The Help to Buy Government ISA scheme is set to close so first-time buyers need to act fast to start saving towards a big, free boost. Property expert, associate Javed Ahmed, gives more background here in our latest blog.
There are very few occasions in life when you will be offered what is effectively free money. That’s what the Help to Buy ISA gives to first time buyers to assist with the purchase of a home.
However, it isn’t going to be around for much longer. New accounts can only be opened until 30 November this year and if you’re thinking of buying your first home at any point in the next 11 years, you really ought to sign up for one now with only weeks left.
A Help to Buy ISA can be opened by anyone aged 16 and over who does not yet own a property. They were introduced in 2015 as a way of helping people get on the housing ladder at a time when prices were going up and up.
You are allowed to put up to £200 a month into an ISA and when you are ready to buy a house, the Government will top it up with a further 25%, up to a maximum of £3,000.
Of course, you don’t have to save £200 every month and if you need to get the money back at any time you can.
The bonus can be claimed on homes worth up to £250,000, or if you’re buying in London you can claim it on homes up to £450,000 - but it has to be your main residence.
What makes it such a no-brainer for a first-time buyer is that there’s no tax payable on any interest earned. This means the Government’s 25% top up beats the very best saving rates of any bank account currently on the market.
And if you’re saving with a partner, they can have their own ISA and get their own 25% or £3,000, meaning you can claim up to £6,000 towards your home subject to them also being first time buyers.
While contributions can be made up until November 2029, and the bonus claimed until 1 December 2030, there are just weeks left to get an ISA started. To open one you just have to contact your bank and they can tell you more.
The next step is then to find a home, sort the paperwork and get those keys in your hands.