Following the Federal Government's initial announcement of the $680 million HomeBuilder scheme on 4 June (which we discussed here), the Queensland State Government has recently unveiled a level of stimulus which has not been seen before in the new residential marketplace in North Queensland.

The HomeBuilder and regional home building boost grant (which complement the existing First Home Owners Grant) have been introduced in a bid to overcome the economic downturn the residential construction industry faces as a result of COVID-19. These time-limited schemes can be combined for certain eligible buyers, but none apply for established dwellings or investment properties.

In this update, we set out the criteria and grants offered under three relevant schemes for Queensland home owners – the Federal Government's HomeBuilder, the State Government's regional home building boost grant and First Home Owners' Grant (FHOG).

HomeBuilder scheme

  • the scheme provides a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, regardless of whether the purchaser is a first home buyer
  • eligibility for this scheme is means tested based on the previous financial year, with singles earning less than $125,000 and couples less than $200,000 combined
  • an existing home that has already been completed, or started construction before 4 June 2020, does not qualify for the scheme
  • where construction commences on or after 4 June 2020 and no later than three months after the contract is signed, and provided the contract is signed between 4 June and 31 December 2020, then the property purchase may be eligible for the scheme. This means that a spec home (a brand new property that has already been built or is near completion for sale) started after 4 June qualifies as long as a buyer signed a contract within three months of the construction commencing.

Regional home building boost grant

  • the regional home building boost provides a $5,000 boost for new homes built in regional areas, regardless of whether the purchaser is a first home buyer
  • eligible contracts must be entered into between 16 June 2020 and 31 June 2020
  • regional areas include:
    • Cairns
    • Central Queensland
    • Darling Downs Maranoa
    • Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday
    • Queensland-Outback
    • Toowoomba
    • Townsville
    • Wide Bay.

Queensland First Home Owners' Grant

  • based on the existing scheme, the FHOG provides an additional $15,000 to first home owners.

For eligible first home buyers located in Cairns and Townsville, the combined grants offer a head start to the sum of $45,000.

However, there are still some outstanding questions. In Queensland, the Office of State Revenue is the relevant regulatory administrator of the grants. Once State legislation is in place, it will hopefully clear up a few questions that are unanswered, such as:

  1. are the grants available to use as a deposit?
  2. when will the grant money be available (at settlement, or upon the building commencing construction)?

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.