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New Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme

Tuesday 19 January 2021

First-time buyers looking to purchase a home in England will continue to receive Government support under the revised Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme (2021-2023), which is now open for applications with buyers able to move into their new properties from 1 April 2021.

Whilst the new scheme keeps most of the features of the previous (2013-21), a new regional price limit means the cost of the new build property must not exceed 1.5 times the average first-time buyer price. The Government hopes that the limit will keep the prices of new homes closer to the regional first-time buyer average.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan price caps – April 2021 to March 2023

Region

Maximum Property Price

North East

£186,100

North West

£224,400

Yorkshire and Humber

£228,100

East Midlands

£261,900

West Midlands

£255,600

South West

£349,000

East of England

£407,400

South East

£437,600

London

£600,000

Eligibility

As with the previous scheme, to be eligible the property must be a new build. The buyer cannot own another property or have done so in the past and must not sub-let or rent it out after purchase.

The amounts remain the same, with the Government offering up to 20 per cent of the cost of the new build home (40 per cent in London). The remainder is made up by the buyers’ deposit of 5 per cent and the mortgage covering up to 75 per cent (or up to 55 per cent in London).

Buyers must apply through one of the Government’s Help to Buy agents and the new property must be purchased through a registered Help to Buy builder. A number of lenders have started to offer Help to Buy scheme mortgages for use under the new scheme.

Devolved countries

As housing is a devolved issue, the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme (2021-2023) applies to England only. Equivalent schemes with different rules exist in Wales and Scotland. In Wales, the current scheme will remain in place until 2022, while the Scottish Government has recently extended Help to Buy (Scotland) until March 2022. Help to Buy is not available in Northern Ireland since the previous scheme closed to new applications in 2016. 

Help to Buy 2013-21 scheme deadline extended

Following delays caused by the pandemic, the UK Government has extended the deadline for applicants to the 2013-21 scheme. They will now have until 31 May to legally complete their purchase and collect their keys. Homebuilders now have another two months to complete construction (the previous deadline was 31 March).

The UK Government has said they will be no further extensions to the 2013-21 scheme. Those whose builds have been severely delayed and will not meet the legal completion date of 31 May must be released from their contract with the homebuilder.

Propertymark resources

There is more information on the Propertymark website on the Help to Buy and alternative schemes as well as a UK guide to first-time buyer schemes. Agents can share this information with customers and clients to help explain them to any interested parties.