HomeIncome Magazine MailBiz Edition - Issue V-186


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Buy To Let – Decision Time

Maybe you’re planning ahead for your retirement? The popular choices for funding this important provision are mainly to be found in either the property market, via buy-to-let, or the stock market.

Interestingly enough, if you’d invested £100,000 in residential property in 1983 it would have been worth around £555,000 by 2006, commercial property in that time would have risen from £100,000 to £997,000, whilst the same amount invested in a FTSE All Share tracker would have risen to £1.4m. These figures don’t take into account any rental income from the property figures, but does assume that all dividends would have been re-invested in the shares fund. Even allowing for these differences, shares have well and truly beaten residential property over the time.

Recent years tell a very different tale. Between 1996 and 2006 residential property has beaten equity performance by 28%. Between 2001 and 2006, the return from shares has only worked out at 11%, whilst the price of the average home has doubled.

This makes a decision on whether you’re better off investing in a traditional pension or a buy-to-let property a tricky one.

A worrying factor comes into the equation, in that whilst more buy-to-let mortgages are being arranged, returns on these properties are falling. From being fairly confident of a return of 10% in 2001 on rented residential property, by 2006 the figures dropped to an average 6%. Co-incidentally this is the figure which is considered to be break-even to make the investment worthwhile. It is therefore extremely important that you find the right property before committing yourself to this course of action.

It’s very common for buy-to-let landlords to consider the property as their retirement fund and certainly those who were fortunate enough to be in the market a few years ago should make some very satisfactory gains. What of the future, though?

Residential letting versus traditional pensions has always been a topic up for debate. Just because shares have come out best in the long run, it doesn’t follow that history will always repeat itself.

As far as the tax angle is concerned, there is help from the Revenue in that for every £60 paid in to your pension, £100 will be credited. These figures are for the higher rate (40%) taxpayer, but even if you only pay the standard 22% there’s still a £22 gain for every £78 paid in. When you come to the time to start reaping the rewards of the pension plan, 25% of the fund can be taken in cash, free of tax.

Gains from residential properties will be charged at 40% tax, although you can use your capital gains allowance and indexation. If the property is jointly owned by a couple, then there would be two lots of allowances. It’s relatively simple to borrow more money to increase your property portfolio to ensure increased returns.

It may be anyone’s guess as to the direction of the market. Maybe the best advice would be to diversify, rather than put all your eggs in one basket!

For advice on both pensions and buy-to-let mortgages, the internet is the place to look. You’ll find all the information, advice and comparative quotes that you need, with a minimum of form-filling.


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HomeIncome Magazine MailBiz Edition

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