We have had a number of enquires about the Federal Government HomeBuilder economic stimulus so thought a quick update may be timely. 

The HomeBuilder scheme targets the residential construction market by providing tax-free grants of $25,000 to eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers, to build a new home or substantially renovate their existing home.

Who Is Eligible? 

The HomeBuilder scheme is available to owner-occupiers, including first home buyers. It is not accessible to owner builders, developers or investors.

To be eligible you need to be:

  • An individual (not a company or trust); and
  • 18 years of age or older; and
  • An Australian citizen.

You must also meet the income test criteria. You cannot earn more than:  

  • Individuals – $125,000 based on your 2018-19 or later tax return
  • Couples – $200,000 based on both of your 2018-19 or later tax returns

What Projects Are Eligible? 

The grants are available if you build a new home or renovate a home to live in (your principal place of residence) where:

  • For a new home, the property value (house and land) does not exceed $750,000
  • For a renovation on your existing home, the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000, and 
  • The value of your existing property (house and land) does not exceed $1.5 million

The renovation works must be to improve the accessibility, safety and liveability of the dwelling. It cannot be for additions to the property (such as swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages (unconnected to the property).

The building contract must be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. The construction or renovation must commence within three months of the contract date.

Some Fine Print

  • Building contracts must be at arms-length, that is, the parties cannot be related or connected.
  • Renovations or building work must be undertaken by a registered or licenced building contractor.
  • When it comes to price, the terms should be commercially reasonable, and the contract price should not be inflated compared to the fair market price. 


For projects that are well advanced (e.g. designs completed, approvals in place etc) meeting the timeframes for this funding will be OK.  The challenges will be selecting the right builder, obtaining competitive prices, ensuring compliance with funding criteria and getting a well-built outcome. 

For projects that are not advanced, the challenges are more significant and include:  

  • Managing the building design process
  • Developing a building specification and obtaining engineering designs 
  • Obtaining development and construction approvals 
  • Selecting a suitable builder
  • Obtaining a competitive building price 
  • Ensuring project details meet the funding criteria
  • Complying with funding timelines
  • Ensuring construction works are well managed

Our Thoughts  

Whilst many were hoping the stimulus from the Federal Government was going to be more generous, $25,000 is still $25,000! 

The aim is to get projects committed to and started quickly which in turn gives the local economy an immediate boost.

Obtaining the necessary building approvals can be a slow process.  All of the local Councils in our region experience delays in pushing out approvals and these delays can cause stress at the best of times.

The Complying Development Certificate (CDC) pathway is what we use wherever possible for new homes, renovations, alterations and additions.  A CDC can be approved by a Certifier without the need for a Council development approval. For a CDC to be issued planning, design and building criteria must be met but is much quicker and with less stress.  

However, when speed becomes the overriding consideration other key project criteria can suffer i.e. costs and quality.  

We are very happy to provide assistance on HomeBuilder projects to ensure time-cost-quality variables are all prioritised in equal measure and project outcomes are maximised. 

For the HomeBuilder program to be positive for the home-owner project coordination and management will be key.  This is where we can help as we have experience in all aspects of new residential builds and renovations. 

See 10 Ways Abode2 Can Help On Your Next Residential Project…  for more information on how we can help. 

First Home Owners

First home-owners should also remember the existing schemes that can help them build their first home.  The HomeBuilder funding can be added to the benefits of existing schemes. 

NSW First Home Owners Grant details – this is a grant of $10,000 for those eligible. 

First Home Buyer Assistance scheme – Stamp Duty (Transfer Duty) is waived for eligible first home buyers in NSW

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme – Under this Scheme, eligible first home buyers can purchase a home with a deposit with as little as 5%. The scheme guarantees up to 15% of the value of the property purchased.  While all places have been reserved for 2019-20, places may become available again if applicants do not proceed to purchase a property.  Additionally, another 10,000 Scheme places will be available from 1 July 2020.

We would be very happy to discuss HomeBuilder projects and welcome any enquires. Please contact us with any questions – look forward to talking.                  Thanks, Steve Condon and Damon Moloney