Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Posted on: 19 January 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Independent financial advisor Peter McGahan sees property abroad and UK holiday homes as potential investments.

So here we have it - a near zero interest rate for savers.

Couple this with the fact banks are under pressure by regulators and markets to keep larger amounts of capital aside relative to the loans they have given, and you have a very tricky scenario.

First time buyers are the answer to the lower end of the market as they are desperate to buy, but banks have decided to tighten up in that area and are not offering very favourable rates for those with a low deposit.

That of course is a bad day at the races all round, and has to change. A loosening of this regulation for banks would be welcome but its possible further government cash injections will be required.

As if we needed further pressure on the pound - as complicated as it all is, there are some twinkly lights out there for the canny investor.

Numbers are everything at the top and the bottom of the market, and in between, there is always sentiment to prove that we 'money people' are indeed clueless!

As we come closer to 'bottoms' in some sectors, consider where the cash investor will have to look for the income. Now as you know I have been calling property down for some three years and the bubble just kept getting bigger. Whilst there is further pressure on this market, one aspect is definitely shining today - holiday property.

We are always looking for the potential for return over a risk free asset. That’s not very difficult in today's market given how low interest rates are but that is not reflective of long term rates.

I am comfortable rates will remain low for a year, whilst deflationary pressures, in a debt-laden economy sort themselves out. Inflation will return when we begin to spend, having reduced our debts with the excess income over the falling expenditure of mortgages and plummeting inflation. Talk to an independent financial adviser about any debt concerns and how to start your debt consolidation plan.

Consider the next few years however. We have a pound that used to be worth something, and in turn there are two benefits to the economy.

Firstly, foreign holidays are much more expensive due to the currency gap, secondly overseas visitors find the UK a reasonably cheap place to come to in comparison to their living memory.

On my holiday in Norway last year I paid £18.90 for a pint of Guinness and a glass of wine. I've 'done' Norway now. Let's just say I came home very healthy after three weeks.

And on the grounds of supply and demand, holiday properties in the UK will be very popular indeed. This will make them a very attractive asset class for investors.

Another addition to this is the advent to the everyday investor of fractional ownership. Sometimes poorly confused with timeshare, this is fast becoming an exciting way to access a reasonable return on cash for a part interest in a property.

The developer effectively creates a stunning holiday village with all the correct amenities and sells off part shares in each property. That share entitles you to a set period of say 4 - 8 weeks in a property which of course you let out to Mr & Mrs Holiday family. They arrive to a beautiful four bedroom house instead of a chalet with all the amenities they need - pool etc.

The numbers stack up favourably. Let me take Trewhiddle holiday village as an example. A fractional ownership here costs just £54,950 plus vat and entitles you to six weeks holiday.

An average rent for that area would give the investor a 7.7% income, and that’s based on medium rental. In today's marketplace with interest rates at such poor levels the fractional ownership market will be an excellent choice for many investors especially as all management of the property and fees would be included - a twinkly light at the end of the tunnel at last.

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