The Help to Buy ISA scheme closed to new applicants in November 2019. So what help is now available to get on the property ladder and what should you do if you still have a Help to Buy ISA?
What Is a Help to Buy ISA?
The Help to Buy ISA has been a useful savings tool, allowing first-time buyers to save up to £200 a month with an initial deposit of £1,200.
When buying your first home, you can then claim a government bonus. The bonus is based on the amount saved as well as the interest accrued, up to a maximum of £3,000.
The benefit of the Help to Buy ISA is that aside from needing to have saved a minimum of £1,600 into this before claiming the bonus (which could be done in 3 months if saving the maximum allowances), there is no minimum term you have to have had the ISA for to be able to claim the bonus.
Can I Still Save Into My ISA?
Yes. If you opened your Help to Buy ISA account before the deadline of 30 November, you can continue to save into it until November 2029. First-time buyers then have until November 2030 to claim the government bonus.
However, be aware of the rules surrounding your bonus, as this will depend on whether the property is within London or not.
I Missed the ISA Deadline, What Are My Options?
The Lifetime ISA can also be a useful tool for first-time buyers to save into. At £4,000 each year, the limit for how much you can save is higher than a Help to Buy ISA. However, the maximum bonus you can claim remains the same, at £3,000.