Osborne announces help-to-buy Isa for first-time buyers

By Lauren Burns

George Osborne's budget has been described as one for the savers and pensioners, and with Stamp duty covered in the Autumn statement, there wasn't much expectation of good news for property buyers, however the chancellor did announce a new Isa created to help first-time buyers.

The Isa is only available for people over the age of 16 saving towards a deposit to purchase their first home, and involves the government paying an additional 25 per cent of their savings into the Isa up to a total bonus of £3,000. So basically, every £200 saved by the first-time buyer will be topped-up with £50 from the government, until the combined total reaches £15,000 - £12,000 of the saver's own money and £3,000 from the government. The capped bonus applies to each person, and not each property, so a couple purchasing a property could in theory save £24,000 between them and see it boosted to £30,000.

The property purchasers must be buying the house with the intention to move into it. The Isa cannot be used for a buy-to-let, even if it is the first property the person would own. Also, you must save £1,600 into the Isa yourself before the government top-ups begin. The scheme will be available for 4 years from autumn of this year, and you can purchase the property anytime after that, providing the scheme isn't scrapped, as long as you open the Isa within those 4 years.

The initial reaction to the new Isa by property commentators has been mixed, and while a few of the more positive responses say it will help some first time buyers, there are a lot of people who say it fails to tackle the real property problem - a lack of supply.

If you are buying, selling or remortgaging a house in Northern Ireland, and want to speak to a property conveyancing solicitor, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 9290.

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