Help to Buy: ISA




The Help to Buy: ISA scheme could make a difference to your clients looking to buy their first home. It's designed to take advantage of the Help to Buy Scheme and to boost your client's savings towards a property purchase by 25%. Your client can open an account with an initial deposit of up to £1,200, and then make further contributions of up to £200 per month.

Final bonus will be dependent on both terms and conditions and eligibility criteria.

Eligibility

To qualify for a Help to Buy: ISA your client must:

  • be a first time buyer
  • be aged 16 or over
  • have a valid National Insurance number
  • be a UK resident
  • be buying a property up to the purchase price of £250,000 (up to £450,000 in London).

You can use the Help to Buy: ISA with other government schemes, including the Help to Buy - Equity Loan scheme and Shared Ownership.

Opening the account doesn't automatically entitle your client to a bonus. For full details of the Scheme Rules, please visit the Help to Buy: ISA website.

How Help to Buy: ISA works

When your client is ready to buy, their conveyancer will claim the bonus (25% of the closing balance) from the Scheme, to put towards their property purchase. The bonus is usually paid between exchange and completion. So for every £200 saved, the government will add £50.

  • the minimum bonus is £400 (on a minimum savings balance of £1,600)
  • the maximum is £3,000 (on a savings balance of £12,000).

For shared or joint ownership properties the purchase price means the full sale price of the property, not just the cost of the initial share being bought.

How to key

Help to Buy: ISA must be keyed as savings when submitting applications on NFI Online and MTE. Don’t select 'Help to Buy' under 'External scheme' upon application unless your client is participating in the Help to Buy - Equity Share scheme.

Your clients' Help to Buy: ISA closing statement may be required as proof of income to us and they'll need to provide a copy to their solicitor who will then apply to the Scheme Administrator for the bonus. The bonus will be sent directly to the solicitor.

Help to Buy: ISA FAQs

What is the minimum amount of time that the account needs to be opened for?

A bonus will be paid by government once a minimum of £1,600 has been saved in the account. This could be achieved after paying in £1,200 during month 1, and £200 in months 2 and 3.

When should the account be closed?

Your client will need to leave enough time for the closing statement to be received. The account should be closed prior to completion. A statement takes between 5 and 7 days to be received.

Can two people buying a property together use a Help to Buy: ISA?

Yes, provided they are both first time buyers, a Help to Buy: ISA bonus can be claimed by both parties. It's not possible to have a joint Help to Buy: ISA account so two accounts will need to be opened. Provided the eligibility criteria is met, both parties can separately claim a bonus.

My client is buying with their partner who has previously owned a property. Are they eligible?

Yes, any first time buyer, over the age of 16 can open a Help to Buy: ISA.

Are there any restrictions on the type of property that my client can buy?

To qualify for the government bonus, the property must:

  • be in the UK
  • be £250,000 or less (£450,000 in London)

The property must be purchased with the intention of being your client’s main home and it can't be rented out. There are exceptions to this if your client is in the Armed Forces.

How does Help to Buy: ISA work with Shared Ownership?

The £250,000 (£450,000 in London) property price limit applies to the full sale price of the property, rather than just the share your client initially buys. The full sale price is a multiple of the equity share your client is buying, for example, if buying a 50% share for £120,000, the full sale value is £240,000 (and therefore eligible under the scheme rules).

What happens if the property purchase falls through?

If the purchase doesn't go ahead, your client can reopen their Help to Buy: ISA. Their solicitor will provide them with a purchase failure notification, which they can take to their bank or building society. This will enable them to redeposit their savings as a lump sum and continue saving until they find a different property.

Does my client have to take out a mortgage with the Help to Buy: ISA provider?

No. Nationwide accepts Help to Buy: ISA savings towards the property purchase price from any bank or building society.

If the eligibility criteria is met, when will the Help to Buy ISA bonus be paid?

The Help to Buy ISA bonus will be paid between exchange and completion and the conveyancer will claim this on your client’s behalf.

Can the Help to Buy: ISA be used with other Government housing schemes?

Yes. The Help to Buy: ISA can be used with other affordable housing schemes, including Help to Buy - Equity Loan and Shared Ownership, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements of the scheme.