05 Jun 2020

The HomeBuilder winners and losers

Media Release

Homeowners with planning approval in place and those who have available funds on hand for renovations are the big winners in the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder program, according to the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA).

REBAA president Cate Bakos said the $688 million HomeBuilder program offering a $25,000 cash incentive to people who sign contracts to build or substantially renovate their home until the end of the year was a windfall for those homeowners who have been sitting on their hands waiting to renovate.

She said local council planning approval for renovations could potentially be the biggest obstacle to eligibility along with availability of tradespeople.

“This is a great opportunity for those homeowners who may have put off their plans to renovate because of COVID-19,” said Ms Bakos.

“The six-month timeframe to design a renovation, get council approval (if necessary) and source and appoint a builder does make it challenging for those who could potentially get bogged down in the planning approval process.

“For those people who already have the design and planning approval in place or whose renovations don’t require planning approval, this is like winning the lotto.”

Ms Bakos said she did not foresee house prices being significantly impacted by the stimulus package as she doubted it would incentivise an overwhelming number of home buyers to purchase.

“I don’t believe it’s a mainstream strategy that would precipitate a purchase based on the program itself,” she said.

“Any buyer (particularly a first home buyer) who buys with a view to renovate to take advantage of the grant, would need to be extremely well planned to accommodate a settlement period, renovation plans and then appoint a builder with this tight timeframe.

“If that is your strategy, make sure you select a good quality property with good growth prospects and suitable rental yield for your cash flow position in case it becomes an investment later down the track.”

Here are REBAA’s winners and losers in the HomeBuilder program:


  • Those homeowners who already have planning approval in place and/or building designs drawn up.
  • Anyone who has bought a house & land package and is yet to appoint a builder.
  • Anyone looking to upgrade or downsize if they have liquidity to fund a renovation they don’t need approval for.


  • Anyone unable to fund $150,000 renovation and can’t borrow.
  • Anyone above the income threshold.
  • Anyone who can’t find a qualified builder in time to sign a contract.
  • Anyone whose plans could potentially get tied up in planning approval.
  • Anyone whose builder’s qualifications don’t meet the grant requirements.