The applications for HomeBuilder closed on 14 April 2021. The government has extended the commencement requirement for construction from 6 months to 18 months. There are other government grants and schemes for first home buyers.
What is the HomeBuilder grant?
It is a $25,000 tax-free grant given to eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers.
With the HomeBuilder extension, contracts signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021 are eligible for a $15,000 grant.
The grant can be used to:
- Build a new home
- Renovate an existing home
The HomeBuilder grant is a federal scheme designed to help the Australian residential construction market continue business in the wake of the Coronavirus.
Construction timeframe extended
The applications for the HomeBuilder grant closed on 14 April 2021.
However, on 17 April 2021, the government announced that the construction commencement requirement is extended from 6 months to 18 months for all existing applicants.
The government extended the timeframe for construction commencement in response to the unanticipated delays caused by supply constraints because of the pandemic and other recent natural disasters.
The construction extension is applicable for those who had signed contracts between 4 June 2020 and 31 March 2021.
The Treasurer announced that the HomeBuilder grant will be extended to 31 March 2021.
The grant was originally available until 31 December 2020.
The extended HomeBuilder applications will be accepted under the new criteria:
- The HomeBuilder grant is $15,000 for new builds and substantial renovations signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021.
- The property price threshold for new build contracts for New South Wales is $950,000 and for Victoria, it is $850,000. The existing price cap of $750,000 will continue for the remaining States and Territories.
- Applications must be submitted to the respective State Revenue Office by 14 April 2021.
- For contracts signed on or after 29 November 2020, the builder/developer must have a valid licence or registration before 29 November 2020. For contracts signed before 29 November 2020, they must have a valid licence before 4 June 2020.
Summary details of HomeBuilder grant
|What is the eligibility criteria for HomeBuilder?||The maximum property value for renovation is $1.5 million.
The cost of a new build is equal to or less than $750,000.
The property price thresholds for new builds in NSW and Victoria are $950,000 and $850,000 respectively for contracts signed between 1 January and 31 March 2021.
The renovation cost is between $150,000 to $750,000.
|Are there any income caps?||For individuals, the income is equal to or less than $125,000 in FY19.
For couples, the income is equal to or less than $200,000 in FY19.
|What if my partner is not an Australian citizen?||Both applicants have to be Australian citizens to be eligible for the grant. Temporary or permanent residents do not qualify.|
|Can I use HomeBuilder as a deposit?||No, you cannot use the grant as a deposit, but it can be used as funds to complete in some states.|
|When should the building contract be signed?||Between 4 June 2020 to 31 December 2020
With the extension, the contract can be signed between 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021
|When should renovation or construction start?||Within three months of signing the building contract|
|When do I get the grant?||Once construction or renovation starts.|
|Can owner-builders apply for HomeBuilder?||No, owner builders are not eligible for HomeBuilder. Investors are also not eligible.|
|Is HomeBuilder only available for first home buyers?||No, HomeBuilder is available for first home buyers and existing homeowners.|
Who is eligible for the HomeBuilder grant?
The grant is available for first home buyers and existing homeowners.
To qualify for the HomeBuilder grant:
- You must spend at least $150,000 (and up to $750,000) on home renovations.
- The value of the property you’re renovating must not exceed $1.5 million.
- For new builds, the value of the property must not exceed $750,000. With the grant extension, the property price thresholds for NSW and Victoria have increased to $950,000 and $850,000 respectively.
- You must be 18 years or older.
- Only Australian citizens can apply. (Companies and trusts are not allowed).
- The construction must start within three months of the building contract date.
You have to enter the HomeBuilder scheme between 4 June 2020 to 31 December 2020. It has now been extended to 31 March 2021.
Unfortunately, property investors and owner builders are not eligible.
What are the HomeBuilder income caps?
The income caps to qualify for the grant are:
- Singles must be earning $125,000 or less based on their 2018/19 tax return or later.
- Couples must have a combined income of no more than $200,000 based on their 2018/2019 tax returns.
There is no limit to the number of people who can get the grant, but it is only available until 31 December 2020. It has now been extended to 31 March 2021.
Contact our mortgage brokers on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form to see if you are eligible for HomeBuilder and to get pre-approved for a home loan today.
How do I apply?
The HomeBuilder grant will be implemented via a National Partnership Agreement, which is signed by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.
Therefore, you will apply for the grant with the state or territory that you live in or plan to live in once the agreement is signed.
We have created a comprehensive guide on how to apply for the HomeBuilder grant in each state.
What documents do I need to provide?
At the minimum, the following documents are needed when applying for the HomeBuilder grant:
- Proof of identity.
- Copy of contract that is signed and dated by you and the registered or licenced builder.
- Copy of builder’s registration or licence.
- Copy of your 2018-19 tax return to demonstrate income cap eligibility.
- Other documents like council approvals, building contracts, evidence of land value.
When will I receive the HomeBuilder grant?
While it is a nationwide scheme, the grant amount will be paid by the relevant state or territory if you meet the eligibility criteria.
The relevant State or Territory revenue office will distribute the $25,000 (or the $15,000) grant directly to the applicant.
When will the grant be paid?
