Changes to the Help to Buy Scheme

Help to Buy is set to undergo radical changes in April 2021.

Currently, Help to Buy is available to anybody purchasing a new build home worth up to £600,000.  The scheme is not limited to first-time buyers and is also used by those looking to move home, particularly families looking to up-size and purchase a larger new build home than they would otherwise be unable to afford.

However, from April 2021 the scheme will only be open to first-time buyers meaning those who are looking to sell their current property and buy a larger home are unable to benefit from Help to Buy. It is important to note that the official definition of a first-time buyer can be somewhat different to what clients perceive. We are often instructed by clients who believe they are first-time buyers (and usually expecting to benefit from zero/reduced stamp duty) only to find out they are not. The question is not whether you have bought a property in the past, but whether you have owned any interest in land whether that be in the UK or overseas. If, for example, you have inherited a house in the past or been added to the title of a property owned by parents you are not a first-time buyer and will therefore be unable to use Help to Buy.

In addition to restricting Help to Buy to first-time buyers, the maximum purchase price is going to be reduced in all areas of the country except for London. From April 2021, the purchase price will be capped on a regional basis at 1.5x the average price paid by a first-time buyer in that area as calculated based on government figures from August 2018. The new maximum purchase price for each region is shown below.

  • North East: £186,100
  • North West: £224,400
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: £228,100
  • East Midlands: £261,900
  • West Midlands: £255,600
  • East of England: £407,400
  • London: £600,000
  • South East: £437,600
  • South West: £349,000

Our clients who are purchasing a home in London will be unaffected by the regional changes as, perhaps by coincidence depending on how cynical you are of government motives, the cap has remained unaltered under the new method of calculation. However, those who are looking to buy a new build home in Dorking and other areas throughout the South East will see a 27% reduction in the maximum purchase price.

If you are looking to move to a larger home using Help to Buy you would need to do so before the scheme is restricted to first-time buyers. Similarly, if you are considering using Help to Buy outside London and the purchase price is likely to exceed the new regional limits you would need to do so before the changes are implemented.

 

If you have any queries regarding Help to Buy or any aspect of buying a New Build Home, please contact Stephen Carr on 01306 884432 or email scarr@meaby.co.uk