Unfortunately permanent residents are not eligible to apply for the HomeBuilder Grant for new house builds or renovations. As per the eligibility requirements released by Treasury, only Australian Citizens are eligible to apply for the $25,000 HomeBuilder Grant.

The eligibility for the HomeBuilder grant will be the same as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and only open to Australian citizens.

Can a joint application for the HomeBuilder grant be made where one applicant is an Australian citizen and the other a permanent resident or holder of a different visa type?

No. Both applications must be Australian citizens.  This is outlined in the Treasury fact sheet:

“Carla and Andrew apply for HomeBuilder via the relevant revenue office which conducts the eligibility checks and confirms that both Carla and Andrew are Australian citizens.”

Are New Zealand citizens eligible for the HomeBuilder Grant?

Sorry bro, no ANZAC spirit here.  The eligibility criteria is strict – it’s not open to New Zealand citizens or any other permanent residents.

What if only the Australian citizen (who is one of the persons listed on the title) applies by themselves and excludes their non-citizen partner?

This is not possible.  The updated HomeBuilder Grant FAQs issued 14 July 2020 states:

“If more than one person is listed on the certificate of title they must jointly apply for the HomeBuilder grant as a couple (provided they meet the definition of a ‘couple’ in their State or Territory – please see FAQ below). A property is only eligible for one HomeBuilder grant.

Can the non-Australian citizen transfer their portion of the property title to their spouse and then the Australian citizen spouse submits an application?

This may be possible, although this will require a lender that will enable the mortgage to be joint but the security to be with only a single member of the couple, meaning a re-finance may also be required.

In addition if transferring a % of the title, stamp duty will likely apply in most States, however depending on the value of the property or land, and whether any concessions are available, the amount of stamp/transfer duty may be significantly less compared to the $25,000 grant.

What documentation is required to be provided?

The State or Territory revenue office will require certain documents to process your application. It is expected that you will need to provide the following at a minimum:

  • proof of identity;
  • a copy of the contract, dated and signed by you and the nominated registered or licenced builder;
  • a copy of the builder’s registration or licence (depending on the state you live in);
  • a copy of your 2018-19 or 2019-20 tax return or ATO issued Notice of Assessment to demonstrate your eligibility against the income cap; and
  • documents such as council approvals, building contracts or occupation certificates and evidence of land value.

Please also read the Home builder grant eligibility criteria here: HomeBuilder $25,000 Grant Eligibility

What is a citizenship application has been lodged by a permanent resident?

At this stage it would need to be approved well before 31 December 2020 to enable an application to be made before the cut off date.

There is nothing preventing construction or renovation works continuing (assuming already planned) and if the citizenship is the only item preventing the Grant being accepted, if it ends up being approved it should be considered a bonus but shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

Is it fair to exclude permanent residents who are not citizens from the HomeBuilder Grant?

Fairness is a matter of opinion, and considering that most other Government incentives relating to COVID-19 are open to permanent residents, it doesn’t seem fair that non-citizens are excluded.

Permanent residents make up a significant portion of our community, pay taxes, start businesses, create jobs and in many cases more likely to build a new home.  The exclusion of permanent residents from the HomeBuilder Grant seems to reduce the effectiveness of the building and construction industry stimulation the Government is trying to achieve.

Also read: ‘It’s unfair’: HomeBuilder scheme makes Australian permanent residents feel left out