The Help to Buy Isa is closed to new applicants at midnight after four years of helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder with a 25 per cent top-up on what they’ve saved.
Almost 340,000 government bonuses worth £320.2million have been handed out between December 2015 and June 2019, according to latest figures from the taxman.
Now, data analysed by This is Money has revealed which postcodes have been the most popular for first-time buyers using the Government-backed scheme – and it shows a fair spread across the country.
Mapped: The 10 postcodes where the Help to Buy Isa has been used the most (by value)
In total, more than 256,500 first homes, valued at around £44.5billion, have been purchased with the help of the government-funded savings product.
The scheme pays a bonus of up to £3,000 which can be used to buy a home of up to £250,000, or £450,000 in London.
The spot which has seen the biggest payout from the Help to Buy Isa is the south London suburb of Croydon.
The housing market in the postcode of CR0 in Croydon has seen almost £1million in government bonuses injected into property there, according to HMRC data.
The popularity of the area is likely due to first-time buyers who work in London looking for somewhere slightly more affordable than the centre of the capital, but still within commuting distance.
Croydon vibes: The Help to Buy Isa has been used the most by first-time buyers in CR0 postcode
East Croydon train station sits within the CR0 postcode, which gets commuters into London Victoria in 18 minutes.
As part of a regeneration project, it has a trendy Boxpark while a huge Westfield shopping centre is slated for the area, putting it firmly in first-time buyers sights.
In total, 976 bonuses have been put toward properties in the postcode since the Help to Buy Isa was launched in December 2015.
The south London suburb of Croydon was the most popular postcode for first-time buyers using the Help to Buy Isa, according to the latest figures from HMRC
In second place, it appears plenty of first-time buyers chose to stay another day in E17, in the east London borough of Waltham Forest, with £956,042 paid out over 887 bonuses – an average of £1,077 per bonus.
Its popularity among first-time buyers is likely for many of the same reasons as Croydon, an outer London borough with good transport links to the city centre, with many likely taking advantage of the extra £200,000 allowance you can get on a first home when buying in London using the Help to Buy Isa.
Another outer London borough, Waltham Forest, came in second place, which saw just over £956,000 in Help to Buy Isa bonuses put towards property in the postcode of E17
While the capital takes the top two spots when it comes to the most popular postcodes, it actually doesn’t top the rankings when it comes to which part of the UK has seen the most bonuses handed out.
The North West of England has seen the most bonuses handed out with 45,584, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands.
However, unsurprisingly, the average bonus amount paid is highest in London, at £1,035.
While first-time buyers can benefit from a bonus of up to £3,000 towards their first home, London is the only part of the UK where the average government top-up put towards a property is above £1,000, according to the figures from HMRC.
|Region||Number of HtB Isa bonuses paid||Average value of HtB Isa bonus paid|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||34,192||£922|
Indeed, after the top two postcodes the value of the total Help to Buy Isa bonuses paid towards homes drops substantially.
The third most popular postcode among Help to Buy Isa users, S6 – which covers the north west of Sheffield – has seen a government cash injection of £775,591 over the last three-and-a-half years, marking a drop off of just under £200,000 from E17.
The Steel City, which also features another postcode in the top 15, saw 765 Help to Buy Isa bonuses put towards properties in the S6 area, 122 fewer than in E17.
S6, a Sheffield postcode which covers the north west part of the city and extends into the Peak District, saw 765 Help to Buy Isa bonuses put towards homes from December 2015 to this June
The postcode which was found by HMRC to have seen the fourth-most amount of money from the government paid to it was just over 40 miles to the south of Sheffield, and was Broxtowe, just west of Nottingham.
The district, perhaps better-known as the constituency of the vocally anti-Brexit MP Anna Soubry, saw £767,306 in Help to Buy Isa bonuses put towards home purchase.
