The government has announced the introduction of a new type of ISA, the Help to Buy ISA, which will provide a tax free savings account for first time buyers wishing to save for a home.
The scheme will provide a government bonus to each person who has saved into a Help to Buy ISA at the point they use their savings to purchase their first home. For every £200 a first time buyer saves, the government will provide a £50 bonus up to a maximum bonus of £3,000 on £12,000 of savings.
Help to Buy ISAs will be subject to eligibility rules and limits:
- An individual will only be eligible for one account throughout the lifetime of the scheme and it is only available to first time buyers.
- Interest received on the account will be tax free.
- Savings will be limited to a monthly maximum of £200 with an opportunity to deposit an additional £1,000 when the account is first opened.
- The government will provide a 25% bonus on the total amount saved including interest, capped at a maximum of £3,000 which is tax free.
- The bonus will be paid when the first home is purchased.
- The bonus can only be put towards a first home located in the UK with a purchase value of £450,000 or less in London and £250,000 or less in the rest of the UK.
- The government bonus can be claimed at any time, subject to a minimum bonus amount of £400.
- The accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home so those buying together can both receive a bonus.
- As is currently the case it will only be possible for an individual to subscribe to one cash ISA per year. It will not be possible for an account holder to subscribe to a Help to Buy ISA with one provider and another cash ISA with a different provider.
- Once an account is opened there is no limit on how long an individual can save into it and no time limit on when they can use their bonus.
The government intends the Help to Buy ISA scheme to be available from autumn 2015 and investors will be able to open a Help to Buy ISA for a period of four years.