Why Invest in Property At All?

Why Invest in Property At All?

This is an excerpt from Chapter One, ‘Why Invest In Property At All?’ of Frazer’s upcoming book, The Alternative Guide To Property Investment. You can register your interest in pre-ordering the book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

Fact: almost everybody wants to be able to retire at some point and enjoy the later years of their lives in comfort.

If you think the state pension will allow you to do that, then, sorry, you are living in La La Land. The government will not look after you in your later years. It simply can’t afford to.

The maximum state pension in 2016/17 is £119.30 per week. Can you live comfortably on that? In fact, can you live on that at all?

It is imperative that you do something to supplement that. Your main choices are:

  • savings accounts
  • a private pension
  • shares
  • property

I will dealing with each of these briefly.

Savings Accounts

We are always being told that keeping your money in a bank account is safe and it’s guaranteed – at least up to £75,000. That is provided the government doesn’t also go bankrupt, which is not as ridiculous as it might sound; it would have happened here in the 1970s had the IMF not stepped in, and just take a look at Greece and Italy and Portugal and Spain … oh yes, and France, to see how vulnerable many governments are right now. I do not believe saving your money in a bank account is in any way a sensible manner to provide for your retirement.

The only thing that is guaranteed is that the value of that money is being eroded year on year by inflation, and given the current rates of interest payable the net value is actually decreasing. Even if you had a million pounds saved by the time you retired at, say, 2% interest, that would only provide you with £20,000 a year income – and that’s before tax.

Pensions

So, let’s look at private pensions…

The days of the final salary pension are long gone, and few, if any, private pensions have delivered what clients expected while some, it’s fair to say, have been outright disasters. The returns, whilst clearly considerably better than a savings account, are still negligible and the only people, in my opinion, who seem to really profit are the institutions that provide them.

We’ve seen pension fund after pension fund collapse, leaving thousands with substantial losses, executives ripping off their firms and employees for millions, and major holes appearing in the entire ‘safety-net’ structure. Robert Maxwell and the Mirror Group and British Home Stores are just two of a number of pension funds that spring to mind.

Please read Chapter 3 if you need convincing that the pension most people have is nowhere near enough to generate an annuity that will finance a comfortable retirement.

So whilst you definitely do need a vehicle to provide for your retirement, it definitely does not need to be an institutional or company pension.

Investing in Shares

Clearly, fortunes can be made in the stock market – if you know what you are doing. If you don’t, then picking the best tracker fund you can find would seem the most sensible option. I would not advocate against investing in the stock market but in my opinion, it is considerably more volatile than property and there are many more factors beyond your control that make it harder to invest in successfully.

Property

Of all the investment options available, I believe property is the one people most easily understand and, therefore, are most likely to be successful with.

I mean, let’s face it, even Goldman Sachs didn’t really understand what they were peddling in the noughties. The more complicated something is, the more likely it is that investors don’t really know what they are doing or what the risks are. They don’t even know what it is they don’t know, so how can they possibly evaluate the risks?


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Property News Round-up 3/8/16

Property News All The Latest Updates

 

Hi guys and welcome to our first property news blog of the month! As usual, we will be taking a look at the latest goings-on in the UK property market with five short stories. Today, we start our property news round-up by looking at Generation Y and their renting habits to focusing on Aegon’s research on homeowners and pensions. Missed our last round-up? If so, catch up here.

Millennials Like The Flexibility & Freedom of Renting

Millennials Property

Recently, a study confirmed something that most 18 to 30-year-olds already know: they can’t buy houses and also something we are familiar here at The House crowd from conducting our own research. As The Independent’s Thea De Gallier points out : “Millennials are abandoning their dreams of home ownership,” declared a damning report that revealed home ownership in the UK has fallen to 63.8 per cent (for context, it was 70.8 per cent in 2003).”

So why is it so hard for millennials like myself to become a property owner? Firstly, the average house price in this country is just over £200,000, (almost 10 times the average wage!) Secondly other regions are playing catch-up with London’s astronomical prices which has left us no choice but to rent.

But is renting necessarily a bad thing? Today, Generation Y are known for their fast paced life style and are constantly on the move, renting is surely ideal for them.

