Direct cash grants for home renovations have been hinted at by the federal government as one forecast suggests the total value of home renovations could fall to an eight-year low in the ACT.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Monday the government would consider giving households cash grants for home renovations as part of a fourth coronavirus stimulus package.
It came as the Housing Industry Association predicted home renovations in the ACT would fall by $26 million in the next financial year as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
HIA has forecast $489 million would be spent over the 2020/21 financial year and this would be the lowest value of investment in the territory in eight years.
It is expected the total value of renovations in Canberra would finish this financial year at $515 million, down from $531 million in 2018/19.
"At the moment, in terms of in the coming months there is a real hole in the pipeline for the industry," HIA ACT executive director Greg Weller said.
"A stimulus measure aimed at the residential sector would be very important.
"It's really the months ahead where we have the opportunity to get in quickly and stimulate some activity so we don't see job losses and businesses close over the second half of the year."
Mr Morrison is expected to set out the stimulus package this week but remained tight-lipped on the details when asked at a press conference in Sydney on Monday. Money for new home construction is also set to form part of the measures.
"There will be gaps that occur in our economy and house building, residential construction will be one of those gaps that we have to address," he said.
"The tradies... the apprentices and others who work in that home building sector are a sector we know are going to feel a lot of pain unless we can keep a continuity in the business of house construction."
It would be the second measure aimed at the industry after Mr Morrison announced the 'JobMaker' scheme last week.
'JobMaker' would target vocational training and would see the federal government take control of the $1.5 billion it gives states and territories for the sector each year. Industrial relations reforms would also form part of the scheme.
Any grants for home renovations could be used to invest in the improvement of the energy efficiency ratings of older homes in Canberra, Mr Weller said.
"One of the great benefits about focusing on the renovation sector is there are some great opportunities to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of a lot of homes," he said.
"As well there is so much renovating can do to lift the value of that housing stock to create jobs to improve the energy efficiency of those homes.
"I think there is definitely benefits in putting investment into this part of the sector."
The ACT government is also expected to reveal economic measures for the housing sector but grants for new homes are unlikely to form part of its stimulus. Instead, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the package would target stamp duty and investment into the construction of public housing.
"To foreshadow further ACT government assistance in the housing sector... this will focus on stamp duty reductions and on incentives associated with the construction of new public and social housing," he said.
"With some particular innovations we are focusing on build-to-rent initiatives."
It came after Master Builders ACT pitched a $40,000 new home grant to the territory government, as part of a 16-point plan to stave off a crisis in the industry.
Mr Barr rejected the new home grant, as he said it would worsen housing affordability.
Almost one-third of Canberra's 18,600 construction sector jobs could be lost in the aftermath of the pandemic, according to Master Builders ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins.
"Any measures that are announced must be put in place soon to ensure the livelihoods of the almost 20,000 Canberrans that are employed in the building and construction industry," he said last week.