HomeBuilder construction timeframe pushed out to 18 months

Although there are no further $15,000 grants on offer, the timeframe for houses, townhouses and apartments to commence construction has been extended

HomeBuilder construction timeframe pushed out to 18 months
HomeBuilder construction timeframe pushed out to 18 months

The HomeBuilder construction timeframe has been pushed out to 18 months to smooth out the construction pipeline and support jobs for longer.

Although there are no further grants on offer, the timeframe for houses as well as off-the-plan apartments and townhouses to commence construction has been extended from the current six month permissible timeline.

HomeBuilder is a COVID-19-assistance scheme that assists the residential construction sector by encouraging the commencement of new apartment construction and new home builds and substantial renovations.

The HomeBuilder was available for contracts signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 March 2021.

For new builds and substantial renovations, the relevant contract is the building contract. For developer projects, including off-the-plan builds, the contract is the sales contract, where construction commences on or after 4 June 2020.

The Government announced on the weekend it would extend the construction commencement requirement.

"Thousands of people can now be sure that they will receive HomeBuilder grants with the Federal Government’s extension of the construction start date," Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“The scale of the HomeBuilder success - more than 120,000 HomeBuilder applications have created huge pressure on the supply chain with Master Builders Australia’s survey of the industry showing that 70% of builders are being hit by delays and cost increases for key trades and building products.” 

“This also created the risk that thousands of HomeBuilder applicants could miss out on the grants because builders could not meet the construction start date requirements,” she said. 

“The Federal Government showed strong leadership to introduce HomeBuilder when Covid lockdowns meant thousands of builders and tradies faced a valley of death with no forward work,” Denita Wawn said.

For new builds, commencement of construction in some jurisdictions will be as early as commencement of excavation and site preparation works; in other jurisdictions commencement occurs at the point of laying the slab.

For an off-the-plan build, commencement of construction may be site preparation stage (including excavation of the site) or the laying of the foundations or laying of a slab for a carpark (whichever is earlier).

If construction of an off-the-plan dwelling commences on or after 4 June 2020, the property purchase may be eligible for HomeBuilder even if the contract is signed after construction commences (provided the contract is signed on or before 31 March 2021).

If construction on the dwelling commenced before 4 June 2020, it does not qualify for HomeBuilder.

Grant recipients must be registered on the title as the owner of the property by no later than 30 April 2023.

A $25,000 grant was available for eligible contracts signed on or after 4 June 2020 up to and including 31 December 2020. And a $15,000 grant was available for eligible contracts signed on or after
1 January 2021 until 31 March 2021 (inclusive).

The timing of payment for the HomeBuilder Grant depends on whether your application relates to a new build, substantial renovation or off-the plan / new home purchase:
• New builds: grants will be paid after the foundations have been laid and the first progress payment has been made to your builder.
• Substantial renovations: grants will be paid after construction has commenced and at least $150,000 of the contract price has been paid in respect of the renovation.
off-the-plan / new home purchases: grants will be paid after the applicant(s) name is registered on the title.

For the $25,000 grant the requirement was to build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value (i.e. house and land) does not exceed $750,000 or purchase an off-the-plan / new home as a principal place of residence where the contract price does not exceed $750,000 and construction had not commenced prior to 4 June 2020.

For the $15,000 grant grant recipients can build a new home as a principal place of residence, where the property value (i.e. house and land) does not exceed $950,000 if the dwelling is in New South Wales; $850,000 if the dwelling is in Victoria; or $750,000 in all other States.

The $15,000 grant was available for the purchase an off-the-plan / new home as a principal place of residence where construction had not commenced prior to 4 June 2020 and the contract price does not exceed: $950,000 if the dwelling is in New South Wales; $850,000 if the dwelling is in Victoria; or $750,000 in all other States.

HomeBuilder is not available for investment properties or to owner-builders.

The applicant will be required to reside in the property for a minimum of six months from when the certificate of occupancy or final inspection certificate is issued (for new builds) or from when registered on title (for off-the-plan / new home purchases). 

There may be some timing differences between the jurisdictions.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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HomeBuilder Grant

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mark.mackenzie
The time frame set for the off the plan developments are much too tight. It generally takes a minimum of 2 years to build an apartment development of 100-200 apartments. If factor in delay time to take into account and events outside a builders control (eg. extreme rainfall) you will go past the 2 year build time. The April 2023 deadline needs to be extended to at least April 2024 for new off the plan developments that are in market now selling to gain enough pre-sales to commence construction this year.
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