Closed to new applicants – Help to Buy: Individual Savings Account (ISA)
- Headline benefits: Saving money into a Help to Buy: ISA, the government will boost your savings by 25%.
- Headline requirements: First time buyer.
Overview of scheme
The Help to Buy ISA closed to new accounts at midnight on 30 November 2019. For those who already opened a Help to Buy ISA (or did so before 30 November 2019), they will be able to continue saving into your account until November 2029 and to claim their 25% government bonus by November 2030.
At Budget 2015, the government announced the Help to Buy: ISA to support people saving up for their first home. First time buyers who choose to save through a Help to Buy: ISA are eligible for a government bonus of up to £3,000.
Enquiries and complaints
If your question/complaint relates to your Help to Buy: ISA Manager, or anything to do with the management of your Help to Buy: ISA account, in the first instance you should contact your ISA Manager directly (your ISA Manager is the bank or building society your account is with).
If your question/complaint relates to the handling of your bonus application, in the first instance you should contact your solicitor or conveyancer directly and they will be able to provide you with further information.
If your question/complaint is about the processing or miscalculation of a bonus payment, in the first instance you should speak with your conveyancer. You can also contact the scheme administrator.
Frequently asked questions
You must be a first time buyer. A first time buyer is someone who does not own, and has never owned, a home anywhere in the UK or the world. For a full definition, please see the First Time Buyer Declaration.
To qualify for the government bonus, the property you are buying must:
- be in the UK
- have a purchase price of up to £250,000 (or up to £450,000 in a London Borough)
- be the only home you will own
- be where you intend on living
- be purchased with a mortgage
You can use the Help to Buy: ISA with other government schemes, including the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme and Shared Ownership.
If an individual with a Help to Buy: ISA account plans to buy a home with someone else who is already a property owner, they can still claim the government bonus due on their savings and put this towards the home they are buying.
For further information on the Help to Buy: ISA Scheme Rules please see the Help to Buy: ISA scheme rules.
To find out if the property is eligible for the London price cap, you will find a list of all the London Boroughs on page 68 of the Scheme Rules. You can also easily check whether the property falls within a London Borough by accessing the following link and searching using the post code: Find your local council.
When you find your home, your prospective mortgage lender will ask you to hire a conveyancer. They will handle all of the legal aspects of buying your home and can advise you on whether the property you are buying is eligible for a government bonus. In order to claim a bonus your conveyancer will need a closing statement from your Help to Buy: ISA account. So when you need to withdraw all of your funds make sure you close your account and get a closing statement from your ISA manager. Don’t just withdraw all of your money as you will not receive the closing statement and you won’t be able to claim your bonus. If you lose your closing statement, your ISA provider will be able to give you a new one. You will need to take this closing statement to your conveyancer so that they can apply for your bonus.
Your conveyancer will apply for your government bonus on your behalf. The bonus will be sent to your conveyancer to be included with the other funds which have been consolidated for the completion of the property transaction.
If completion is imminent and you have not yet received your closing statement, there is an expedited bonus application process that your conveyancer can follow that does not require a closing statement. You should speak to your conveyancer to find out more.
From the point at which you close your Help to Buy: ISA, you will have 12 months within which to claim the bonus. The bonus must also be claimed by your conveyancer behalf in anticipation of the completion date. The bonus must be included with the funds consolidated at the completion of the property transaction.
Please be aware, for a conveyancer to apply for the government bonus, they must be an ‘eligible conveyancer’ as defined by the Help to Buy: ISA Scheme Rules. Please ask your conveyancer directly regarding this.
The time frame for applying for the bonus means you have 12 months after closure of your Help to Buy: ISA for your conveyancer to claim the Help to Buy: ISA bonus. The bonus must be applied towards the acquisition of the property to satisfy the Scheme Rules and therefore a bonus request must be submitted before completion of the property . If you closed your account more than 12 months ago you will not be eligible for a Help to Buy: ISA bonus, even if the claim is made prior to completion of the property purchase.
Yes. If you plan to use the money you have in your Help to Buy: ISA to pay for the deposit at exchange of contacts, you will need to let your ISA Manager know. Your ISA Manager will then close your account and provide you with a closing statement. You can then use those savings towards the deposit at exchange. It is important that you don’t just withdraw your savings without getting a closing statement. The government bonus will be paid out just prior to completion and contribute to the overall deposit.
Please be aware, you are free to do as you wish with the savings you have deposited in your Help to Buy: ISA. It is only the government bonus that must be included with the completion monies when the completion of the property transaction takes place.
Your bonus will be 25% of the closing balance in your Help to Buy: ISA – this includes both the money you have saved into your account and any interest accrued.
Note that minimum government bonus is £400, meaning that you will need to have saved at least £1,600 into your Help to Buy: ISA before you can claim a bonus. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000 – to receive that, you will need to have saved £12,000.
Your conveyancer can charge your client up to £50 + VAT for processing your bonus application.
An individual will only be able to reinstate and redeposit funds into a Help to Buy: ISA if their property purchase does not go ahead or is delayed indefinitely. To reinstate your Help to Buy: ISA account, your conveyancer can complete and issue a ‘Purchase Failure Notice’ to you (even if a bonus has not yet been requested). You will then give this to your ISA Manager who will reinstate the account.