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Help to Buy ISA proves big hit with first time buyers

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
More than 11,000 properties have been bought by first time buyers under the government’s Help to Buy ISA scheme, official statistics reveal.

Help to Buy ISAs give first-time buyers the opportunity to save a deposit for a property, earn tax-free interest and receive a boost to their own coffers from the Treasury.

For every £200 saved into your Help to Buy ISA, the government will top it up by an extra £50. The maximum each account holder can save is £12,000, meaning the government can add up to £3,000 to your savings pot. See’s complete guide to Help to Buy ISAs.

Figures released today show that from 1 December to 30 June 2016, there were 11,051 property completions, with 15,513 bonuses paid out.

The total value of bonuses paid out during this period was £7.4m (an average of £479) which was used to finance properties worth a total of £1.8bn (average property price of £167,250).

Nearly one in five properties were valued between £200k and £250k, reflecting the fact that most completions in the scheme were on properties outside of London where prices are typically lower.

The statistics from the Treasury also reveal the average age of first time buyers using the scheme was 28, though there were two bonuses paid to those aged 65+.

So far, 650,000 Help to Buy ISA accounts have been opened.

All Help to Buy schemes

In addition to Help to Buy ISA statistics, the Treasury said through all of its Help to Buy packages, more than 185,000 people have been able to buy a new home.

More than 90,000 completions have now successfully taken place using the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, where the government lends buyers up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home, so only a 5% cash deposit is required.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan supported 935 completions in London between February and June 2016. This includes completions from the London Help to Buy scheme, launched in February 2016, which supports purchases of new build homes in the capital by offering a 5% deposit backed by an equity loan of up to 40% from the government.

Mortgage Guarantee Scheme set to close

The Chancellor also confirmed today that the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme will close to new loans on 31 December 2016, following suggestions the mortgage market is now self-sustaining.

The scheme was introduced in 2013 to increase the availability of high loan to value mortgages. Confidence has now returned to the market with an increasing number of lenders offering 90-95% loans outside the scheme.

See’s How can Help to Buy help you? for more information on all the property buying schemes.

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