All of the important dates first-time buyers need to know about the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme and the Help to Buy ISA.

The Help to Buy scheme has helped hundreds of thousands of first-time buyers in the UK to get on the property ladder. It’s split into 2 parts: The Help to Buy Equity Loan and the Help to Buy ISA.

What’s the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme?

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is a government initiative that helps first-time buyers in England to buy a new build property with a 5% deposit. The idea of the equity loan is that you boost your deposit by borrowing up to 20% of the property value (40% in London) from the UK government, and you pay it back over time. Since its launch in 2013, over 350,000 homes have been bought with a Help to Buy Equity Loan.

What’s the Help to Buy ISA?

A Help to Buy ISA is an account for first-time home buyers with a 25% bonus from the UK government. You can get up to £3,000 towards your first home with it. Over 400,000 first-time buyers have bought their homes with a Help to Buy ISA .

After all its success, the UK government is phasing out Help to Buy to make room for other first-home initiatives like Lifetime ISAs (aka the type of account you can open with Nude) and Shared Ownership. So if you’re thinking about buying your first place under the Help to Buy scheme, here’s all the important dates for your calendar 🗓️

The last day you can apply to the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is October 31st 2022.

According to the official UK government website, the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme will close to new applications at 6pm on Halloween 2022 👻

By this date, you need to have reserved your property with a registered homebuilder and submitted your application to the local Help to Buy agent in the area where you want to buy your home.

P.s. With the deadline approaching, agents will be inundated with applications, so the sooner you can get yours in, the better.

The home you want to buy with the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme has to be built by December 31st 2022.

Midnight isn't the only time your builders will be counting down to on New Year’s Eve 🥂 By 6pm on December 31st 2022, your home must be built, ready to live in and have received a new-home warranty. This is what’s known in the biz as a “practical completion”. Check with your homebuilder to see if this is doable.

You must legally own the property you’re buying with the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme by March 31st 2023.

By 6pm on March 31st 2023, everything must be done and dusted. Contracts must be signed. Ownership must be transferred. The government has gone so far as to say that you need to have your keys by the deadline *puts on running shoes* 👟

If you don’t own your home by this date, you won’t be able to buy your property with the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, so please double check that your solicitor can complete the sale before this date.

The deadline for opening a new Help to Buy ISA was November 30th 2019.

Unfortunately, you can’t open a Help to Buy ISA anymore (they closed the doors a while ago). But instead, you could open a Lifetime ISA.

Just like a Help to Buy ISA, Lifetime ISAs give first-time buyers a 25% bonus towards their home. But with a Lifetime ISA, you can get up to £1,000 from the UK government every tax year... whereas the Help to Buy ISA bonus is capped at £3,000.

👀 Read: What’s the difference between a Help to Buy ISA and a Lifetime ISA?

The good news is... you can still open a Lifetime ISA

Save for your first home in the Nude Cash Lifetime ISA (with a market-leading 2% interest rate) or invest for your first home with the Nude Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA (which is invested ethically in an ESG fund).

Plus, unlock all the features in the Nude app that can help you buy your first home sooner — from real-time progress trackers to personalised money-saving ideas 🏠

Learn more about the Nude Lifetime ISA

→  Open your Nude Lifetime ISA in the app 📱

You can pay into your Help to Buy ISA until November 30th 2029.

If you managed to open a Help to Buy ISA before the deadline, you can still pay up to £200 a month into your account until 11:59pm on November 30th 2029.

This means you still have time to claim more of the Help to Buy's government bonus (remember, the max bonus you can get from this scheme is £3,000 - compared to the max bonus of £1,000 per year from a Lifetime ISA) 💰

You have to claim your Help to Buy ISA bonus by November 30th 2030.

From November 30th 2029, you have exactly 12 months to find a home, put in an offer, get a mortgage and have your solicitor apply for your Help to Buy ISA bonus on your behalf.

After 11:59pm on November 30th 2030, you won’t be able to use your Help to Buy ISA to buy a home. Bit of a Cinderella situation ✨

Lastly, a couple of things about Lifetime ISAs...

  1. The government hasn't announced an end date for opening or using a Lifetime ISA but it's worth noting you can only open one between the ages of 18-39, and can't pay in after you're over the age of 50.
  2. The limit on the price of house you can buy with a Lifetime ISA is £450k anywhere in the UK (higher than with a Help to Buy ISA).
  3. The max Lifetime ISA bonus is £1,000 per year. Compared to £3,000 capped total from a Help to Buy ISA.
  4. You can have both a Help to Buy ISA to a Lifetime ISA, but you can only use the bonus from one of the schemes towards your home purchase.
  5. If you want to move the money from your Help to Buy ISA to a Lifetime ISA (for example, to get a better interest rate or more bonus from the government), you can only do so at a rate of £4,000 per tax year - that's the annual limit that you can add to a Lifetime ISA, btw.
  6. You can open one with Nude in just 5 minutes. Get our app to get started.

Learn more about all of the UK government’s initiatives to help you buy a home.