Government announce further Help to Buy extension due to COVID-19

Current equity loan applicants have until end of May to complete on their new home

Homes England have confirmed that those buying a home through the current Help to Buy scheme, which was due to expire at the end of March, will now have until Monday 31st May 2021 to complete on the purchase of their new home.

The government initially announced an extension of the current scheme in August last year due to building delays caused by COVID-19. However, as disruptions continue into 2021, these additional two months will allow developers more time to complete the construction of affected properties, and in turn help more buyers get the keys to their new home.

Homes England have noted that no further extension will be given after May 31st. If the homebuying or construction process has been severely delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the buyer isn’t able to meet the new completion date, homebuilders must release buyers from their contract and refund their reservation fees. If contracts have already been exchanged, the developer must also return the buyer’s deposit.

If Homes England have already issued the buyer with an Authority to Proceed to use the Help to Buy scheme, the homebuilder could be entitled to make certain deductions from the buyer’s reservation fee, but they would need to make the buyer aware first.

An updated version of the Help to Buy scheme will come into effect from April 2021, with applications for the new equity loan already open to budding buyers. Updates to Help to Buy will see eligibility criteria changed, meaning that the equity loan will only be available to first time buyers, as well as the introduction of regional price caps. For more information about changes to the scheme, check out our full round-up here.

As applications for the expiring equity loan closed on Tuesday 15th December 2020, this extension only affects those whose applications were already underway before this cut-off.

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