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Time runs out to open a help-to-buy ISA

29th November 2019

Help-to-buy ISA providers are reporting a last-gasp surge to open the government-backed savings vehicle before it closes for good.

Launched in December 2015, the help-to-buy ISA allows first-time buyers to deposit up to £1,000 and save up to £200 a month.

Savers get a 25% government bonus of up to £3,000 once a mortgage provider has supplied them with a loan to take their first steps on the property ladder.

The government had stumped up more than £320 million by the end of June 2019, and the proceeds went towards buying £44.5 billion worth of properties.

The scheme closes to new applicants on 30 November 2019, although existing savers can continue to save up to £12,000 until 30 November 2029.

One provider reported an eight-fold increase in applications to open a help-to-buy ISA before tomorrow's deadline.

Other providers have also noticed a last-minute rush over the past week, urging first-time buyers to book in-store appointments.

Prior to the dissolution of parliament, speculation was rife that tomorrow's deadline could have been extended.

Robert Jenrick, housing secretary, said "all options are on the table" and that "further discussions" were planned with Chancellor Sajid Javid over an extension.

From 1 December 2019, the lifetime ISA will be the only government-backed scheme currently on the market for under-40s to save towards a mortgage deposit.

However, most high street banks and building societies do not currently offer lifetime ISAs and complex rules apply.

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