The government has confirmed homebuyers will now have till 31 May to complete purchases under its Help to Buy scheme, a decision that has been well received by many housebuilders.
The government has extended the deadline by two months, with the scheme originally due to end on 31 March.
A number of housebuilders have said the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme – which offers buyers a 20% interest-free loan in lieu of a deposit – has been vital in allowing first-time buyers to continue to buy new homes, given the lack of available mortgage finance at high loan-to-value ratios since the start of the pandemic.
The government has made no official announcement of the change to the deadline, though, instead choosing to update guidance around the scheme online and advising trade associations of the change.
The updated guidance says that, while Help to Buy will still officially end on 31 March 2021, homebuyers using the current scheme will be given additional time to finalise their purchase.
The guidance reads: “We are extending legal completion to 31 May 2021 due to delays caused by Coronavirus.
“This allows an extra 2 months for homebuilders to complete the build and for homebuyers to legally complete and get the keys to their home.
“There will be no more extensions, so we are asking homebuilders to continue to build at pace. Please check with your homebuilder and conveyancer that you’re able to meet these dates.”
David O’Leary, policy director at the Home Builders Federation, said: “Coronavirus has disrupted some build programmes and caused delays to many housing transactions.
“We are pleased that the government has listened to the calls for more time to complete these Help to Buy homes.
“We welcome the extension, which will be a relief for many homebuyers who may otherwise have been unable to purchase their new home.”
The current Help to Buy scheme is due to be replaced by a new curtailed version, which will be available only to first-time buyers and includes lower regional price caps, preventing it from being used to fund the sale of more expensive properties.
Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
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