The first lifetime ISA (LISA) savers may be getting ready to use their funds to buy that all-important first home this week, as the Government-aided savings account, which has to be held for at least a year, is now more than a year old. This, combined with the required waiting period to receive the bonus, means a lucky few could be getting their new house keys any day now.
The LISA, which was introduced at the start of previous tax year on 6 April 2017, allows anyone between the age of 18 and 39 to start saving for their retirement or first home with the help of a 25% Government bonus. It comes with certain restrictions, however.
For a general overview of the limitations of a Lifetime ISA, click here. One restriction worth noting is that people who want to use the LISA to buy a home have to wait at least 12 months to get the bonus. With a yearly maximum allowance of £4,000, savers who took out a LISA at the first available date can expect a maximum bonus of £1,000 towards their deposit.
On its own, £5,000 may not be enough for the 5% deposit needed for a first-time buyer mortgage. Yet, if you and your partner both have a LISA, that would be a decent deposit of £10,000 (plus interest). By following the right procedure, as explained by your solicitor, and having everything else arranged by now, it could just be that you get your first home as soon as the bonus comes in.
One of the less than 10 providers who currently have a LISA on offer, Hargreaves Lansdown, has reported that 3,349 people opened a lifetime ISA with them on the first day they were available. With the Government bonus expected to get added to accounts within four weeks (with a payment guarantee date of 4 May), it's a good time for any LISA saver to check their account.
"For those further away from their property goals, seeing the bonus arrive in their LISA will give them a useful nudge, reminding them of the potential rewards available if they make the most of their LISA allowance," commented Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.