The deadline for
final applications under the decade-old Help to Buy will be 31 October -
two months earlier than expected.
Homes England has updated
its website to confirm the scheme will stop accepting applications five months
before the scheme officially ends on 31 March 2023 and not three as some had
expected. It is likely to mean that several thousand home buyers who may have
been planning to use the scheme in October to December will now not be able to.
David O’Leary, policy
director at the Home Builders Federation, told the Financial Times: “This new
deadline defies logic.
“Help to Buy has supported
a third of a million households to buy their first home but a last few thousand
potential homeowners are having the ladder pulled away with little warning.
” We want to work with
Homes England and government to find a more sensible approach.”
Under Help to Buy buyers
can take an equity loan of up to 20% of the cost of a new build home (up to 40%
in London) and use a deposit of just 5% to buy a property.
The scheme was tightened
last April to ensure only first-time buyers are eligible. The government also
introduced regional purchase price caps based on 1.5 times the average regional
first-time buyer price, ranging from £186,100 in the north east to £600,000 in
The tightened criteria has
led to a significant drop in numbers of people using the scheme, with the
largest drops in the north west, north east and west midlands. Completions
through the scheme in the three months to 31 December were 41% down on the same period pre-pandemic.
A Homes England
spokesperson said the 31 October deadline was to “ensure consumers have enough
time to complete their purchase”. Purchases must complete before 31 March.
She added:” Homebuilders
were informed about the deadline for new applications around the 17 May. The
guidelines for applying for the Help to Buy: Equity Loan on gov.uk were then
updated on 20 May to clearly state the deadline for new applications. Help to
Buy agents also updated their websites week commencing 16 May.”
“When the scheme
closes on the 31 March 2023 homebuyers must have legally completed on their
home. The deadline for new applications is at the end of October to ensure
consumers have enough time to complete their purchase including finalising
A department for Levelling
Up, Housing & Communities spokesperson said: “The scheme is just one of the
ways the government has made homeownership more achievable and affordable.
“Shared Ownership, First Homes and the Mortgage
Guarantee Scheme continue to support many more people into homes of their own.”
Taken from an
article published by Housing Today, written by Carl Brown, published 30th