Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced the Federal Governments HomeBuilder program in response to the Coronavirus crisis. The program provides eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. HomeBuilder will assist the residential construction market by encouraging the commencement of new home builds and renovations this year.
Of course, not all builds are created equal. The approval process can, at times, be frustrating with some new builds and renovations potentially triggering both planning and building permit requirements.
HomeBuilder, which works in conjunction with various existing state and territory initiatives, is a time-limited grant program aimed at helping the residential construction market bounce back from the COVID-19 economic crisis. HomeBuilder will provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with the grant where the contract is signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. Construction, however, must commence within three months of the contract date.
Having spent an extended period of time at home over the last few months may have shown exactly what needs attention at your current house and that renovation that has been in the back of your mind might have some merit to it. Now may prove the best time to start considering your project, either a renovation or new home.
To access HomeBuilder, owner-occupiers must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- you are a natural person (not a company or trust);
- you are aged 18 years or older;
- you are an Australian citizen;
- you meet one of the following two income caps:
- $125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your 2018-19 tax return or later; or
- $200,000 per annum for a couple based on both 2018-19 tax returns or later;
- you enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 to either:
- build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value does not exceed $750,000; or
- substantially renovate your existing home as a principal place of residence, where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000, and where the value of your existing property does not exceed $1.5 million;
- construction must commence within three months of the contract date.
HomeBuilder will be implemented via a National Partnership Agreement, signed by the Commonwealth and
State and Territory governments. This approach will utilise existing state and territory mechanisms to
distribute the HomeBuilder payments. When the States and Territories begin accepting HomeBuilder applications, they will backdate acceptance of these applications to 4 June 2020. Information on when and how you will be able to access HomeBuilder will become available through the
relevant State or Territory revenue office.
Before leaping head long into the design of your new home or renovation, the top of your 'To Do' list should be to have a complete understanding of what permits may or may not be required. The first, and arguably most important step, is to check if a planning permit is required through your local Council.