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Extended Again. What does the HomeBuilder package mean for you?

19 April 2021 – Article updated

HomeBuilder construction commencement 12 month extension.

HomeBuilder received a huge number of applications, some 121,000, before it concluded on 31st March 2021. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg commented that the HomeBuilder stimulus would cost the government $2.5 billion but helped tip $30 billion into Australia’s construction sector.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that since the start of HomeBuilder in June 2020 private house approvals have risen 70 percent.

However, the Housing Industry Association says its members are reporting shortages overseas products, labour constraints and delays in planning and finance approvals. All of which are making commencement difficult, and stressful within the required time frame.

Thankfully, the Federal Government has decided to extend the construction commencement requirement for all applicants from six months to 18 months from when the eligible contract was signed.

2 December 2020 – Article updated.

HomeBuilder has been extended by 3 months. But there are changes.

The Federal Government has just extended the Home Builder package for another three months, but at a lower rate, and has adjusted the price cap on new homes in NSW and Victoria.

The extension of Home builder will allow even more Australians to be able to buy a home and renovate their home, than otherwise would have been possible. This will support the building industry and the Australian economy into 2021 and beyond. The industry had predicted a significant drop in housing demand when the HomeBuilder projects finished.

So far total applications to HomeBuilder as at 20 November were 19,180 New builds and 4,697 substantial renovations, totaling 23,877 building projects. The state that has made the most of the grant has been Victoria with 7,636 total applications, compared to Queensland at 5,954 and NSW at 4,350.

Key changes to the home builder package are:

  • A grant of $25,000 has been replaced by $15,000 for contacts signed between 1 January and 31 March 2021.
  • An extended deadline for both grants up to 14 April 2021.
  • An extension to the construction commencement time frame from 3 to 6 months (this is being backdated to all contracts from 4 June 2020.
  • An increase in the property price cap for new build contracts in NSW to $950,000 and in Victoria to $850,000.

The key changes between contracts that have been signed before the 31 December and after, into the first three months of 2021 are below

Home Builder Extension Table

20th June 2020 – Article first published.

In an effort to stimulate the construction sector as well as the economy at large, the Australian Government recently unveiled the HomeBuilder scheme. The package will provide eligible singles and couples with a one-time grant of $25,000 towards building a new home or doing a substantial renovation, such as an extension, to their current property. In other words, the government is offering to contribute 10 square meters to the size of your home, given that the average cost per square meter for a renovation is around $2500 per square meter. But how can you take advantage of this scheme and what are the best renovation ideas to add ‘livability’ to your home and ensure you’re making the most of the grant? Let’s explore!

What is the HomeBuilder package?

The HomeBuilder package is designed to restart the residential construction sector while saving jobs for tradies and propping up small businesses. It follows fears that the recent recession and worsening economic effects of COVID-19 will severely impact the volume of builds that builders have in the pipeline. Speaking to the press, the Prime Minister stated that without intervention, he predicted some 30,000 homes won’t get built beyond September. As a result, the Morrison Government announced $688 million will be placed into the  HomeBuilder scheme. It’s hoped that this scheme will help eligible Australians put their $25,000 towards new builds or substantial renovations — with the potential to restore up to 27,520 projects across the country in the second half of 2020.

Who is eligible for HomeBuilder?

Just like the Government’s recent JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes, there are a number of requirements that homeowners will need to meet in order to receive the $25,000 injection. This means you must be:

  • An adult Australian citizen
  • A current or prospective owner-occupier. HomeBuilder is not available to investors.
  • A natural person, not a company or trust.
  • Earning $125,000 per annum or less for singles, or under $200,000 per annum for couples (based on your last tax return, which can’t be earlier than FY18–19).

This is positive news for most Australians, as the income grade means around 90% of Australians currently earn below the cut-off amount, opening the package up to far more people.

What are the stipulations on the contract side?

 

There are certain requirements that the HomeBuilder contract must meet in order for the grant to accessible. These contractual requirements are important for both the client and the builder to understand:

Time-limits:

 

  • There is a time limit to this package — eligible participants need to enter into a contract (building or renovating) before the end of the year, 31 December 2020. Construction must then begin within three months of signing the contract. So if you’re interested and you’re eligible, you need to start planning what you want your renovation to achieve now.

Financial requirements:

  • If buying a house and land it must not exceed $750,000.
  • Renovators must spend a minimum of $150,000 and maximum of $750,000 on a project, with their home’s value not being higher than $1.5 million at the time renovations begin.

Livability:

  • Renovations need to improve the accessibility, safety or livability of your property.
  • You can’t use the $25,000 towards a tennis court, pool, spa, sauna, shed, studio, granny flat or garage, for example. However, you can put it towards adding an upper floor on your property, or use it for any ground-floor extensions to give your home a more open-plan feel.

The builder:

  • All renovations must, of course, be carried out by a registered and licensed building service contractor.
  • Your contract must be considered a fair market price — meaning you cannot ask a builder to increase their prices to meet the minimum threshold of $150,000.
  • You should not have any special relationship with your builder, such as being related.

Where’s the best place to use the scheme?

That depends on a number of factors. It’s important to remember that if you’re looking to renovate your home, the value of those renovations must not exceed $750,000. Moreover, your residence must not be valued at or above $1.5 million before the renovations begin. That might be a challenge for those living in the inner suburbs and affluent areas of major cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but outside of that, it’s not overly restrictive. That means you won’t need to travel out to country areas to find value in the HomeBuilder scheme. Rather, if you are looking to build a new home, you’ll need to make sure the new-home build and the land is no more than $750,000 combined. While this may be difficult if you want to live very close to the CBD, it’s certainly not impossible.

Need some inspiration on how to best use the $25k for maximum return?

You might not be able to indulge in that eight-seater outdoor spa or splurge on a massive ‘smart’ garage, but you can put your HomeBuilder grant towards high-quality and durable building solutions. Great renovation investments with maximum return focus on expanding upon what you already have. Whether it’s creating a upper-floor extension with a Hamptons-style exterior or adding a new upper floor and utilising Matrix for ground floor extension to achieve a modern look, the options are endless. The easiest way to discover what’s available to you and your specific situation is to use our Find a Builder tool to connect with a professional in your area.

We created the Find a Builder tool specifically to help homeowners like you to choose reputable and experienced builders in order to fulfil your design dreams. Simply type your location and you’ll have access to a range of James Hardie builders within your area. James Hardie products are available through over 1000+ distribution outlets around the nation.

And don’t forget to share your Reno project with us at @jameshardieau

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