Govt confirms Help to Buy extension

The Government has extended the Help to Buy scheme deadline to help customers that may have experienced delays in construction due to coronavirus.

Under the current scheme, new homes would needed to have been finished being built by the end of December, however the extension has now moved the deadline to 28 February 2021. The deadline for the legal completion of the sale will remain the same, 31 March 2021.

On Friday evening, the Government stated that its housing accelerator, Homes England, will work with those who had a reservation in place before 30 June to assess their situation and look to provide an extension where necessary.

The Housing Ministry also revealed the new Help to Buy scheme, which will replace the current scheme, will come into place from 1 April 2021 and run until March 2023 as planned – with no plans for further extensions. The new scheme is set to introduce property price caps and will be restricted to first-time buyers only.

Responding to the deadline extension, Zoopla director of new homes, Alex Rose, suggested that demand for Help to Buy properties is “unwavering” and described the news as a “temporary relief” for both housebuilders and agents, as well as for the thousands of buyers whose Help to Buy purchase might otherwise have been jeopardised.

“However, the devil is in the detail, and many would argue that a two month extension might not give housebuilders enough time to meet these build deadlines,” Rose commented. “Residential construction is currently operating at between 60 to 85% of normal output after coronavirus halted work for upwards of six weeks across UK building sites. As a result, many developers are behind with their build schedules.

“Whilst today's news shores up the purchasing plans for some buyers, many of whom are likely to be second steppers, it is uncertain how many will still miss out on this extended deadline.

“With Help To Buy searches on Zoopla peaking at +60% above levels seen before the market reopened in the week that the Chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday, it’s clear that house hunters want to make use of this support. While we'd hoped for a more encompassing extension, every ounce of support helps at this stage.”

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