Help to buy is proving to be huge success

Chancellor George Osborne (left) visits a housing development
Chancellor George Osborne (left) visits a housing development

THOUSANDS of Wiganers have opened a new saving scheme set up to help people on the first step of the property rung.

A quarter of a million aspiring first-time buyers have opened a Help to Buy Isa since the savings scheme was launched, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.

The 250,000 total equates to one account every 30 seconds or more than 3,000 a day across the UK, including many in Wigan.

The Government said figures provided by some of the banks offering the new Isas show that three-quarters (75%) of people who have opened them so far have been aged 30 and under.

Launched on December 1, Help to Buy Isas aim to help people trying to get on the property ladder to build cash towards a deposit more quickly.

The Government chips in cash towards home buyers’ deposits under the scheme.

First-time buyers can put up to £200 a month in a dedicated Isa that the Government will top up by 25% - meaning a £50 bonus for every £200 saved.

The maximum Government bonus is £3,000. To receive that, someone will need to have saved £12,000.

First-time buyers can also open their account with a one-off lump sum of up to £1,000 in addition to the monthly £200 maximum deposit.

Couples are eligible if they are buying together, meaning a potential boost of up to £6,000 towards a deposit.

The Chancellor announced the figures while visiting a North West Persimmon housing development, which provides new-build homes available through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. More than 25,000 people have taken out a Help to Buy Isa in the North West.

Mr Osborne said he was “delighted” that a quarter of a million people have taken out Help to Buy Isas.

The accounts, which have been described as a “no-brainer” by consumer experts, generally offer attractive rates compared with other Isas on the market.

For example, Halifax is offering an annual rate of 4%. Other providers in the scheme include Nationwide Building Society, NatWest and HSBC.

While savers are not obliged to use the same provider for their mortgage, many are likely to do so.

They will get the Government bonus at the point when they are buying their first home, after their solicitor or conveyancer applies for it.