Window closing for HomeBuilder grants: Weekly market wrap with Sam Dodimead


Time is rapidly evaporating for those looking to secure their $25,000 HomeBuilder Grant and the window of opportunity is closing faster than you may think. An element of naivety exists where buyers are focused on the grant expiry date rather than the practicalities of exchanging contracts late in the year. This has created a perception of having far more time to make decisions than is effectively available, without significantly increasing the risk of missing out on the grant.

In 2020, Christmas Day falls on a Friday, so there will be some solicitors/conveyancers working up until Christmas Eve. There are firms who promote their ability to transact 365 days per year, however, this is only useful if the vendor’s solicitor is also available. On the basis all parties are available until 24 December, a purchaser perceiving they have until 31 December to exchange contracts to secure their $25,000 HomeBuilder Grant has lost a week of opportunity to transact without realising it.

Purchasers of new properties will find different sale processes exist within the market. Some developers instruct their agents to exchange contracts at the point of sale subject to a five business day cooling off period. Others prefer sales instructions to be issued to solicitors/conveyancers which takes longer; however, once contracts exchange, they are exchanged unconditionally. Regardless of the vendors’ chosen transaction method, prospective purchasers should seek independent legal advice prior to exchange, which may become difficult for purchasers who make decisions too late in the year.

To avoid potential disappointment and pressure attempting to meet time-critical deadlines, from the date of publication (29 October), purchasers seeking to secure their $25,000 HomeBuilder Grant realistically have 32 days to find their property. This timeframe provides a small buffer in the event things do not run exactly to plan. Most importantly, it reflects timeframes to exchange which average 24 days across the apartment and townhouse projects in my portfolio.

Vendors causing delays may surprise some purchasers. For example, contract amendment requests take time for the vendors’ solicitors/conveyancers to seek instructions, draft a response and reply. It is not uncommon for several days to pass prior to purchasers receiving responses. Instructions for vendors’ solicitors to execute a contract under power of attorney can cause another delay at a point when purchasers are ready to exchange. The range of factors outside of purchasers’ control increase the importance of choosing a property and starting the process to own sooner rather than later to avoid missing out on the $25,000 HomeBuilder Grant.

With Sam Dodimead, local property professional and host of Canberra Property Podcast where you can get to know the consultants contributing toward deliver of new buildings. Stream from wherever you listen to podcasts.   

Find up-to-date local news, lifestyle, entertainment, sports and more at Canberra Weekly.

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