The government recently announced the deadline for building work under the current Help to Buy scheme will be extended from December 2020 to February 2021. The extension allows an additional two months to complete properties and is intended to mitigate the impact of coronavirus. It is welcome news for thousands of buyers whose purchases looked sure to fall through.
It’s no surprise that the construction industry has experienced significant delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although this is not unexpected news, for those waiting for their homes to be finished before the original December deadline, it has caused a nervous few months.
In a break from the theme of 2020 so far, there is good news! The government’s recent announcement of an extension means building work doesn’t need to be finished until 28th February 2021. The extra two months provides a chance to make up for lost time. The deadline for legal completion within the scheme remains 31st March 2021.
Since the start of the current scheme in 2013, Help to Buy has helped more than a quarter of a million people to buy a home, with over 270,000 property sales completed. Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher had this to say: “Today’s 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.”
Further to the announcement, Homes England, a governmental housing accelerator, will work specifically with buyers who had a reservation in place before 30th June 2020 to assess their situation, and where necessary, provide an extension to 31st May 2021 for them to legally complete.
According to Which?, first-time buyers account for roughly 80% of property purchases, and with the Help to Buy scheme popular with this demographic, the recent announcement could provide a huge boost for those looking to take their first step onto the property ladder.
The government has been clear it won’t extend the deadline further and delay introducing the reformed Help to Buy scheme in April 2021, however it remains to be seen whether the build deadline could be extended further if COVID-19 makes an unwanted resurgence.