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First-time buyers receive £50m government bonus

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
New homeowners have received more than £50m from the Government's Help to Buy ISA scheme.

Official statistics from HM Treasury reveal more than 62,000 property completions have been supported by the Help to Buy ISA scheme since it was launched in December 2015.

The Help to Buy ISA is available from a number of banks, building societies and credit unions and allows savers to deposit a maximum £12,000 to receive a 25% government bonus (maximum £3,000). See’s Help to Buy ISA guide for more information.

To date, more than 86,000 bonuses have been paid out by the government, totalling £54m. The average bonus paid is £625.

The mean value of property purchased through the scheme is £170,000 compared to an average first-time buyer house price of £182,000 and a national average house price of £216,000.

First-time buyers through the scheme also tend to be younger than the average first-time buyer – the media age is 27 via a national first-time buyer median age of 30.

The statistics also reveal that the highest proportion of property completions are in the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, and South West, with a lower proportion in the North East and Northern Ireland.

However, the figures don’t include those who have an existing Help to Buy ISA who are yet to claim a bonus for their house purchase.

The other government scheme to help young people on the property ladder is via the Lifetime ISA. An investment version is offered by Hargreaves Lansdown, Nutmeg and The Share Centre, while a cash version is offered by Skipton Building Society. Foresters Friendly has also launched a With Profits LISA. See’s Should I transfer my Help to Buy ISA to the Lifetime ISA? for further details.

Danny Cox, chartered financial planner at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Help to Buy is proving to be a popular warm up act for the Lifetime ISA, reducing the time it takes for first time buyers to take that all important step onto the property ladder. Transferring a HTB ISA to a Lifetime ISA makes sense for all but those who are planning to buy over the next 12 months, as the Lifetime ISA has higher contribution limits and for those who have time on their side, offers the option to invest to beat cash returns.”

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