If you’re thinking of building a new home, or you want to renovate or extend your existing property, this could be a great time to do it. The government has released details of its new HomeBuilder scheme offering tax-free grants of $25,000 towards your new build or renovation costs. The scheme is already proving popular with newspapers reporting more than 8,000 applications and 130,000 visits to the HomeBuilder website in the first week after the announcement.
Here at Houseace, we welcome the government’s move. It will be a real bonus for people trying to get their first home. And, homeowners can now make more of their properties or create more space for growing families.
Time for your first home
The government believes that a large proportion of applicants will be people looking for a way to get their first home, particularly people on lower incomes who might have found it hard to get a deposit together. $25,000 will make a big contribution to the cost of a new house and land package or the price of a house that’s already under construction on a new development.
According to the government, the average cost of building a new home is around $350,000. However, commentators think that this grant will be more useful to people who want to build or buy a new home in areas where property prices are lower. Essentially, that means the suburbs or areas away from major cities. And, with property prices varying by region, the opportunities are quite different.
The grant is intended for new homes that are your principal residence and are valued at up to $750,000, including the cost of land. That would rule out larger homes in major cities like Sydney where average values are around $1 million and Melbourne, over $800,000. Suburbs more than 20-25 kilometres from those city centres would be the nearest to qualify.
Brisbane city dwellers should qualify with average prices around $560,000. New homes in regional towns and cities would be more likely to qualify, although Western Australia is limiting its grant to $20,000.
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Extend or renovate your home
If you’re finding living space is cramped with a growing family or your home needs some important renovation or repairs, this grant could help you put your plans into action.
To qualify, your renovation or extension project must cost at least $150,000 up to a maximum of $750,000 and your property must be worth a maximum of $1.5 million dollars before any work is carried out. You will have to fund the additional costs yourself from savings or loans.
The criteria also mean that the project must be a substantial one. According to the government guidelines, the work must result in an ‘improvement to accessibility, safety or livability’. Typically, that could mean adding new rooms in an extension, an additional storey with a loft conversion, knocking down walls and reconfiguring rooms, or renovating kitchens or bathrooms. In some more drastic cases, the grant might cover demolition of a small building or a building in poor condition to replace it with a larger one.
The grant can also cover a combination of projects like a bathroom renovation and loft extension, for example. However, the grant would not cover the addition or renovation of annexes that are not attached to the main building or outdoor facilities like swimming pools, spas, saunas, tennis courts, sheds and garages.
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Make sure you qualify
Apart from the rules on the scope and value of the work that can be carried out, there are other eligibility criteria that apply to both new build and renovation/extension projects.
- Applicants must be Australian citizens and current or prospective homeowners. Grants are not available to investors or companies.
- There’s a time limit; a project must have a contract signed between 4th June and 31st December 2020 and work must begin within three months of the contact date.
- The income limit is $125,000 per year for individuals or $200,000 per year for couples.
Getting the work done
You can’t do the building or renovation work yourself. The work must be carried out by a registered or licenced building contractor, holding a licence that was in place before 4th June 2020. The contract must be between two independent parties, so you couldn’t ask a relative, for example, to handle the work.
Having a professional carry out the work means that the project will be completed to a high standard in compliance with building and other regulations, so that is a useful safeguard, particularly on larger or more complex builds.
Get a quote for your project today!
From kitchen refurbishments and major renovations to new house builds, we carry out a huge array of building work in and around Sydney and Melbourne — each project is completely tailored to your individual wants and needs. All the Houseace team are fully qualified and vetted experts in their trade. They will complete your project with utmost care, as though it were their own.
Better still, you can get an online quote for any renovation project – just type in your postcode to get started; or check out our renovation calculator for an instant estimate of how much your project will cost.
Why not read customer testimonials on our website and find out why we’re trusted by thousands of Australian homeowners for high-quality building work, extensions and renovations, or give us a call today on 1300 304 367 to discuss your project and get a free, no obligation quote.