- For land and construction or a new build, the grant will be paid once construction starts and you’ve submitted evidence that first progress payment has been made.
- For renovations, the grant will be paid once renovation starts and you’ve submitted evidence to show progress payments of at least $150,000 of the contract price has been made to the builder.
- For off the plan or buying a new home, the grant will be paid once you’ve submitted evidence that the property is registered in your name on the title.
Can HomeBuilder be used as a deposit?
Unfortunately, HomeBuilder cannot be used as a deposit.
A major bank has confirmed that the HomeBuilder grant cannot be used as 5% genuine savings.
You will need funds of your own, especially if you’re buying land and building on it.
Can HomeBuilder be used as funds to complete?
HomeBuilder grant pre-approvals are available in Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia. The grant can be treated as funds to complete if the applicant gets pre-approval from these states or territories.
For Tasmania, pre-approval will only be available for off the plan purchases.
The HomeBuilder grant cannot be used as funds to complete in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, and also for off the plan purchases in Queensland and South Australia.
What dwellings are eligible for HomeBuilder?
The following dwelling types are accepted if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria:
- Land package
- Off the plan
- Building on vacant land
- Pre-fabricated houses are also considered for HomeBuilder if the construction is undertaken by a licensed builder and meets all the other eligibility requirements.
If you’re renovating your property:
- Renovation must commence within three months of the contract date.
- It must improve the accessibility, liveability and safety of the property. Therefore, renovations like a swimming pool, tennis court, shed, etc. are not allowed.
- The renovation must be completed by a licensed or registered builder.
What builders can I use?
When selecting a builder for your renovation or construction, consider the following:
- Is the builder licenced or registered? To be eligible for the grant, the builder must be registered.
- Does the builder hold a building licence or endorsed contractor licence before 4 June 2020? For contracts signed on or after 29 November 2020, the builder/developer must have a valid licence or registration before 29 November 2020.
Furthermore, the contract signed between you and the builder must be made at arm’s length. It must be done freely and independently, which means, if the builder is your relative, then he/she cannot be used as a builder under HomeBuilder.
How much is the HomeBuilder grant in each state?
The HomeBuilder grant for each state is $25,000.
If the contract is signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021, the HomeBuilder grant for each state is $15,000.
Can I use HomeBuilder with other state grants?
Here’s a summary of the grants available in each state:
|State||HomeBuilder Grant||First Home Owners Grant||First Home Loan Deposit Scheme||Total grant available|
|New South Wales||$25,000||$10,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $45,000|
|Victoria||$25,000||Between $10,000 – $20,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Between $45,000 to $55,000|
|Queensland||$25,000||$15,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $50,000|
|Western Australia||$25,000||$10,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $45,000|
|South Australia||$25,000||$15,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $50,000|
|Australian Capital City||$25,000||No grant, but concession scheme available||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $35,000|
|Northern Territory||$25,000||$10,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $45,000|
|Tasmania||$25,000||Up to $20,000||LMI waived for first home buyers||Up to $55,000|
*Please note that the LMI waiver (FHLDS) for first home buyers is estimated at $10,000. Separate qualifying criteria apply, and the value of the benefit will vary depending on your situation.
**The table shows HomeBuilder grant details for contracts signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. For contracts signed between 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021, the HomeBuilder grant is $15,000.
We’ve also created a comprehensive guide for first home buyers to help them buy their first home.
Tasmania home builder grant
The Tasmania government has committed to grant $20,000 for owner-occupiers to build a house.
The construction needs to commence within three months of signing the contract and you the build will have to be completed within 18 months.
Please visit Tasmania’s government website for more information.
Western Australia’s ‘Building Bonus Package’ grant
The $20,000 ‘Building Bonus Package’ grant in Western Australia is available for both owner-occupiers and investors for new builds.
Homebuyers who purchased a single-storey property, which was already in construction can also apply.
The grant is limited to new home builds and not renovations.
This is a great option for investors from other states who are looking to gain access to a construction grant.
Please visit Western Australia’s website for more information.
Queensland’s Regional home building boost grant
The $5,000 grant is available for the purchase or construction of a brand new house, unit or townhouse valued at less than $750,000.
The contract must be signed between 16 June 2020 to 31 December 2020.
The grant is only available for regional areas of Queensland like Cairns, Townsville, etc.
Please visit the Queensland government’s website for more information on eligibility and how you can apply.
Is the grant available for permanent residents?
The HomeBuilder grant is only available for Australian citizens; therefore permanent or temporary residents will not be eligible for HomeBuilder.
Furthermore, if you’re applying with a partner, then both of you have to be Australian citizens to be eligible for the grant.
What can be renovated using HomeBuilder?
The renovation must be to improve the accessibility, safety and liveability of your home.
Therefore, you can use the grant for a combination of renovation works on your bathroom and kitchen under the supervision of a licenced or registered builder.
The grant is designed for those looking to enlarge the size of their home or doing considerable renovations internally.
You cannot use the HomeBuilder for additions or renovations that are not attached to your property like swimming pools, outdoor spas and saunas, tennis courts, detached sheds and garages.
Can I build a granny flat using HomeBuilder?
