Firms given more time to finish construction of homes under scheme

The government has confirmed it is giving housebuilders more time to complete the construction of homes sold using Help to Buy.

The move will give housebuilders two additional months to finish building houses sold with the government support, moving the effective deadline for practical completion from 31 December to 28 February 2021.

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Help to Buy is being redrawn from next April

But it has not formally extended the final deadline of 31 March for legal completion of sales under the scheme.

On Friday evening housing secretary Christopher Pincher tweeted the move was being made to “provide certainty and assurance for families whose new homes have been delayed due to coronavirus”.

The Help to Buy scheme supports sales to those without large deposits by offering buyers a 20% equity loan to help their purchase. Since its inception in 2013, it has helped 224,000 households to buy a new-build home, supporting sales worth almost £75bn, at a cost of £16bn.

The scheme is due to end on March 31 next year, to be replaced by a much more restricted version limited to first-time buyers only and featuring regional price caps.

The Home Builders’ Federation had estimated 18,400 sales would have fallen through had the scheme not been extended, with 7,700 of those being sales from buyers who will not be eligible to qualify under the new version of the scheme in April.

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