Help-to-Buy extension lifeline to March 2023 – is that long enough?

On the 2nd December, the Government announced that they will “not enforce the First Longstop Date of 31 December 2022 as long as Homebuilders notified us by 20 December 2022 that they are able to finish building your home by 31 January 2023” which in turn saw the completion deadline date extended to the 31st of March 2023.

The Help-to-Buy scheme, which stopped taking new applications on the 31st of October, provided first-time buyers with the opportunity to purchase a new build home with a 5% deposit accompanied by a 20% Government-backed equity loan (increased to 40% for London). To date, close to 370,000 first-time buyers have purchased a new build home. The announcement of the completion extension deadline to the 31st of March 2023, in which homeowners must have the keys by 6pm on that date, will be a relief to many. For others, the announcement comes a little too late as hopeful homeowners were forced to drop out of buying due to fears their house wouldn’t be completed on time and they would therefore need to secure the full deposit.

For the housebuilding industry the challenges of Brexit, material delays, high rising costs and quick-changing Governments have made the last two years a constant battle to ensure houses are built to schedule. For first-time buyers, missed completion deadlines meant their homes were unable to be registered in time for the Help-to-Buy scheme meaning their dreams of getting on the property ladder were dashed. For now, the Government remains firm that the March deadline will be final, but, with many clamouring that this isn’t good enough already, we say, watch this space.