The renovations done must be attached to your existing home to be eligible for HomeBuilder.
This means the grant cannot be used to add addition to your home like detached sheds and garages.
Tips for HomeBuilder
- With the announcement of the HomeBuilder grants, builders and tradesmen will be very busy, so you have to act now!
- When builders get busy, they put their prices up. Construction will likely cost more if you wait more than a month.
- Get quotes from 2 – 3 builders to avoid overpaying.
- New properties such as off the plan or completed developments often see a rise in prices due to increasing demand from buyers.
- Many building materials are sourced from China and supply has been disrupted due to COVID-19. People planning to build a home should discuss this challenge with their builder and consider locally manufactured materials to avoid delays.
- Ensure the required documents are ready when you’re applying for the HomeBuilder grant.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of HomeBuilder?
The grant provides benefits to:
- Homeowners who already have planning approval and building designs drawn up.
- People who bought a house and land package, but have yet to appoint a builder before 4 June 2020.
However, HomeBuilder grant has its drawbacks:
- The cost of the renovation must at least be $150,000 – so it might only be applicable for larger renovation projects like a knockdown and rebuild instead of basic cosmetic renovations.
- A qualified builder must sign the contract by 31 December 2020, and the renovation or construction must commence after three months.
- The planning approval process takes time. The three-month window between signing a contract and starting a build does not leave a lot of time for clients who have plans drawn up, get council approval and then get the builder to start.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does construction have to start within three months of signing the building contract?
With HomeBuilder, the federal government is spearheading existing construction or renovation projects that were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
By allowing the 3 months time frame, it helps builders and homeowners who already had projects planned, rather than just focusing on new builds or renovations.
The Prime Minister gave the following comments regarding this, “This isn’t for do-it-yourself home renovations, this is about approved work by certified builders of significant scale to enable people to bring forward projects that they have put off and can now proceed with.”
The three-month time frame to commence construction will be a challenge for people who did not already have plans to build and we recommend that you discuss this with your builder, architect and other professionals assisting you.
What if the work cannot start 3 months from signing the contract?
Victoria announces three months extension
Due to Stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, the commencement of construction for the HomeBuilder grant has been extended by three months.
Applicants who are applying for the HomeBuilder grant in Victoria will now have six months to commence construction when the HomeBuilder contract is signed.
It might be better to wait and sign the building contract once the necessary steps and precautions are taken so you can start construction or renovation within three months.
Some states might allow a builder and a client to enter into a preliminary agreement to ensure things are in order before signing a building contract.
If the delay is caused due to building approvals or finance approvals, then states and territories might exercise discretion.
Is there an extension available if construction is delayed?
If there are construction delays due to development approvals or other unforeseen circumstances, a three months extension is available.
However, this is on a case-by-case basis and sole discretion will be exercised with the relevant state authorities.
Should I terminate and sign a new one to take advantage of HomeBuilder?
If you’ve signed a contract before 4 June 2020, then you will not be eligible for the grant.
You could terminate the contract and sign a new building contract between 4 June to 31 December 2020.
However, a few minor things will have to be considered for the new contract to be accepted for HomeBuilder.
Furthermore, if you terminate your existing contract, it could have the following consequences:
- If your finance is already approved, you will have to go through the approval process again with the new contract.
- There is uncertainty on whether the new contract will be accepted by the State and Territory offices of revenue as they have yet to finalize the details on its operation and implementation.
- Each State and Territory have their own guidelines regarding terminating a building contract.
- There could be issues with your warranty insurance once your building contract is terminated.
It’s best to speak to your builder before you make the decision to terminate and sign a new contract to use the HomeBuilder grant.
I am an Australian citizen, but my partner is not. We jointly own a home, are we eligible?
Unfortunately, no. If both of your names are listed on the property title, then both applicants must meet the eligibility criteria. The grant is only available for Australian citizens.
I already own land but haven’t signed a contract to build. Can I get the grant?
Yes, you might be eligible for the grant under the following circumstances:
- If you own vacant land before 4 June 2020 and build a new home, the total value of the land and new build cannot exceed $750,000.
- If you bought the land after 4 June 2020 and build a new home, the value of the land and home new build cannot exceed $750,000.
- If you own a property (house and land), and you do a knockdown rebuild, this will be considered renovation. The renovation price range must be between $150,000 and $750,000 and the value of the property cannot exceed $1.5 million.
Can I refinance my loan to finance renovating or building?
Please contact us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and one of our mortgage brokers will call you to discuss your eligibility and options.
Can I access my redraw facility and/or my offset account to finance the construction?
Are investors eligible for HomeBuilder?
If you’re an owner-builder or want to build a new home to use as an investment property, then you will not be eligible for HomeBuilder grant.
Furthermore, the grant cannot be used for the renovation of an investment property.
The WA government’s additional grant is available to investors if you are building in WA.
What if I’m not eligible for the grant?
For first home buyers, there are other existing state grants available like the First Home Owners Grant, First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and stamp exemptions and concessions.
Our mortgage brokers are experts in all types of construction loans, including home loans to renovate an existing home.
Please call us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form and we will go through your options with you.