Quarterly survey revealed a “bounce back” in the buy-to-let market

Landlords have been buying more properties in the last quarter according to a recent survey. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) quarterly survey revealed a “bounce back” in the buy-to-let market.

Make sure your figures add up

The British love affair with property investing has been very evident over the past decade and despite a tougher market, those looking to get into the market should beware of easy buy-to-let deals and still make sure their investment meets a strict checklist, or dreams of property riches may turn into financial disaster.

Covering your monthly mortgage payments for a specified period – your questions answered.

If you fall behind with your mortgage repayments and cannot catch up again, you could eventually lose your home. But you can take steps to protect yourself against this risk by taking out Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI).

A range of issues to consider before entering the residential lettings market

This checklist is an introduction to buy-to-let highlighting the types of questions you should be asking yourself before buying a property to let out. It is not intended as an exhaustive list, merely an introduction for new buy-to-let investors, to a range of issues they should consider before entering the residential lettings market for the first time.

“Stunting market recovery”

The Home Information Pack (HIP) is being blamed for “stunting market recovery” according to estate agents. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) in a recent survey reported that of its members, ten per cent of agents believed the number of sellers would double if HIPs were suspended.

Government allocates £1.7bn for new homes

The Housing Minister John Healey recently announced £1.7bn funding to build 11,200 new homes and regenerate 10 of the most deprived areas of the country. Ten local authorities in six regions are to receive the cash under the housing private finance initiative (PFI) in order to allow them to deliver 4,500 new or improved council homes and 1,600 new affordable rented homes.

Land values stabilise across most UK regions

The value of residential development land has stabilised across most UK regions after five negative quarters according to Knight Frank’s Residential Land Index.

It’s essential to talk

If you are having difficulty meeting your mortgage repayments or are worried it may become a problem in the future, here is some information which may help you.

Your questions answered

Q: I’m 39 and don’t have a pension. Should I wait until after the economy recovers before I commence my pension provision?
A: As a general rule and if appropriate to your particular situation, you should start saving as soon as possible. The longer you delay your pension planning, the more you will eventually have to pay. If your employer offers a pension, take it; if they do not, start your own personal pension. The pension system was overhauled in 2006 and, as a result, the industry has become more transparent. Pensions are also a very tax-efficient way of investing for your future, and depending on the type of pension provision you choose, now could be a good time to invest in pensions, when you can buy more shares or units for less.

Choosing the right pension scheme options for you and your employees

If you’re a business owner there are many different pension options available both to you and to your employees. We can help you navigate this complex area and advise you on how to make sure that you choose the most suitable pension schemes available for your particular requirements.

Advice is invaluable, particularly when you are dealing with more complex financial products

An increasing number of people may be forced to delay their retirement plans because of the impoverished state of their pensions caused by the ongoing financial crisis. Pension funds have been affected by the stock market falls, and those who confidently assumed that their property would subsidise their retirement have seen their house prices fall. Add to this the fact that annuity rates have also fallen, due largely to increased longevity and declining gilt yields.

Recession-proof your portfolio

The big question that all savers and investors are asking during this period of economic downturn and low interest rates is: ‘Where should I put my money?’

Banks no longer seem the secure bastions they once were, although savers should, if possible, keep a sense of perspective. In this economic climate it certainly pays to err on the side of caution, but this does not mean withdrawing funds from the banks completely.

Bringing your money under one roof
Many of us may have two or three careers during our working lives, and that could mean we head into retirement with a number of different pensions, both workplace and personal. This has the advantage of diversification and of spreading our investment risk. But there may also be downsides, particularly in terms of converting these retirement funds into an annuity.

Making money during both rising and falling markets

Absolute return funds aim to make money for investors during both rising and falling markets. They look to give a better return than holding cash by using the powers for shorting stocks – that is, selling shares they do not own in the hope that the price will fall –and other hedging techniques that are now open to conventional fund managers under European directives.

Could you end up paying too much tax?

Falling property values could result in inheritance tax (IHT) relief for families selling the homes of deceased relatives. However, delays in finding buyers in this current economic climate may mean that some homes are being sold for significantly less than their ‘probate’ valuation, the amount calculated at the time of death and registered with the tax authorities.