Introducing the Help to Buy ISA

October, 2015

Have you kept a close eye on property market news in recent months? It’s likely you will have read about the brand new Help to Buy ISA scheme. Introduced by the UK government, it’s currently a hot topic in the industry. And if you’re looking to purchase a property in the next few years, it’s definitely worth your attention! 

Interested in knowing more? This introduction covers all of the Help to Buy ISA basics and looks at how it could benefit you.

What is the Help to Buy ISA?

Essentially, the new Help to Buy ISA is exactly what it says on the tin – a UK scheme that helps people buy property. It works by offering financial support to overcome the primary home-buying hurdle – saving up for a deposit. For every penny you save to purchase a property, the government will top up your funds by 25%. So, for every £200 you put aside each month, the government will give you £50. Not bad, right?

Rules & Regulations

The Help to Buy ISA comes with a few provisos…

  • It’s available for first-time home buyers only.
  • The ISA can be used to save for a UK property valued at £250,000 or less.
  • London, however, is an exception - the scheme in this area is available for properties worth up to £450,000.  
  • The Help to Buy ISA is for you and you only, so using it to rent out the property is a big no-no.
  • Anyone wishing to take part must be at least sixteen years old, and must not have applied for any other ISA in the same tax year.
  • Best of all, for those wishing to get started in style, a one-time account-opening lump-sum of £1,000 can also be added to the monthly maximum (£200). 

Big Banks are involved

Santander, NatWest, Virgin Money, Barclays, Lloyds Banking and Nationwide have all signed on the dotted line and agreed to offer the government’s Help to Buy ISA scheme to their customers. Rates will vary depending on the specific bank - just like with previous ISA’s.

How do I sign up?

The Help to Buy ISA scheme kicks off on the 1st December 2015. If you’re a member of any of the banks or building societies above, you’ll be able to sign up for the government-issued savings system by visiting your local branch. The scheme will be in place for four years - which means you’ll have until December 2019 to get involved. It’s worth noting that you’re also allowed to switch Help to Buy ISA providers, allowing you to get a better deal elsewhere if necessary.

Ultimately, the brand new Help to Buy ISA scheme is something that’s worthy of serious consideration if you’re a first-time homebuyer. It’s a great way to ready yourself financially for your first property, and will provide you with the kind of support that you can’t find elsewhere.

Can we help?

If you’d like to discover more about the Help to Buy ISA, feel free to pop in and see us at Weale & Hitchen. Our friendly team will be more than happy to share their professional insights about the scheme and help you decide if it’s right for you.  

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