Despite all that’s happening in the world, on the home front there’s rarely been a time when the conditions have been so positive for those looking to build, buy, upgrade or invest in real estate. Whether you’re a first homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or just looking to take your next step in the property market, governments around Australia – both state and federal – are offering exceptional opportunities to see more Australians realise their property dreams.
The recently announced $25,000 HomeBuilder program by the Federal Government is currently offering eligible owner-occupiers across the nation, unprecedented assistance towards building or renovating a home. From the outset, the government made it clear that the program would be short-lived with an end-date in December 2020, and strict conditions being placed on timing such as when contracts are signed and build commences.
Furthermore, the various state governments have continued there now long-term first homebuyer grant and concessions schemes with the aim of seeing more first-time entry into the housing market. This month we take a look at the valuable grant opportunities available around the country.
Federal HomeBuilder Scheme
Announced in early June as part of a sweeping package to help keep Australia’s economy going through the Covid-19 pandemic, the Morrison government’s HomeBuilder scheme provides grants of $25,000 to eligible owner-occupiers who are building a new primary residence or substantially renovating an existing one. This hugely beneficial grant is naturally subject to a number of set criteria as follows.
The grants are only available on home construction contracts signed between June 4th and December 31st this year, and building work must commence within three months of the contract being signed.
To be eligible under the scheme there are two key valuation criteria. For new builds to qualify, the total value (i.e. land and dwelling, off-the-plan units, or home and land packages) must not be more than $750,000.
For renovations however, only those projects costing between $150,000 and $750,000 will be considered under the grant scheme, and even then, only on properties that are valued at less than $1.5million, prior to the renovation. Renovations such as adding a pool, tennis court or standalone structure such as a granny flat to the property are not permitted under the scheme.
It should also be noted that knock-down rebuilds are classified under this program as renovations, not new builds.
There are strict criteria on who can apply for the grants, but generally speaking, the applicant(s) must:
- Include all those named on the title deed (i.e. if more than one owner is listed on the deed, all owners must meet the eligibility criteria)
- Be an Australian citizen
- Earn less than $125,000 p.a. for an individual applicant, or $200,000 p.a. for a couple (income based 2018-19 or 2019-20 tax return)
- Intend to use the home as their primary residence
Full details about the HomeBuilder grant is available from the Australian Government Treasury.
One of the great features of the Commonwealth Government’s HomeBuilder scheme is that it can be used in conjunction with the individual states’ first homebuyer grants, thereby providing even greater opportunities to eligible homebuyers.
Victoria has two versions of the First Home Owner Grant operating in the state. The first is the $10,000 grant available for eligible applicants buying or building their first home in the metropolitan area. The second is an additional $10,000 available to those building new homes in regional areas, where the contract is signed before June 30, 2021.
When combined with the HomeBuilder grant, metropolitan first home buyers could receive up to $35,000, with up to $45,000 available for regional first home builders.
On top of the applicants’ eligibility, the property itself must also qualify. The building can be a house, apartment, townhouse or the like, but it must be a first-time residence, less than five years old, and be purchased for less than $750,000.
Applicants and properties that meet the above criteria may also apply for a transfer (stamp) duty exemption on properties valued up to $600,000, or a concession on duty if the purchase price is between $600,000 and $750,000.
Similar grants and concessions to the ones above, are available to first homebuyers in New South Wales.
That state’s First Home Owner Grant (New Home) package provides a grant of $10,000 to eligible applicants when buying a new home, up to the value of $750,000.
When added to the federal HomeBuilder grant, New South Wales applicants could receive an extra $35,000 towards their new home.
Much like Victoria’s stamp duty concessions, the New South Wales First Homebuyers Assistance Scheme allows for exemptions or concessions from stamp duty on new homes, purchased by first home owners, for less than $800,000.
First home owners in Queensland can apply for that state’s $15,000 First Home Owners Grant on a new (or substantially renovated) house, apartment, unit or townhouse that’s valued at less than $750,000 and has not previously been lived in.
The national HomeBuilder grant could then increase the benefit to $40,000 for eligible applicants.
Much like its southern counterparts, the Queensland Government also waives transfer duty on homes for first owners, with those properties up to $500,000 being exempt completely, and concessions available to those bought for more than $500,000 but less than $550,000.
Wherever you are on your property journey – just starting out or continuing to make progress – right now is the time to talk to the experts at WhiteStar about how you can make the most of the government incentives. But remember, the Federal HomeBuilder grant expires in a few months, so you’ll need to act fast.