I had an interesting email from someone in Penicuik a few weeks ago, that I want to share with you (don’t worry I asked his permission to share this with you all). In a nutshell, the gentleman lives in Mauricewood, he is in his mid 60’s and still working. He has a decent pension, so that when he does retire in a couple of years’ time, it will give him a comfortable life. He had recently inherited £140,000 from an elderly aunt. One option he told me was put it into a savings account. The best he could get was a 2 year bond with the Post Office, which paid 1.9%, meaning he would get £2,660 in interest a year. One of his other options was to buy a property in Penicuik to rent out and wanted to know my thoughts on what he should buy, but he had concerns as he didn’t want to take a mortgage out at his time of life he was also worried about all the tax changes he had read about in the papers for landlords.
Notwithstanding the war on Penicuik landlords being waged by both John Swinney and George Osborne, the attraction of bricks and mortar endures for many. As our man is a cash buyer, he would not have to deal with the intricate cut to mortgage interest tax relief that will diminish, or even eradicate, the profits of some Penicuik landlords. It’s true he would face the extra 3% in Land and Buildings Transactions Tax (the old ‘Stamp Duty’) to buy a second property, but with some good negotiation techniques, that could soon be mitigated.
I told him that buying a Penicuik buy to let property is all about the total return on investment. True, he could put the money in the Post Office bond and receive his interest of £2,660 a year, or as he rightly suggested, invest in property in Penicuik. The average yield (yield being the equivalent of the interest rate on the property) at the moment in Penicuik is 5.8% per annum, meaning our potential F.T.L (First Time Landlord), should be able to, depending on what he bought in the town, earn before costs £8,120 a year. (However, I told him there are plenty of landlords in Penicuik earning half as much again (if not more), if he was willing to consider more specialist investment types of properties – again, if you want to know where – look at my blog or drop me an email).
The bottom line is this, the success of investing in Penicuik buy to let property versus a savings account with the Post Office (or whatever Bank or Building Society is offering the best rate) will depend on the performance of those assets. Unlike a savings accounts, with property the capital you invested can also go up (and yes, it can go down as well – more of that in second). Property values in Penicuik have risen by, on average, 1.8% per annum over the last three years, meaning that on top of your £8,120 in rent, but also seen an uplift of £2,520 …meaning his overall return for the year would have been £10,640 (not bad when compared to the Post Office!).
... but the doom mongers amongst you will say, property values can go down, as they did in 2008 and in 1988 and 1979. Yes, but after 1979, prices had bounced back to their 1979 levels by 1984 and went on to grow an additional 58% in the following four years. Then again, they dropped 1988 and did take 13 years to reach back to those 1988 figures, but the following six years (between 2001 and 2007) they then increased by an additional 66%. Now, according to the Registers of Scotland, average property values in Penicuik currently stand 10.7% above the January 2008 (ie pre crash) level, and anicdotal evidence suggests that in the nicer parts of Penicuik, we are well above these sorts of levels. Therefore, all this talk of property crashes seems unfounded.
… and what would that £140,000 get you in Penicuik? A decent 3 bed semi detached or terraced house in many parts of Penicuik including... in fact, the world is your oyster. But which oyster?