Should you invest in property or your pension?

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When it comes to residential property, there are two main strategies to adopt: you either focus on capital appreciation or rental income. For the purpose of this blog, we are focussing on the latter.

Rising mortgage rates, increasing regulatory pressure to improve the EPC ratings of their rental properties and the prospect of paying increasing amounts of tax under Government plans to cut capital gains allowance has caused many landlords to consider selling.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

The Times recently stated that 1 in 10 millennials (aged between 35 – 45) want to invest in property over the next 12 months.

Yields in the property sector are still competitive compared to the income that can be drawn from a traditional pension. According to a recent survey, the average gross yield on a new buy-to-let purchase is 6%. In comparison to this, a typical pension pot in drawdown has a target rate of 4%.

Mark Harris, of the broker SPF Private Clients, said “Demand for rental property is unlikely to fall anytime soon, with more people having to rent for longer because they can’t afford to buy, the need for good quality rental property at a reasonable price is higher than ever…what’s more, with a number of landlords selling up because the increased tax and regulatory burden has become too much, demand is only going to grow. If the rest of your investments have been in stocks, bonds and cash, it is good to have some exposure to bricks and mortar.”

A fall in house prices could also work in favour of investors who are looking for an opportunity to invest in a rental property. When house prices fall it pushes up rental yields.

Mr Harris added “Buy-to-let benefits from capital growth over the long term,” he said. “This means you can enjoy a regular and fairly predictable income, but also eventually benefit from capital appreciation should you decide to sell up and bank the profits.”

How to go about investing in a rental property 

Here are a couple of things to think about before you get started with your investment journey:

  • The goal is to achieve a good rental income and, widely speaking, terraced houses or HMOs (house in multiple occupation) are a good start as they can achieve higher cash-flows and aren’t as expensive as semi and detached properties are to buy. You will, however, need to consider how much maintenance and general management is required from HMOs.
  •  A recurring trend for property investors is to buy up north in places like Manchester and Liverpool, or in cheaper regions of the UK away from the South. In order to decide where to purchase your rental property you will need to research the house price-to-income ratios to better understand local affordability.
  • Make sure that you are in control of the freehold to future-proof yourself in the resale market with regard to escalating costs. Lenders are taking a stance in this area, to the point where Santander has even refused to lend to new-build homeowners if the developer has included ‘uncapped or escalating management charges’.

Ultimately you have options, as right now there is no serious red flag in either corner of investing in your pension or property market. The best thing you can do is plenty of research and speak to experienced professionals to get a credible and expert opinion; and insight into the current state of play in both investment opportunities. From here you will be able to make the best decision, from an informed place, that is right for you as an individual. 

Sims Williams is an estate and letting agent covering Arundel, Bognor Regis, Chichester and The Six Villages. If you have been considering investing in a buy-to-let property and would like to discuss how the current market will affect your investment please do get in touch.

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