COVID-19 – HomeBuilder Scheme – The NSW Government’s Economic Response to the Residential Construction Sector

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By Scott Laycock, Partner and Saarah Khalessi, Lawyer


In an attempt to assist the residential construction sector to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has announced the HomeBuilder scheme.

The HomeBuilder scheme will be implemented by each State treasury and will provide eligible owner- occupiers, including first home buyers, with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or to substantially renovate an existing home. Importantly, this grant will also apply to those purchasing off-the-plan apartments, thereby providing stimulus to residential developers.

The HomeBuilder scheme will complement existing State and Territory First Home Owner Grant programs, stamp duty concessions and other grant schemes as well as the Commonwealth’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and First Home Super Saver Scheme.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to access the HomeBuilder scheme, owner-occupiers must meet the following criteria:

  1. you must be a natural person (not a company or trust);
  2. you must be aged 18 years or older;
  3. you must be an Australian citizen;
  4. you meet one of the following two income caps:
    1. $125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your 2018-19 tax return or later; or
    2. $200,000 per annum for a couple based on both 2018-2019 tax returns or later;
  5. you enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 to either:
    1. build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value does not exceed $750,000; or
    2. substantially renovate your existing home as a principal place of residence, where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000 and where the value of your existing property does not exceed $1,500,000; and
    3. construction must commence within three months of the contract date.

The HomeBuilder scheme applies to all dwelling types, including:

  1. house and land packages;
  2. apartments;
  3. renovations;
  4. off-the-plan apartments;
  5. knock down and rebuilds of existing homes; and
  6. new builds on vacant blocks.

How residential developers benefit

The scheme may benefit residential developers in that, persons purchasing off-the-plan apartments will be able to benefit from the $25,000 payment (provided the eligibility criteria is met):

  1. construction of the development must not have commenced prior to 4 June 2020;
  2. the contract for sale must have been signed after 4 June 2020 and no later than 31 December 2020; and
  3. construction of the development must commence within 3 months of the date on which the contract for sale is signed (there will no doubt be issues as to what constitutes commencement).

This means only persons purchasing apartments within a specific time frame will be eligible for the payment. Additionally, the person purchasing the property must not be an investor – the property must be purchased as a principal place of residence.

More information will no doubt come to light as the scheme progresses and the State treasuries provide further information as to the application process.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance in ascertaining the applicability of the HomeBuilder Scheme to your business. We will otherwise keep you informed with any additional updates.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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