Sweeping Pension Changes May Cause A ‘Buy-to-Let Boom’
On April 6 2015 the government’s far-reaching pension reforms came in to action giving over 55s with ‘defined contribution’ or ‘money purchase’ pensions complete control of how to spend or invest them.
Previously, pensioners had been required to buy an annuity, drawing down a fixed sum of income to live on each year with the option of access to a tax free lump sum of up to 25% of the total pension value. Now however, pensioners no longer need to have an annuity and can make unlimited withdrawals, with the first 25% of all withdrawals tax free and the remainder taxed as income.
The changes, widely heralded by pensioners, received a mixed response in the press with some commentators expressing serious concern that it would encourage a run on savings and irresponsible spending leaving retirees with no income in later life. Others however, looked to the effect it might have on the property industry with a wide consensus that many retirees would look to invest their pension in buy-to-let property, which amongst the demographic is largely regarded as an instinctively safe, reliable and more profitable way to invest savings, in comparison with the performance of stock markets in the last decade.
Certainly, investing in buy-to-let property in the right locations and product could be a effective way to increase your pension pot and with tax relief on buy-to-let mortgages, costs in running the property can be off set against your tax bill, including lettings fees, furniture, insurance cover, maintenance and repairs, ground rent, council tax and bills.
It’s early days yet and it remains to be seen whether the changes will spark a buy-to-let boom, but for the meantime, the onus remains on the individual to invest or spend wisely.