The postcode of NG9, which is Broxtowe and just west of Nottingham, saw the fourth-largest injection of Help to Buy Isa money into it
To round out the top five, you have to head back up the M1 and then a whole lot further, as the fifth-most popular area among first-time buyers using the Help to Buy Isa is the Edinburgh postcode of EH6.
In fact, there are a lot of sixes in this entry, with 677 Help to Buy Isa bonuses put toward first homes in the postcode, worth a total of £666,140.
The postcode principally covers the waterfront district of Leith, and is around two-and-a-half miles northeast of Edinburgh castle and the Scottish capital’s old town.
The fifth-most popular postcode was the most popular Scottish one, and was the waterfront district of Leith, in Edinburgh
Overall, the 50 most popular postcodes are spread across the UK, and feature both smaller and more provincial towns as well as cities like Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Southampton.
And despite two London postcodes topping the list when it comes to the total bonuses paid out, HMRC’s figures found the vast majority of first homes cost between £100,000 and £200,000, with just 7 per cent of all properties costing more than £250,000, and thus being bought in the capital.
David Hollingworth, from mortgage broker London and Country, said: ‘Some of the areas with the largest number of buyers using the Help to Buy Isa and the biggest total bonus payouts are perhaps unsurprisingly in the South East where prices are typically higher.
‘That can clearly stretch affordability for first time buyers so it’s good to see that those that have been working to save toward a deposit have used the Government help to bolster their savings.’
|Local authority||Postcode||Number of HtB Isa bonuses paid||Value of HtB Isa bonuses paid|
|North West Leicestershire||LE67||515||£452,799|
|Nuneaton and Bedworth||CV10||471||£432,669|
|Hinckley and Bosworth||LE10||429||£401,004|
He adds: ‘Use of the bonuses is far from limited to London and the South East though and it’s really encouraging to see such a broad regional spread of first-time buyers taking advantage of the Help to Buy Isa to boost their deposit.
‘The top 50 postcodes show an average bonus payment of almost £1,000 which would mean first time buyers have steadily worked toward building a deposit of almost £4000 in their Help to Buy Isa.
‘The fact that 90 per cent of those using the scheme are between 18 and 34 suggests that the scheme has worked well so far in targeting the right group who have found buying such a challenge in recent years.’
The largest proportion of bonuses, 108,000, or nearly a third of all paid out since December 2015, were put towards homes costing between £150,000 and £250,000, suggesting first-time buyers weren’t even maxing out the £250,000 allowance in many cases.
While the Help to Buy Isa can be put towards a home of up to £250,000 – except in London – the largest proportion of homes have cost below that sum
According to the postcode breakdown, one first-time buyer who really appeared to make the most of their bonus bought a home in the South Derbyshire postcode of DE6 with the help of a government bonus of £2,488.
This is just £512 less than the maximum bonus of £3,000 you can get towards a property, and was £2 more than three bonuses combined put towards home purchases in the Perth and Kinross postcode of FK15.
The South Derbyshire postcode of DE6 was not a hugely popular one among first-time buyers, but one made the most of their bonus by getting just under £2,500 in free government cash. The most you can get is £3,000
And while the Help to Buy Isa can be opened at the age of 16, the data suggests that first-time buyers are waiting a little longer than that before trying to climb the property ladder.
The vast majority of bonuses have been given to homebuyers aged 25 – 34.
While the Help to Buy Isa can be opened at 16, and put toward a house after 3 months, most first-time buyers using it appear to be a little older
It is not too late to open a Help to Buy Isa, even with a pound – but you’ll have to act fast.
This is Money this week published answers to some frequent questions about both, and if you should consider opening them – along with where you can.
Savers can deposit up to a maximum of £12,000 in total with Help to Buy. You can deposit an initial payment of up to £1,200, and then each month can save up to £200.
In order to qualify for the 25 per cent government bonus, you must save at least £1,600, with the maximum bonus £3,000 – 25 per cent of £12,000.
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