Are you eligible for the government’s Home Builder Grant?

For many people in Melbourne, the coronavirus lockdown has meant spending much more time at home than you otherwise would. So chances are over the past six months you’ve had plenty of time to think about all the renovation changes you would like to make. Maybe you’d completely overhaul the kitchen. Or add another bathroom. Or even add a second storey. Maybe you’d like to build a completely new home.

If you are planning a home renovation or extension or an entire new build, you may be eligible to take advantage of the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder Grant.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in June 2020 the Government announced the $688 million HomeBuilder Grant in an effort to kickstart the economy and stimulate the housing market.

The scheme allows eligible Australians to access $25,000 tax free to build a new home, buy an off-the-plan home or put towards a major home renovation or extension. The scheme is designed to complement existing state and territory first home owner grant programs, stamp duty concessions and other grant schemes.

With that kind of money, you could afford to upgrade the scale or scope of your renovations, splurge on premium bathroom fittings, like top of the line frameless shower screens or a clawfoot bathtub, or simply put it towards your dream new home design.

But how do you access the grant and who is eligible?

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HomeBuilder eligibility requirements

The HomeBuilder grant has some fairly stringent eligibility requirements. To qualify you must:

  • Be an Australian citizen and the registered owner of the property
  • Be a natural person, not a company or trust
  • Be the registered owner of the land for new builds or the owner of the house for renovations or extensions
  • Earn no more than $125,000 for individuals or $200,000 for couples
  • Sign a construction contract before 31 December 2020
  • Commence construction within 6 months of signing the contract. This includes the three-month extension available only in Victoria due to the COVID lockdown

To be eligible for the grant, renovations or extensions must be valued at between $150,000 and $750,000 and the value of the existing house and land cannot exceed $1.5 million.

For a new build, the home must be your principal place of residence and the property value must not exceed $750,000.

While construction must commence within three months from the signing the contract in most places around Australia, Victorian homeowners will have six months to commence construction. This was brought in to account for Victoria’s tough lockdown rules and to allow more people to take advantage of the scheme.

The scheme has been welcomed by homeowners, home buyers and builders, with more than 40,000 Australians registering for the scheme in its first month. The scheme is also expected to give a shot in the arm to the housing industry, which has seen a slump since the onset of the pandemic.

So, if you’re looking to renovate or buy that first home, now’s the time to look into the government’s HomeBuilder grant.

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