Pension reforms: Is buy-to-let now the best way to invest for the future?

Pension reforms: Is buy-to-let now the best way to invest for the future?

For the last couple of years, the government has been putting the pensions system through a number of different reforms. This has seen auto-enrolment, one of the biggest shake ups in history, come into existence, but it's not been the only change. 

At the end of 2014, it was announced that the government is reforming pensions again, and in April new rules will come into force that have been described in some areas as quite radical. But what do these changes mean for savers, and does it make investment in property a more feasible long-term prospect than trying to save with annuities?

The pension reforms will mean that older people are able to withdraw large chunks of their pension pot in lump sums, with 25 per cent of this being completely tax free. It will replace the current system under which people who took a lump sum out were generally having to buy annuities with the rest of their funds. 

The main benefactors will be people who have large pension pots at the moment, with reports estimating that those who take out their pension in lump sums will be able to save themselves in the region of 40 per cent on tax alone. The rules also free up funds for people to be able to do what they want with their money. 

Will the time be right to invest in property?

Many experts believe that the changes to rules will mean many people looking to put their money into property, be it for capital gains or in the market for buy-to-let as landlords. For those looking to supplement their income, the second option in particular allows them the chance to have a steady amount of money coming in from a market where demand is high and consistent. 

Stuart Law of Assetz believes putting funds into buy-to-let is the very best way for over-55s to spend their lump sums, especially with the way the private rented sector has become more and more profitable in recent times. 

“The radical pensions reforms are likely to trigger a huge surge in buy-to-let investment as the over-55s look to make use of their pension pots to get maximum returns. Property investment is still streets ahead compared to any other form of investment returns," he added. And at the moment it's hard to argue. Returns of six per cent from buy-to-let properties currently hover around the six per cent mark, which is higher than you'll find for the majority of assets. 

Investment in buy-to-let in particular can also be low contact, which means you can make a return without having to put in too much. Hiring a company to deal with the management of the property - lettings, maintenance and repairs - then you are able to make money in a strong market without doing too much at all. 

Overall, experts are predicting that there will be many people who choose this as a viable option for their investment moving forward. According to Assetz, some £5 billion could be invested in property by older people this year as a result of these changes to the pension rules. 

Meanwhile, Direct Line reports that nearly a third of people aged between 45 and 64 would consider making a property purchase with some or all of their pension pot in order to make a profit. 

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