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SHORE FINANCIAL 101: The HomeBuilder Scheme

With only 66% of Australians owning their homes, home ownership rates are approaching record-breaking lows. Housing price increases have led to a lack of affordability, something that the Federal Government is now attempting to address. 

On June 4, the Federal Government launched a new program called the HomeBuilder Stimulus Scheme, which aims to help Australians afford a home, as long as they are interested in building it.

Under the HomeBuilder scheme, qualified homeowners are able to apply for a tax-free grant of $25,000 if they are spending anywhere from $150,000 to $750,000 renovating a home or, more importantly, building a new one. However, the eligibility criteria is strict, so homeowners need to engage professional advice to determine whether they qualify.

The HomeBuilder scheme is available for building contracts that have been signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. It also requires the construction or renovation to commence within three months of the contract date. The NSW government has already signed the HomeBuilder National Partnership in early July 2020. You can get more updates from the Australian Government on this here

What is the Home Builder Scheme?

As long as you meet the requirements for the Home Builder Scheme, you can get a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or to substantially renovate an existing home. This program is designed to improve the residential construction market, encouraging home buyers to build new homes and renovate old homes.

The following requirements apply:

  • The home buyer must be an owner occupant.
  • The home buyer can earn no more than $125,000 a year for a single applicant or $200,000 for a couple.
  • Once the home builder scheme is active, the home buyer must sign a contract between 4 June and 31 December 2020.
  • The home builders must commence construction or renovation within 3 months of the contract date.
  • For home renovation, the existing property value must be less than $1.5 million, and the renovation must cost between $150,000 and $750,000.
  • For new builds, the house and land must not be more than $750,000.

Ideally, this will reinvigorate the market, as there will be new properties being built, and some older properties which might not otherwise sell will be renovated. 

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What Home Buyers Should Know

If you’re considering building a new home or purchasing a home to renovate, the HomeBuilder Stimulus Scheme can help. But there are some issues worth considering with the program. 

Young couple building a home, at construction site

For one, home buyers are not able to apply for the HomeBuilder scheme until their State or Territory Government becomes signatories. New South Wales became a signatory in early July. Contractors and construction workers throughout the country feel that this will be a net positive for the home industry. Home buyers will find it easier to build homes and renovate homes, and this ease will encourage additional spending within the market.

Since this program is most useful to those who were already purchasing a home in need of renovation, or those already building a home, those who are already within this subset should look into the program as early as they can. It should be noted that the prices associated with this scheme is uncapped, and there have been over 32,000 registrations of interest thus far. So, the scheme could cost anywhere from an estimated $688 million to billions.

How Interested Home Buyers Can Start Preparing

The HomeBuilder scheme will be of great help to those considering renovating a home or building a home. If you’ve thought about doing this, you should factor in the potential $25,000 grant. But if you aren’t already thinking about doing this, you might want to compare costs. If it’s close, the $25,000 may make a difference between purchasing a home and building the home of your dreams.

To qualify, home buyers need to make sure their contract is signed before December 31 — so if you want to take advantage of this program, you should start planning now. If you’re already looking for a property, keep the home value amounts in mind.

Conclusion

Once signed by the rest of the country, the HomeBuilder Scheme will be able to stimulate the real estate market. The real estate market has been lacking in affordability for some time for first home buyers in particular, and the stimulus scheme is going to make it just a little more affordable for individuals renovating or building. 

For the most part, the positive benefits are going to be seen throughout the construction industry. Home buyers are likely to spend a little more building and renovating their homes, and will be more willing to build a home rather than buy one. 

If you’re looking to purchase a home, whether you’re renovating and building or not, it may be time to look into the grants and stimulus packages available to you. 

Shore Financial can offer you the strategic advice to get into a new property as soon as you can. Contact us today to discuss the HomeBuilder scheme and other similar programs.

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