a devastating impact on demand for new residential building activity," she said.

Wawn added: "While we strongly back the current measures to support businesses and jobs, we are calling on all governments to urgently roll out new stimulus measures that will immediately kick-start building activity."