Research can back this claim up, for example, Deloitte found out that 44 per cent of millennials want to leave their current jobs in the next two years, in addition, Econsultancy found that 69 per cent of all graduates thought freelancing was a more attractive option than long-term employment. (Stats taken from The Independent)

On the other side of the Atlantic, many commentators have mentioned that millennials simply don’t want to own a property. One source in particular views that millennials are “[thinking] differently about what it means to “own” something”.

I totally agree with the commentator as we are currently living in a sharing economy. Moreover, I completely side with De Gallier’s points in her article that we need a similar renting cap that is used in European cities such as Berlin. It’s fair to say the current system isn’t working for us even though some of us like to rent. We definitely need to seek alternatives – the likes of property crowdfunding could be one of those methods, which you can read more about here.

Why Are Fewer People Purchasing Properties in Greater Manchester?

Property News North West

BBC News reported yesterday that home ownership has fallen more sharply in Greater Manchester than anywhere else in England.

The biggest question on everyone’s lips is why? Financial Analyst Louise Cooper says the issue stems from house cost to wage ratios. She told the BBC that : “The average house price in England in 1986 was £38,000, today it is £226,000,” she said. “Over the same period the average salary has gone up two and half times.”

She adds : “The price of property compared to salaries has gone up hugely. Everyone says it is a London problem. It is not. Manchester is one of the worst.”

Our very own Frazer Fearnhead mentions in the BBC article that Manchester has a large student population and young professionals in the city prefer to rent.

Frazer believes that the Greater Manchester area mirrors the rest of the UK in the fact there are not enough houses being built, fuelling a demand that pushes up prices.

Read more on the issue here.

 

Investors Pull £1.4bn From UK Property Funds in Brexit Month

Brexit

Retail investors withdrew £1.4bn from property funds in June, 6 per cent of the sector’s assets, as the Brexit vote sparked an exodus that forced some of the largest funds to halt trading. (FT.com, August, 2016)

Following to the leave the EU in late June, led to many moving money out of property funds which forced Standard Life’s UK Real Estate fund to suspend redemptions in early July.

Others followed suit, such as Aviva, M&G, Columbia Threadneedle, Henderson and Canada Life.

Senior analyst at the retail investment broker Hargreaves Lansdown, Laith Khalaf, told the FT : “The scale of the exodus from investment funds in June is quite extraordinary, with the Brexit vote eclipsing the financial crisis in terms of putting the frighteners on retail investors in the short term.”

At present, around £15bn of investors’ money remains trapped in suspended funds that lack enough liquid assets to meet redemption requests.

 

UK Construction Crashes At Fastest Pace Since Financial Crisis

UK Construction

Construction output in June has fallen at its fastest pace since the dark days of the financial crisis in 2009 according to a survey by Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips).

Purchasing Managers Index figures indicate that Slower demand has lead to a drop in purchasing activity for the first time in just over three years. The index dropped from 51.2 in May to 46.0 in June, with anything below 50 indicating a contraction, as The Independent’s Ben Chapman reports.

Despite having record house prices, it was revealed that the weakest performing sector was residential construction. In addition, commercial building work was also weak, as new projects did not start to replace those that were coming to completion.

The EU referendum has been linked to the slowdown as there are still many uncertainties. Senior economist at Markit, Tim Moore told The Independent : “Widespread delays to investment decisions and housing market jitters saw the UK construction sector experience its worst month for seven years in June.”

However, David Noble, chief executive officer at Cips mentioned that the only glimmer of light through the brickwork is the rate of decline was not as sharp as that experienced during the previous financial crisis.

A spokesperson for Home Builders Federation said recent figures should not be viewed in isolation and that long term trends for the sector were good.

 

Little Appetite For Using Property As Pension As Research Shows

Property News Landlords

Research conducted by Aegon revealed that majority of homeowners do not want to use their property wealth to fund retirement.

Their study showed 74% of homeowners would only use their home as a “last resort” to provide a retirement income or do not consider their home as a source of retirement income at all. (Professional Adviser, August, 2016)

Moreover, Aegon found out that more than half of the research respondents want to leave their home to their loved ones.

Only 3% of those surveyed said that they would sell their property and move in with family as a means of funding retirement. 21% of homeowners are hoping they can fall back on inheritance to assist them with their retirement plans.

 

What Are Your Thoughts?

Which of our chosen property stories has interested you the most? We would love to hear from you, feel free to leave us a comment on our Facebook and Google Plus pages. If you prefer to tweet us, tweet @TheHouseCrowd.

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