For first-time buyers, the Help to Buy: ISA is a handy way to boost your savings. This scheme means you can get a 25% contribution from the government for every £200 you save, up to a maximum bonus of £3,000 per person.
These savings accounts are available to each first-time buyer from a wide variety of banks, building societies and credit unions. So, if you are purchasing a home with someone else, together you can receive a total government bonus of up to £6,000 for your first home.
To meet the criteria for a Help to Buy: ISA you must:
- Be 16 or over
- Have a valid National Insurance number
- Be a UK resident
- Be a first-time buyer, and not own a property anywhere
- Not have another active cash ISA in the same tax year
If you have already opened a cash ISA this tax year, you are able to open a Help to Buy: ISA, however you will need to take additional steps. Head over to helptobuy.gov.uk to find out more.
To qualify for the government bonus, the property you are buying must:
- Be in the UK
- Be the only home you will own
- Be where you will be living
- Be purchased with a mortgage
- Have a purchase price of up to £250,000 (or up to £450,000 in London)
How the Help to Buy: ISA Works
Open a Help to Buy: ISA with a bank, building society or credit union with a lump sum of up to £1,200. Save up to £200 per month into your account. The minimum bonus is £400, so you will need to save £1,600 into your ISA before you can claim your bonus. The maximum you can receive is £3,000. You will need to save £12,000 to receive the maximum bonus.
Once you are ready to buy your first home, you will need to apply for your government bonus. Your conveyancer will do this for you; it is important that they know you have a Help to Buy: ISA. You must close your ISA and send the closing statement and First-Time Buyers declaration to your conveyancer for them to apply for your bonus.
The government bonus will be included in the money you are using to purchase your home at completion. It can not be used for the deposit due at the exchange of contracts, or to pay for any fees or costs associated with buying a home.
Use the government’s Help to Buy: ISA calculator to work out how much of a top-up you will get from the government.
Things to Know
- You must be a first-time buyer to qualify for a Help to Buy: ISA account.
- You can deposit a lump sum of up to £1,200 to start your savings.
- You can save up to £200 per month in your Help to Buy: ISA account.
- You need to save at least £1,600 to receive the minimum government bonus of £400.
- The maximum government bonus per person is £3,000.
- To receive the maximum government bonus you would need to save £12,000 per person.
- Your conveyancer applies for your government bonus when you are buying your first home (do not forget to tell them you have an Help to Buy: ISA account).
- You can use the Help to Buy: ISA with other government schemes too.
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