These are the areas most likely to take up the $25,000 HomeBuilder grants – if their owners can actually afford it

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  • CoreLogic has revealed the ten areas in Australia with the most number of households eligible for HomeBuilder renovations.
  • Dominating the list is Melbourne and Perth, with the two cities sporting seven areas with almost 800,000 eligible homes.
  • However, the analysis shows that there’s likely to be far fewer Australians ready to take on the renovations, especially given a national recession.

The government scheme is bound to produce a few winners if they can manage to jump some extensive eligibility hurdles.

On unveiling the predictably-named HomeBuilder program last week, the government also announced qualifying criteria that will exclude the vast majority of Australians from receiving the $25,000.

Incomes have to be below $125,000 for singles and $200,000 for households while new builds will have to cost less than $750,000.

Homeowners who will want to use it to renovate will have an even tougher time qualifying, with their home needed to be valued at less than $1.5 million and their project needing to cost between $150,000 and $750,000. As unemployment rises and Australia plunges into a recession, it’s unlikely there will be all too many people willing to splash $125,000.

However, with the government expecting 7,000 grants to be handed out there will be some better placed to take advantage of the handouts.

According to CoreLogic, those are predominately clustered in just two cities: Melbourne and Perth.

Melbourne’s south-east, for example, tops the list. It’s home to more than 157,000 households of which 93.7% earn less than $200,000. Meanwhile, the median property value is less than $650,000.

It’s closely followed by the city’s west, north-east and outer east, covering more than half a million households. With roughly nine out of every ten households earning beneath the income threshold, there could be around 450,000 households that would qualify for the scheme.

Perth, meanwhile, is led by the city’s north-west, south-east and south-west areas, home to more than 370,000 homes. Of those, as many as 330,000 homes could be eligible.

Rounding out the top ten spots are the Gold Coast, Adelaide’s north, and the ACT. Between the three, there could be another 300,000 eligible homes.

Between the top ten, that’s roughly one million homes that could be eligible for the HomeBuilder scheme. Of course, the percentage of those with more than $125,000 in savings would be far lower.

Around 3% of Australians reported having more than $150,000 in savings, according to a Finder survey last year. Using some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic, that would leave around 30,000 in those areas who may actually have the means to use HomeBuilder.

Of those, again there’s probably a far smaller proportion who would be willing to splash their entire cash savings on a reno that might not necessarily add the same amount of value to their home.

The assumption that these specific areas have that kind of financial firepower is in some cases pretty unlikely. Consider Melbourne, for example.

“These [four Melbourne] regions represent the fringe of the metropolitan area, and include some relatively low-income areas compared to the inner-city regions of Melbourne,” CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen wrote in the analysis.

In fact, many of the highest earners and thus the most likely to renovate are excluded either by the income cap or the value of their homes. Consider that Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs and northern beaches have median property values flirting with $1.5 million.

It goes to show how hamstrung the scheme is – at least when it comes to renovations.

“Even where dwellings fall well below the $1.5 million threshold for a renovation grant, many of these owner occupiers will not take up the homebuilder incentive for renovations,” Owen wrote, noting those who are interested perhaps shouldn’t be renovating at all.

“For areas where dwelling prices and incomes are relatively low, this may lead to owners over-capitalising on renovations, where they cannot recoup the cost of upgrades to the property.”

The real winner out of the scheme after all then might simply be the tradies, who the PM has given the responsibility of leading the economic recovery.

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