Homes England, the government agency responsible for the provision of funding under the Help to Buy Scheme has announced that the deadline for existing Help to Buy Equity Loan schemes will be extended from 28th February 2021 to the 31st March, giving housebuilders an extra month to reach build completion on their equity loan transactions.
Last July, with build programmes significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the first longstop date for the Help to Buy: Equity Loan (2013-2021) scheme was extended from the end of December 2020 to 28th February 2021. All Help to Buy eligible homes were required to have reached practical completion before this date.
Emails are now being sent out by Homes England, stating that the first longstop date of 28th February 2021 will not be enforced if the home has reached practical completion on or before 31st March 2021. The homebuyer must also legally complete the purchase of the home by this date.
Buyers are no longer able to enrol in the scheme as the closing date for new applications was 15th December 2020. However, buyers who are already enrolled in the scheme, but who were concerned that delays caused by the third lockdown would have caused them to miss the 31st March deadline will be pleased to hear about the extension.
There is an exception to this extension. Any homes that were reserved before June 30th 2020, and where Homes England had previously agreed to a further extension, the legal and practical completion deadline remains 31st May 2021. is only available to homes delayed by the first national lockdown on construction.
At the end of March, a new Help to Buy scheme is due to be implemented. The eligibility criteria for both buyer and property is set out in detail in the Help to Buy: Equity Loan (2021-2023) documentation. Developers who are looking to continue to sell property under the Help to Buy Scheme beyond the 31st March 2021 deadline should be entering into new funding agreements with Homes England to utilise the Help to Buy Equity Loan (2021 -2023).
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