Budget 2015: Industry backs Help to Buy ISA

Sarah Davidson

March 18, 2015

Potential first-time buyers will be able to take out the ISA from autumn, which will see the government top of 25% of their savings to help towards a housing deposit.

Charles Haresnape, Aldermore’s managing director of mortgages and commercial lending, said: “This is a welcome initiative that will boost homeownership and help first-time buyers get further support to get onto the housing ladder.

“It is a no brainer to open one of these ISAs, given that first time buyers will receive a 25% government bonus to their deposit.

“The bonus will be available on properties worth up to £450,000 in London and up to £250,000 outside of London and this ensures the bonus will be going to those who really need help to get on the property ladder.”

“Given we are part of the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme, this is something we are looking at closely with our savings team.”

And Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “Help to Buy is the Chancellor’s trump card yet again – and this significant new ISA scheme will help thousands aspiring homeowners accumulate what they need to jump onto the property ladder.

“First-time buyers have been dealt a cruel hand in terms of affordability lately – interest rates on savings are low, house prices have largely been on the up for the past six years, and – until recently – earnings haven’t followed suit.

“This shortcut to saving for a deposit will bring home buying within range for many more, and consumer confidence will certainly shoot through the bottom rungs of the market.”

But many accused the government of sidestepping the issue of the UK’s lack of housing supply.

Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Help to Buy is not the same as helping to create homes to buy.

“Larger deposits for FTBs are only one piece of the puzzle – we need suitable, in-budget housing stock for first-time buyers (and indeed the rest of the market!) to access.”

“Britain needs a quarter of a million new houses every year to meet current levels of demand.

“Without this, house prices will continue to rise above the level of inflation which will price first-time buyers out of the market, regardless of the size of deposit they are able to save.”

Gill agreed, as he added: “Today’s announcement tiptoes around the elephant in the room.

“It’s all well and good getting first-time buyer finances in shape, but it will amount to hollow words if there are no properties available for them to buy, and if competition continues to push house prices higher and higher.

“Helping homeowners requires both sides of the conundrum to be tackled.”

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