Accessing and Leveraging the HomeBuilder Scheme
As part of the ongoing COVID-19 Stimulus Package, the Federal government has announced the HomeBuilder scheme – an incentive targeting the residential property market in order to stimulate growth. A $25,000 grant is available to eligible individuals from the federal government, along with a further $20,000 from the Western Australian government, in addition to other incentives already on offer. This means for those who are eligible this is a great time to take get your foot in the property market by taking advantage of these schemes. Let’s explore what’s on offer, and who may be eligible.
What is the HomeBuilder Scheme?
The initial HomeBuilder grant comes courtesy of the Australian government, to the tune of $25,000. This is a tax-free grant to eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers, which applies to new homes being built, or substantial renovations to existing homes. This grant is available for properties up to a value of $750,000 (house and land combined); and a range of $150,000 to $750,000 for renovations. Overall the HomeBuilder scheme aims to not only help Australians get into a home of their own, but also stimulate the residential property market. It is expected to generate national economic activity somewhere in the region of $15 billion and support thousands of jobs in the process.
Who is eligible for HomeBuilder?
In order to be eligible for the HomeBuilder grant, certain individual and building criteria must be met. Importantly, the grant is only available for individuals (not companies or trusts); of 18 years of age or older; and the applicant must be an Australian citizen. There is also an income test component where a single cannot be earning more than $125,000 per annum (determined by their latest assessable income); or $200,000 per annum for couples. Additionally, the building contract for the home must be signed between 4 June and 31 December 2020, with construction commencing (i.e. foundation laid) no later than three months from the contract sign date.
Extra WA Incentives
Not only is the national HomeBuilder grant generous and important, the WA government has also announced some extra measures to further support the state’s residential construction industry. A grant of $20,000 for new constructions on vacant land can be paid to eligible individuals, provided certain criteria are met. These include:
- The home must be a detached residence;
- It cannot be for mixed-use, commercial purposes or short-stay accommodation (e.g AirBnB);
- It cannot share walls or roof structures with any other buildings;
- The land must be vacant
- Applicants will not be eligible if there is already a building on the land and will not be demolished (regardless of the size of the land or the building)
- If the building on the land is going to be demolished, the grant will be paid after that occurs
- The building contract must be signed between 4 June and 31 December 2020, and construction must commence no later than six months from the contract sign date.
Eligible individuals must apply for the grant once the foundations for the property are laid, and the application must be submitted before 30 June 2021. Also note that for first home owners, you may be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG), and duty concession on top of these new incentives. More information on that can be found here.
Considering the fact that incentives of this nature are unprecedented (and likely never to be repeated unless another COVID-like situation emerges), now is the time to get into the property market if you are in a position to do so. Consult a mortgage broker to conduct a borrowing power assessment and see how much you can afford to borrow, factoring in the HomeBuilder scheme and other incentives. From there, you’ll have a clearer idea of your financial position, as well as where you’ll be able to build. Getting in touch with a property expert is also important, in order to ensure that not only will your purchase be feasible in the short term, but potentially of greater value in the long term.
Note that guidance from the banks on how the HomeBuilder scheme, as well as the additional WA incentives, will be treated in terms of deposits and other upfront payments is still to be advised.
The Finance team at McKinley Plowman are available now to take enquiries about how you might take advantage of HomeBuilder and other building grants and incentives. Give us a call today on 08 9301 2200 or online at www.mckinleyplowman.com.au.
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