*UPDATE: The Help to Buy scheme is now closed to new applicants. However, there are other options for first-time buyers – read our guide for more information.
If you’re a first-time buyer interested in buying a home in the next few years, you’ve probably heard about Help to Buy ISAs and are interested to know which of the many providers is the right one for you.
The Help to Buy ISA first time buyer bonus provision will end in 2030 and to take advantage of that, you’ll need to open your account by 30 November 2019. That’s the same no matter which provider you choose.
Are all Help to Buy ISA providers the same?
There are a wide variety of Help to Buy ISA accounts available from many different providers. While the main benefit of the account – to save in a tax free way in the right account to secure a 25% government bonus for a deposit to buy your first home – is the same across all of them, there are some differences in other benefits. They include:
- Some providers don’t allow the full initial £1,200 lump sum deposit.
- Other providers give existing customers with a particular bank account a higher interest rate.
- Some providers will allow you to make a withdrawal and keep your tax free and interest benefits with future deposits.
- Not all providers offer split accounts, which allow you to save and utilise the tax free benefits of a cash ISA and a Help to Buy ISA.
- How and when you can withdraw funds from your account can differ between providers.
- Some providers will only allow you to open an account with them if you live in a certain area or post codes.
- Not all providers will allow you to transfer into or out of their account.
Speak to a Help to Buy ISA expert
Where can I get a Help to Buy ISA?
You can open an account with most of the well-known high street banks and lenders. Other providers include regional building societies and even some credit unions.
However, as detailed above, the rules and benefits vary, so it’s important to do your homework and find out which account is best for you.
The easiest way to find this out is to speak with a Help to Buy ISA expert, who knows the benefits and interest rates of all the different accounts out there – like the ones we work with.
How to find the best Help to Buy ISA bank accounts?
Finding the best accounts can be time consuming and also confusing. As a first-time buyer, you may find some of the terms used by banks and lenders a little confusing.
Also, while providers might advertise a particular rate of interest or range of benefits, they may only be available if you fit a certain criteria – something that might not be clear from the information you’ve found.
In addition, while you might be happy to put aside some time to assess which providers offer the best account for you, you won’t have access to the whole market. That means you could be missing out on the very best rates and terms available to you. Indeed, some deals are only available when a broker makes the application on your behalf.
The quickest and easiest way to find the best Help to Buy ISA bank account is to speak with an advisor. They’re experienced and have access to the whole market, which means you won’t miss out on the best account for your needs, situation and location.
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Which are the best Help to Buy ISA providers?
This depends on a few important factors, such as which accounts you’re eligible for, what you want and need and even where you live. For a brief overview, though, it can be useful to look at all details to first determine how flexible the Help to Buy ISA is.
The interest rates available on Help to Buy ISA accounts can fluctuate. That makes it important to check with each provider individually, or through one of the expert advisors we work with, who can find out what rates are on offer from all providers, not just a select few.
Here’s what some of the main high street providers can offer.
Halifax offers a Help to Buy ISA to new and existing first-time buyer customers, with no preferential treatment available for those who already have another account with them. The interest rate isn’t the highest available when compared to other providers, although this can change and the maximum initial deposit they allow is £1,000.
However, first-time buyers saving with a Halifax Help to Buy ISA can make withdrawals. It’s also flexible and you can open and manage your account in a variety of ways and the bank’s and government rules allow you to transfer from another Help to Buy ISA, into the Halifax account.
Barclays Bank’s Help to Buy ISA for first-time buyers currently comes with a good rate of interest, although this is subject to change. Existing Barclays account holders can open a Help to Buy ISA online, while those who don’t bank with them will need to make a phone call or pop in branch.
It’s flexible with withdrawals and can be opened with a minimum of £1.Transfers into a Barclays Help to Buy ISA to benefit from the government bonus scheme are permitted by the bank, however, it likely won’t be instant and is subject to other rules.
Nationwide also offers a Help to Buy ISA account, allowing first-time buyers access to tax free savings, with a good interest rate, although this is subject to change and access to the government bonus when you buy a home. It can be opened with a minimum of £1 or a maximum deposit of £1200. You can also transfer from another Help to Buy ISA, but the whole balance must be transferred.
Withdrawals are permitted but there are rules to be aware of. Nationwide also allows a split ISA, although this is subject to certain rules with regards to tax free savings limits and how much you can deposit in both the cash Help to Buy ISA and your other ISA account.
The Santander Help to Buy ISA account for first-time buyers is another option for saving towards buying a first home on the government bonus scheme. Existing Santander 123 account holders will receive a higher interest rate than non-account holders, although the rate of interest is subject to change.
You can transfer your existing Help to Buy ISAs or other cash ISAs into the Santander account. It’s also subject to the usual minimum and maximum opening deposits of £1 and £1,200. Other details are listed within the rules of the account, but to be sure its the right account for you, an experienced Help to Buy ISA advisor could help you compare it with other accounts quickly and easily.
It’s always beneficial to speak with one of the expert Help to Buy ISA advisors we work with to find out everything that’s on offer.
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A NatWest Help to Buy ISA offers similar benefits to the others mentioned. The current rate of interest on the account is considered good. The account will allow first-time buyers to access the Government bonus but there may be restrictions that mean it’s not the right option for your needs.
NatWest also offers a split ISA, which means you can save into a cash ISA and a Help to Buy ISA. But again, the specific rules may mean a different account could prove more suitable.
An experienced advisor will help make sure you apply for the right Help to Buy ISA first time, this will ensure you don’t have too many hard searches on your credit file, which can be detrimental to your credit rating.
The Virgin Money Help to Buy ISA currently pays a competitive interest rate to help first-time buyers save towards their first home. Of course, this is subject to change and the bank will notify if that is the case.
On a comparable basis with other open-to-all Help to Buy ISAs, there isn’t anything obviously striking about the benefits on offer from Virgin Money.
However, a Help to Buy ISA expert would be able to help show you why this account might be the right one for you, or if you could find one that’s more flexible or could help you save to buy a home more quickly.
They may also be able to negotiate broker only deals that unlock benefits more suited to your situation.
HSBC’s Help to Buy ISA gives first-time buyers the opportunity to save to buy a home and benefit from the government’s 25% bonus up to a maximum of £3,000. The interest rate isn’t the best on the market. But other features of the account relating to flexibility and it being open to everyone, could make it work for you.
A split ISA may be possible, while a transfer in or out are also subject to HSBC’s Help to Buy ISA scheme rules.
Banks who currently don’t offer a Help to Buy ISA include:
- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
- Post Office
- Coventry Building Society
- Bank of Ireland
- Metro Bank
- Danske Bank
- Principality Building Society
However, if you bank with a sister bank of those listed above, you may be able to secure a first-time buyer Help to Buy ISA account, with the rate of interest, transfer and withdrawal flexibility you’re looking for. They may also offer a Lifetime ISA account instead, that can also be used towards saving towards buying a first time
Speak to a Help to Buy ISA provider expert today!
If you’re a first-time buyer searching for the best possible Help to Buy ISA to help you save towards buying a home, an advisor with the right experience can assist you and ensure you find the best provider and products for your specific situation.
The Online Mortgage Advisor team can put you in touch with the Help to Buy ISA advisor from the specialist experts we work with. They will then give you more details on the right way forward for your remortgage needs.
Call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry here.
Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the advisor with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation.
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