It turns out that first-time buyers wanting to take advantage of the government’s Buyer Assistance Scheme will have to book a property by the end of October, two months earlier than expected.
The programme, which offers buyers a loan in the form of shares to enable them to buy a new home with a down payment of just 5%, is set to end in March 2023 — a decade after it was launched to boost the housing market after a funding crisis.
By then, buyers must complete the purchase process, so the deadline for submitting applications has been set for the end of this year.
The developers were told the move to stop it earlier, which was first reported by the Sunday Telegraph, but has not been widely shared.
Homes England, which runs the scheme, changed the guidelines on its website on May 20 to inform builders of the new deadline. The deadline for applications is now October 31, 2022 at 6:00 PM.
George Osborne launched the Help-to-Buy program in 2013 to put the struggling housing market back on. Originally there were two parts, the mortgage guarantee and the equity loan program, that were available to all homebuyers.
From December 2020, England’s Equity Loan Scheme is open to first-time buyers only and there are regional price limits for eligible properties.
In London, buyers can take out a government loan of up to 40% of the purchase price of up to £600,000, while they can borrow 20% elsewhere. Outside the capital, the maximum price ranges from £186,100 to £437,600.
Interest-free loans for the first five years. They can be paid off at any time, but they must be paid off when the home is sold or the mortgage is paid off.
Government figures show that by the end of last year 355,634 properties with a total value of £99 billion had been purchased with an equity loan and that the total value of loans granted was £22 billion.
A Homes England spokesperson said the dates had been agreed with the government and key stakeholders had been informed.
By the time the program ends on March 31, 2023, homebuyers should have legally traded their homes. The deadline for new applications is the end of October to ensure consumers have enough time to complete their purchase.”
Although most users of the software were first-time buyers, it was controversial. Earlier this year, a House of Lords committee said the scheme was raising prices by more than the loan amount to buyers and that the subsidy “doesn’t represent good value for money”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Communities said: “The scheme is just one of the ways the government has made home ownership easier and more affordable.”