In response to the economic fallout caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government is currently considering whether to extend its Help to Buy scheme by 12 months. 

The scheme, which allows buyers to purchase new build homes with a 5% deposit, assisted by a government equity loan up to 20% (or up to 40% in London), is currently scheduled to expire in April 2021.

It is due to be replaced by a pared back version that will only be available to first time buyers (who, according to statistics, make up approximately 80% of the uptake) and with revised eligibility and lending criteria.

There has been uncertainty and confusion in the construction industry since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown and it is hoped that any extension to the scheme will help to kickstart house building once restrictions are lifted. According to analysis by Savills, building work on 220,000 new homes has ground to a halt as a result of the crisis.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation has said that: “Help to Buy has been central to the huge increases in supply in recent years and an extension could support demand, confidence and supply levels when the market returns”.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told Property Week: “Building the homes the country needs is a priority for the government and we are working to protect capacity so that when normal service resumes, we can get Britain building more homes than ever before”.

Please note that this information is provided for general knowledge only and therefore specific advice should be sought for individual cases.

For further information, please contact Philip Mundy