Help to Buy ISA closing to new applicants on Nov 30th

The Help to Buy ISA will close to new applicants on November 30th.

It is a government scheme to help first time buyers get on the property ladder by offering a £50 bonus for every £200 saved, up to a maximum boost of £3,000.

If you're over 16, a first time buyer, or think you will be at any point in the next decade, then you can apply ahead of the deadline.

Applying doesn't take long (have your NI number handy before you do) and can be done at most banks or building societies. Here's a full list of Help to Buy ISA providers. You can open the ISA with as little as £1.

Quick catch-up: What else do you need to know about the Help to Buy ISA before the deadline?

  • If you're saving for your house with a partner, you can both open your own ISA. That means as long as you both qualify as first time buyers, you could receive up to £6,000 in government bonuses

  • You can save up to £200 a month – although in the first month after you open it, you can deposit up to £1,200

  • You can use the government bonus to purchase any house up to £250,000 (or £450,000 in London)

  • There's a minimum bonus of £400, meaning you need to have £1,600 saved in your Help to Buy ISA first

  • They are not all the same. As well as the set government bonus, each provider also offers their own rate of interest, which can be around 2% more than standard savings accounts

  • Whatever provider you choose, you don't need to get a mortgage with that provider. You're always free to choose your mortgage deal from any bank or lender

If you think you're not going to make the deadline, don't worry - help's still available

The Help to Buy Equity Loan

Still part of the Help to Buy scheme, but not finishing on November 30th, the equity loan can lend you funds worth up to 20% of the house you are buying. Alongside a 5% deposit, this means you can get a 75% LTV mortgage.

This isn't free money, though. You'll be charged 1.75% in interest after the first 5 years. This rate increases annually. You can find out more info here.

Lifetime ISA

These are similar to Help to Buy ISAs, with the government topping up your savings by £1,000 every year. The ISA can be used to help fund a house purchase or your retirement.

The actual bonus is 25%, so to get the full £1,000, you need to save £4,000 a year.

To qualify for a Lifetime ISA you need to be between the ages of 18 and 39, although once you have an account the bonus is paid every year until you're 50.

So, if you're saving the full amount from 18 to 50, you could get up to £33,000 towards your first home or retirement.

More details are available here.

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