Half a million first-time buyers sign up for Help to Buy Isas
Over half a million people have signed up for a Help to Buy Isa since the scheme launched in December, according to recent figures from the Treasury.
The scheme promises a 25% top-up, worth up to £3,000, on any savings in the account when a person completes their first property. Savers using the scheme can deposit up to £200 per month, as well as an extra £1,000 when they open the account. You can also earn up to 3% interest in Virgin Money’s top paying Help to Buy Isa.
- Read more: How does the Help to Buy Isa work?
Overall, demand for the scheme remains high, though it is slowing. A quarter of a million people signed up for Help to Buy Isas within two months of the scheme launching, but it has taken five months for the next 250,000 people to subscribe.
To date, 2,090 people have cashed in Help to Buy Isas to receive the government bonus. This has to be done on completion of a property, and the bonus is only paid if there is at least £1,600 in the account. These funds have been used to buy 1,490 properties, as some people were joint buyers.
The average price of a home bought with a Help to Buy Isa is £189,795, significantly below the national average of £292,000. This is partly because first-time buyers buy properties that are smaller than average, but also because the vast majority (94%) of Help to Buy purchases were for properties outside the capital.
Separate government figures show that so far, 160,000 people have used various Government Help to Buy schemes to step onto the property ladder. As well as the Help to Buy Isa, these include Help to Buy Equity Loans and the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.
- See Mortgage help for first-time buyers for information on how each of the schemes works.
Government Minister Greg Clarke says: "These figures clearly show how we’re helping people realise home ownership dream, with 141 new homeowners a day and thousands of households helped every month through government-backed schemes.
"Anyone thinking about home ownership and those who believe it is out of reach should look again at the range of government schemes available to them."
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.