The HomeBuilder Grant: Everything you need to know!

Jun 5, 2020

The HomeBuilder grant, another scheme from the Australian government in an effort to stimulate the economy in the wake of the global pandemic. Since there is a lot of mixed opinions of how exactly this may help homeowners, the team at Blueneer wanted to weigh in with our professional experience out in the trenches. As well as summarize some of the important facts that are coming directly from the Treasury and State Government.

Points to cover about the HomeBuilder grant

  • Who is eligible?
  • What are the catches?
  • How does this actually help?
  • What exactly can you do with the $25000 grant?

Who is eligible for the HomeBuilder grant?

Essentially, owner-occupiers are the main beneficiaries of the HomeBuilder grant. The scheme will give $25,000 grants to eligible homeowners who wish to undergo extensive renovations to existing homes. However, this also does apply to newly built homes. We interpret this as being similar to the ‘First Home Buyers’ grant but with some subtle differences. First off, the first home buyers grant was only awarded to newly built homes and obviously for those who were making their first home purchase.

The HomeBuilder grant, on the other hand, targets ALL homeowners and for both renovating homes as well as new builds. There are some more rules around the HomeBuilder grant which we will get to. First, let’s point out the difference by defining the HomeBuilder grant.

HomeBuilder Renovation

The HomeBuilder grant is available to all most all Australian’s looking to make improvements to their dwelling, or use it as a cash boost for a newly built home. According to ABC News, the following points are:

  • The government will give $25,000 grants to owner-occupiers for certain works on their homes.
  • Recipients will need to spend at least $150,000 of their own money 
  • Grants will be means-tested to exclude couples making more than $200,000 per year and individuals making more than $125,000 per year
  • New builds will be capped at $750,000
  • Renovations can cost anywhere between $150,000 and $750,000
  • The scheme will not apply to investment properties
  • A licensed builder must be used. No owner-builders.

Whereas the ‘First home buyers grant’ in Queensland at least, is only available to people (typically young couples) purchasing their home for the first time with the grant only applying to newly built homes. The Queensland Government website stated the following rules for the first home buyers grant.

To be eligible for the first home buyers grant:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is).
  • You or your spouse must not have previously owned property in Australia that you lived in.
  • You must be buying or building a brand new home.
  • The value of the home including the land is less than $750,000.
  • You must move into the new home as your principal place of residence within 1 year of the completed transaction and live there continuously for 6 months.

What are the catches of the HomeBuilder grant?

Of course, money never comes for free although in this case it certainly feels like it. There are, however, some caveats such as not being available for investment properties or for owner-builders. However, we believe depending on the success of this program, further options may become available in the future. The Treasury has provided further guidelines in this fact sheet. We summarise the important points as:

  • HomeBuilder will be available for building contracts signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, where construction or renovation commences within three months of the contract date.
  • Renovations must be completed by a licensed or registered builder (depending on the state or territory). 
  • Applicant must be an Australian citizen (no companies or trusts)
  • The terms of the contract should be commercially reasonable and the contract price should not be inflated compared to the fair market place.
  • The HomeBuilder grant will not be taxed.
  • The grant is only available for the next 6 months. 

Who does the HomeBuilder grant actually help?

As previously mentioned. The HomeBuilder grant helps mainly homeowners and Australian residents. It does not help people with investment property portfolios, nor does it help owner builders looking to renovate. We believe this initiative is to encourage Australian’s who would have otherwise considered building or renovating prior to the pandemic. Thus giving them the extra boost in confidence to follow through with their plans. Also, to keep Australia’s construction and trade industry moving forward understanding that this sector is a key player in Australia’s growth. 

“This is about targeted taxpayer support for a limited time using existing systems to ensure the money gets used how it should by families looking for that bit of extra help to make significant investments themselves," he said.

"If you’ve been putting off that renovation or new build, the extra $25,000 we're putting on the table, along with record-low interest rates, means now's the time to get started."

Prime Minister - Scott Morrison.

What can you hope to achieve with the HomeBuilder grant?

Notably, applicants would have already had some sort of renovation or build planned. Presumably because of the Governments requirement to have a minimum of $150k committed to renovation or building works already. Therefore, the additional $25k could be used to improve the accessibility, safety and liveability of the dwelling. Such as: 

  • Kitchen renovations are OK
  • Bathroom renovations are OK
  • House Extensions are OK
  • A combination of the above is OK
  • It cannot be for additions to the property such as swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages (unconnected to the property).
  • Renovations must improve the accessibility, liveability and safety of the property

Therefore, if you are considering applying, we suggest talking to a professional builder, building designer, draftsman or architect to discover how the additional $25k could improve your planned works. The team at Blueneer are happily committed to providing a high standard of service and have met all the criteria listed by the Treasury as well as being fully insured, licensed and accredited with the relevant building bodies. 


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