HomeBuilder Scheme launched to mix reviews

The government’s HomeBuilder Scheme to issue financial grant of $25,000 to help build or substantially renovate their home. The grant, which is tax free, is for people’s principal place of residence and not intended for investments homes. It launched in June 2020 as a government measure in antidote to the economic impacts of global pandemic COVID-19. Following in the wake of the coronavirus, the government hoped the HomeBuilder grant scheme would help stimulate homeowners to invest long-term in their homes, with short-term gains for the struggling construction industry. 

Those owners and occupiers eligible for the scheme must meet the following criteria:

“• you are a natural person (not a company or trust);

• you are aged 18 years or older;

• you are an Australian citizen;

• you meet one of the following two income caps: $125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your 2018-19 taxable income or later; or $200,000 per annum for a couple based on both 2018-19 taxable income or later;

• you enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 to either: build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value does not exceed $750,000; or 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 (house and land) does not exceed $1.5 million (pre-renovation);

• construction must commence on or after 4 June and within three months of the contract date.”

Whilst framed as an economic response to the coronavirus crises, the HomeBuilder scheme has been met with criticisms. Colin Payne from Western Australia says “I can’t see too many people dropping $150,000 on a renovation of a house, especially internally.” The 44 year old father is not one of the 7000 Australians expected to renovate their homes through the scheme.

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