Help to Buy 

Help to Buy Isa gets buyers moving three years early

Help to Buy Isa gets buyers moving three years early

The Help-to-Buy Isa is helping first-time buyers on to the ladder three years early, according to government statistics.

Figures from the government show that those using the Isas to buy a home are three years younger, on average than those without. The median age of a first-time buyer using the Isa is 27.

The Help to Buy Isa scheme gives a maximum government bonus of £3,000 to buy a home. It was launched in December 2015, and allows people saving for their first home to receive a 25 per cent boost to their savings - up to £12,000 - from the government when they buy a property of £250,000 or less (with a higher price limit of £450,000 in London).

The scheme will be open to new savers until 30 November 2019 and existing saving into their account until 30 November 2029 when accounts will close to additional contributions. The Help to Buy: ISA government bonus must be claimed by 1 December 2030. 

Today's (11 January) figures show 107,000 properties have been bought by people using the scheme, with 143,894 bonuses paid with an average bonus value of £725.

The highest number of property completions with the support of the scheme is in the North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber, with a lower proportion in the North East and Northern Ireland.

The Help to Buy Isa is being largely replaced, however, by the Lifetime Isa (Lisa), a savings product with a similar bonus but which can be used for retirement or for buying a home.

It is only available to those under 40, and those with a Help to Buy Isa can transfer this into a Lisa, which will allow them to save larger amounts each year.

Savers transferring a Help to Buy Isa into a Lisa this tax year will qualify for a potentially higher government bonus. Until the tax year ends, they can transfer the value of a Help to Buy Isa as it stood on 5 April 2017 (plus any interest earned) as a single transfer, and it won’t count towards their 2017/18 Lifetime Isa allowance. This money will also qualify for the government bonus.