HomeBuilder was introduced in June 2020 to stimulate the construction industry, after COVID-19 slowed it down.
Eligible buyers, renovators and those looking to build a new home all stand to gain $25,000 under a new grant scheme.
If you’re buying off-the-plan, planning a renovation or considering building (or rebuilding), here’s what you need to know.
Are you eligible for the HomeBuilder grant?
Qualifying for HomeBuilder means jumping through several hoops. The criteria are quite specific and there are caps on applicants’ income, the value of the property and the cost of the build or renovation.
First off, you need to be an Australian citizen over the age of 18.
You also need to be an owner-occupier and the property must be your principal place of residence. This means you’re ineligible if you’re an investor or owner-builder or if you own your property through a company or trust.
You must also meet the income cap requirements which sit at $125,000 a year for an individual or $200,000 a year for a couple.
The grant itself can be used for two types of residential construction:
- Building a new home up to a value of $750,000. This includes house and land packages as well as off-the-plan purchases.
- Substantially renovating your existing home, where the existing property is valued at less than $1.5 million before the renovation and the renovation contract cost is between $150,000 and $750,000. This includes knock-down rebuilds.
Finally, the building contract needs to be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, and construction needs to commence within three months.
How to use the HomeBuilder grant in Sydney’s Inner City and Inner West
While you’ll be unlikely find a house and land package (or even vacant land) in the Inner City or Inner West, buyers and renovators who fulfil the salary caps can still take advantage of the HomeBuilder grant in one of three ways:
- Buying a property off-the-plan that’s valued under $750,000. For example, a one-bedroom off-the-plan apartment in a building like Erskineville’s CASA II could be eligible if you plan to live in it and meet the salary cap requirements.
- Carrying out substantial renovations valued between $150,000 and $750,000 where your property must is worth less than $1.5 million before you renovate. So, for instance, if you carried out a renovation and addition on a property similar to 27 Victoria Street Beaconsfield, you’d most likely qualify, so long as you met the income cap requirements.
- Performing a knock-down rebuild where the existing property is valued at less than $1.5 million and the build comes in under $750,000. Examples of this type of property include 67 St Mary Street, Newtown, which sold for $1.2 million, or 80 Watkin Street, Newtown, which sold for $1.28 million.
The government says the grant can’t be used for external improvements. So swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages are excluded.
Can first home buyers apply for HomeBuilder?
The great news for those starting out is that first home buyers are eligible to apply. Even better is that qualifying for HomeBuilder doesn’t stop you from taking advantage of other grants and schemes.
That means if you meet the income requirements and choose the right property you could potentially qualify for:
- The State Government’s First Home Owners Grant
- Stamp duty concessions or even a full exemption
- The Commonwealth’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
- The First Home Super Saver Scheme.
When combined, these savings and schemes represent a unique opportunity for first home buyers to get a foot on the property ladder in the Inner City or Inner West. That off-the-plan apartment or a renovator’s delight may have just become a little more accessible.
How to apply for HomeBuilder
If you’re looking to buy or sell in Sydney’s Inner City or Inner West contact my team today.