The government has extended the practical completion deadline for the current Help to Buy equity loan scheme by two months, moving from the end of December to February 28 2021.
The move has come following the disruption the coronavirus pandemic has caused the housebuilding industry.
For home buyers who reserved a home under Help to Buy before June 30 2020 and “are experiencing severe delays due to Covid-19,” the legal completion deadline can potentially be extended from March 31 to May 31 2021. But for those who have reserved since July 1, this deadline remains the end of March.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said Homes England would assess the situation of those who had reserved before June 30 “and look to provide an extension [to the legal deadline] where necessary”.
MHCLG also announced that the new Help to Buy scheme would be implemented as planned from April 1 2021, with “no plans for further extensions” beyond March 2023. The new iteration introduces regional price caps and will be for first time buyers only.
Christopher Pincher, Housing minister, said: “The announcement will help provide certainty and assurance for Help to Buy customers whose new homes have been delayed due to coronavirus and affirms the government’s commitment to helping more people to own their own home.”
David O’Leary, HBF’s policy director, commented: “This is a welcome move that will ensure thousands of homebuyers do not miss out on their new home purchase. It will mean buyers of homes where completion was delayed because of the coronavirus shut down will still be able to use this government support to get on the housing ladder. With mortgages for first-time buyers now few and far between, Help to Buy is more important than ever and this flexibility will help smooth the transition the replacement scheme opening in April.
“It’s particularly important for many first-time buyers in the Midlands and Northern regions where the criteria for the new Help to Buy scheme will be much more restrictive and many fewer homes will be available.”