Thousands of Australians Apply for HomeBuilder Grants in First Week

June 9, 2020 Updated: June 9, 2020

Over 12,000 Australians have registered for the federal government’s HomeBuilder scheme in less than a week.

The $25,000 grant has attracted many people who have had to put plans on hold due to the lockdown measures established to combat spread the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

The HomeBuilder scheme announced on June 4 was created to give the residential construction market a boost by providing grants for individuals or families looking to build and new home or conduct renovations.

Federal housing minister Michael Sukkar said on 2GB radio that over 200,000 people have visited the HomeBuilder website over the weekend. Google Trends reported an upsurge in searches for “home builder” and “renovations” since the announcement.

Sukkar said that the early high volume response is just the catalyst he wanted to see. The federal government has estimated the housing stimulus will cost around $680 million, however, figures may vary depending on how many people sign up.

Home-owners and first-time buyers that qualify can receive a $25,000 grant. The criteria require than one’s income is below $125,000 as a single and as a couple below $200,000. In addition, property value for new builds must not exceed $750,000, and renovations must be valued between $150,000 and $750,000. Existing properties must be under $1.5 million.

Contracts must be signed between June 4 and December 31, and construction work must start within three months of signing contracts.

Critics of the scheme have said that the six-month time-frame is too narrow.

This creates some tight time-scales on completing work, creating a sense of urgency that will be beneficial to workers says federal housing minister Michael Sukkar.

“In about late August, early September a lot of the pipeline of work will end, so what we’re really trying to do is bring forward as much work as we possibly can for the second half of this year,” Sukkar told 2GB radio.

State Home Building Grants

Sukkar added that the federal HomeBuilder program complements existing housing schemes in New South Wales, where they offer $10,000 to first home buyers. NSW has the same property value cap as the same as the commonwealth.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced his state’s Building Bonus stimulus on June 7, where two grants of $20,000 may be given to those who fit the criteria. Applicants have to enter a contract to build a new home on vacant land or enter into an off-the-plan contract to purchase a new home as part of a single-tier strata scheme between June 4 and December 31.

“The addition of the McGowan Government’s Building Bonus on top of the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme is an absolute game-changer for Perth’s languishing residential property market,” said Sandra Brewer, Property Council WA Executive Director.

Tasmania has extended its First Home Owner Grant by two years to June 30, 2022. In addition grants have increased from $10,000 to $20,000.

Queensland also offers a first home buyers grant scheme of $15,000 for new homes.