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Help To Buy: is the government about to scrap or modify it?

The government is thought to be reviewing Help To Buy which, it is claimed, could end with the scheme being scrapped or replaced before its scheduled end in April 2021.

Commercial industry publication Property Week says the Department for Communities and Local Government has asked the London School of Economics to conduct an independent evaluation as part of the review.

Property Week says the report - to be delivered to the DCLG after canvassing views of the Home Builders Federation, developers and housing commentators - will assess the introduction of a tapering system before the end of the scheme, under which assistance to buyers would be gradually reduced in the run-up to April 2021. 

The publication says builders would prefer a phased reduction or alternative scheme rather than a ‘cliff-edge’ end to the assistance. 

The government has confirmed that it routinely reviews Help To Buy but insists this does not indicate any definite decision to scrap the scheme.

However, Property Week says some options under discussion include more stringent criteria for applicants with possible restrictions to first time buyers only, and changes to the maximum prices of properties to which HTB would apply.

Property Week says across England around 30 per cent of private new homes have been sold via Help to Buy in recent years with one builder - Persimmon - selling over 50 per cent of its properties this way. 

Help To Buy allows purchase of new build properties with a five per cent deposit. Purchasing new build with Help To Buy can be up to 20 per cent cheaper than renting and up to 30 per cent cheaper than buying with a 95 per cent loan-to-value mortgage.


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