Help to Buy deadline draws near

The Government’s Help to Buy scheme is coming to a close and the deadline for new applications is 31st October this year. All applications for purchasing properties through the Help to Buy scheme must be submitted before the October deadline – and only properties that will be build-complete by 31st December 2022 will be eligible for the scheme. There is no guarantee that Homes England will honour the 20% Equity Loan if the building is completed next year, so it is so important to ensure the homes being applied for will be building-complete before the turn of the year.

First-time buyers who are looking to take advantage of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme will have to reserve a property by the end of October. With the scheme officially closing in March 2023, the October deadline is the first stage of bringing the whole process to a close. The timeline for the various deadlines is:

• October 31st, 2022 – deadline for applications
• December 31st, 2022 – deadline for homes to reach practical completion
• March 31st, 2022 – deadline for buyers to complete on their homes

The Help to Buy scheme was originally launched by then-chancellor George Osbourne in 2013 in a bid to rekindle the ailing housing market. Since December 2020, the equity loan scheme for England has been open to applications from first-time buyers only and there have been regional price caps for qualifying properties.

A spokesperson from Homes England stated: “When the scheme closes on the 31 March 2023 homebuyers must have legally exchanged on their home. The deadline for new applications is at the end of October to ensure consumers have enough time to complete their purchase”.

Top Tips for completing applications
To make sure as many prospective applicants get their submissions over the line before the deadline, we wanted to outline some common hurdles. The first point is to make sure the property being reserved is on course to be fully built by the end of the year – this will avoid the home becoming ineligible when the December 31st deadline rolls around. Another key area to look at is to make sure that where information is duplicated between the Reservation Form, the Help to Buy system, and the Property Information Form (PIF), there should be no discrepancies.

If you are declaring overtime income for your clients, ensure that a monthly figure is entered. One of the most common reasons for asking for amendments to a Help to Buy application is that annual overtime income has been declared as a monthly figure. There are times that people can earn a significant amount in monthly overtime. If your clients have overtime income of more than £1,000 per month, it is advisable to send a follow-up email to the Help to Buy agent immediately after you submit the application.

A department for levelling up, housing and communities spokesperson said: “The scheme is just one of the ways the government has made homeownership more achievable and affordable. Shared Ownership, First Homes and the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme continue to support many more people into homes of their own.”

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