Help to Buy  

Govt extends Help to Buy completion deadline

Govt extends Help to Buy completion deadline
 Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The completion deadline for the outgoing Help to Buy scheme has been extended as a result of the pandemic.

The extension to May 31 gives homebuilders and homebuyers an additional two months to complete the build and legally complete their purchase under the scheme's terms.

However, Homes England, the public body that funds new affordable housing in England, said there would be no more extensions after that and urged homebuilders to continue to build “at pace”.

It also urged customers to check with their homebuilder and conveyancer that the dates can be met.

According to Homes England, homebuilders must unconditionally release a customer from the contract if their build is severely delayed and they cannot legally complete by May 31.

Alan Fitzpatrick, director of lending at Habito, said: "In the first lockdown, building sites themselves were closed, but while they reopened in June - other parts of the industry such as conveyancers and mortgage lenders, have faced huge pressure from an exceptionally busy period for sales volumes whilst juggling the change to working from home.

“Our advice to any buyers waiting to complete is that you are prompt and forthcoming to any requests for documents, signatures, bank statements that are requested of you - it's often waiting for responses between parties involved that can eat into time."

Craig Hall, head of broker relationships and propositions at Legal & General Mortgage Club, added: “[The] government’s decision to extend the legal completion date of Help to Buy to 31st May will provide a much-needed breathing space for consumers to finalise their home purchase before the current scheme ends.

“It’s been confirmed that this will be the final extension of the scheme and advisers now have a key role to play in helping buyers to understand what these changes mean for them.

“The wider mortgage industry, including advisers, lenders, surveyors and conveyancers, must now work together to ensure those using the current Help to Buy programme are able to complete on their purchase as quickly as possible.”

A new Help to Buy equity loan scheme, open to first-time buyers only, will be available from April 1 until March 31, 2023.

Applications for the 2013-21 Help to Buy scheme closed on December 15.

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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