No Help to Buy extension coming, says housing minister
Housing minister Christopher Pincher has pledged there will be no extension for the Help to Buy scheme in England at the end of March.
From 1 April a more restricted version of the Help to Buy scheme will come into place until March 2023, with regional limits on the value of properties and sales only to first-time buyers.
The government has already extended two key deadlines for builders by two months for the existing scheme in acknowledgement of the impact of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
And buyers who had a reservation in place before 30 June and have been significantly affected can request Homes England to assess their situation and look to provide an extension where necessary up to 31 May 2021 to legally complete.
Fears have also been raised that completions will be held up by the high demand in the mortgage market coupled with the stamp duty holiday which ends on the same day, and Homes England has already had to apologise after it stepped in to clear delays from one backlog.
But despite pressure from the industry to extend the overall cut-off point for sales to be completed, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government appears unmoved.
No plans to extend
Responding to a written question, Pincher agreed there had been disruption but said changes had already been made to accommodate this and no further deadlines would be moved.
“The government recognises that there have been delays caused by Covid-19. That is why on 31 July a two-month extension was announced to the building completion deadline from 31 December 2020 to 28 February 2021,” he said.
“The legal completion deadline for the purchase remains 31 March 2021.
“The government also announced an extra measure to protect existing customers who have experienced severe delays as a result of coronavirus.”
Pincher continued: “We believe these measures provide sufficient time for developers to build out homes delayed by Covid-19 and protect customers whose purchases have been significantly delayed. There are no plans to extend the current scheme further.”