Estate agents' signs outside houses
The internet has changed the way we do many things in life. How we shop, keep in touch with friends, read the news, even nose on our neighbours.
Yes that’s right, thanks to Rightmove and other such sites, we can now spend our leisure time snooping on the interior decorations of our neighbours’ homes up for sale and judge whether in our opinion they have been priced appropriately.
Alternatively, you may even set yourself an imaginary budget and launch yourself on a virtual viewing tour to find your dream home, without even leaving your current one. It’s an easy way to pass the time.
I guess I’m not the only one doing this. Yesterday, Rightmove published their January House Price Index and reported a 5% rise in visitors to their website in the first two weeks of this year. This translates to an average of over 4.5 million visits per day. But are they all serious buyers and sellers?
I doubt it. According to Rightmove the housing market is muted with a small rise this month in house prices of 0.4%, the lowest monthly rise at this time of year since January 2012. The property website also reported the average price of a London home has fallen below £600,000 for the first time since August 2015, which is well below its peak of almost £650,000 before the Brexit vote in 2016.
Rightmove confirmed that the number of properties coming to market in the first two weeks of the year are broadly the same as a year ago, with only a 2% drop and a change in regional emphasis towards north of England properties than London and the south.
The estate agent Your Move has also reported lacklustre numbers, saying house prices in England and Wales rose 0.3% in December, with the annual change figure now at 0.6% - its lowest level since 2012.
With continued uncertainty over Brexit affecting the economy, the housing market is an important barometer of how the overall economy is doing. For most of us our home is the largest asset we own and will play an important role in our retirement plans.
“My property is my pension” is a phrase I’ve often heard when friends and family talk about saving for the future. For many people, especially the baby boomer generation now reaching retirement age, property has been their best performing asset by far. It’s easy to see the logic – borrow as much as you can, while you can, to move up the property ladder or invest in home improvements, so one day you can realise that gain.
But it’s worth remembering that putting all your eggs in one basket has its risks too. We’ve all become quite used to record low interest rates and it’s quite easy to forget the impact of your mortgage payments creeping up with each rate rise and the knock-on effect it has on the housing market, as well as day-to-day spending.
For those thinking of making their property their only pension, it would be wise to consider investing in other assets through tax-efficient ISAs and pensions so you’re not just dependent on the fortunes of the property market or the latest equity release schemes.
With the end of tax-year approaching in April, it’s a good reminder to consider the tax advantages of investing for the long term through ISAs and pensions. It’s also worth remembering that these are just wrappers around investments and the most important thing is what you hold within them.
If you’re looking for fund ideas, a good starting point is Tom’s ISA Picks for this year. These are four funds, investing in different regions around the world, specifically chosen by our investment director Tom Stevenson from our Select 50 list of recommended funds.
As well as an ISA, they can also be held in our SIPP (self-invested personal pension). The picks include the Fidelity Select 50 Balanced Fund which celebrates its first anniversary in February. This fund provides a one-stop, well-diversified fund, with a more cautious approach, which is a more defensive option when the market outlook looks uncertain.
More on Tom’s ISA Picks for this year
More on Fidelity Select 50 Balanced Fund
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may not get back what you invest. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances, and all tax rules may change in the future. Withdrawals from a pension product will not be possible until you reach age 55. Select 50 is not a personal recommendation to buy funds. Reference to specific securities or funds should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell these securities or funds and is included for the purposes of illustration only. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.
Double your money with our ISA prize draw
Invest a lump sum in an ISA online by 31 March 2019, and we’ll give you the chance to win back your initial investment - up to £20,000.
Win back the value of your ISA investment in cash- up to £20,000, (the “Prize Draw”).
Terms and Conditions
1. The promoter of this offer is Financial Administration Services Limited, 130 Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 9DZ (“Fidelity”).
2. To be eligible to enter the prize draw you must be 18 years of age or older and a UK resident. Fidelity employees and its contracted staff are not eligible to enter.
3. Entry into the Prize Draw will constitute your acceptance of these terms and conditions. Entry will be automatic when you make a Qualifying Investment (see below).
4. If you do not wish to be entered into the prize draw, please call our contact centre on 0800 41 41 61 and request to be removed from the draw, after you have made a Qualifying Investment. The contact centre is available between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am and 6pm on Saturday.
5. The prize draw period is from 18 January 2019 to 31 March 2019 the “Prize Draw Period”). Entries close 31 March at midnight. The Prize Draw amount will match the lump sum amount invested into a Fidelity 2018/19 ISA during the Prize Draw Period and the prize money will be paid in cash into your bank account.
6. Qualifying Investment
- Any lump sum investment made into a 2018/2019 Fidelity ISA during the Prize Draw Period through the Fidelity Personal Investing website: fidelity.co.uk
The following examples, without limitation, will not be Qualifying Investments:
- ISA transfers or re-registrations from other providers
- Investments made through an adviser;
- Investments in the Fidelity Junior ISA;
- Investments via a regular savings plan;
- Investments via a Bed and ISA;
- Investments made over the telephone or through a paper application (investments must be made online through the fidelity.co.uk website in order to qualify).
7. After the Prize Draw Period, the winners will be selected at random. All winners will be drawn after 1 April 2019 and will be notified via email or phone before 30 April 2019. Payment of the prize money will be made within 90 days of the notification. There will be four winners in total.
8. Only one entry per person is available. If multiple ISA investments are made during the Prize Draw Period, the first investment in time will qualify for entry to the Prize Draw, and the amount invested at that point will be the prize amount payable.
9. The winner's prize money will be paid by BACS to your bank account. If we do not hold a bank mandate on the account, you will need to provide those details to receive the prize. Cheques will not be sent in place of providing bank details.
10. Fidelity reserves the right to cancel or amend the prize draw or the rules without notice during the Prize Draw Period. Any cancellation of or changes to the prize draw will be notified to you on the Fidelity website.
11. If you withdraw your qualifying investment from your Fidelity ISA, or add an adviser to your account, within a 12-month period from the date of investment, Fidelity reserves the right to reclaim the prize money awarded.
1. Fidelity shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered from entry into the prize draw, acceptance of the prize, any defects, delays or inadequacies in the prize or the arrangements surrounding the prize, or from any event beyond the reasonable control of Fidelity. Fidelity shall not be liable in contract, tort, negligence or otherwise for any direct or indirect consequential loss suffered by an entrant in relation to participation in the prize draw. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall operate to exclude or restrict liability of Fidelity from time to time for death or personal injury resulting from negligence.
2. Where relevant, reference in these terms and conditions to the winner includes any person with whom the winner shares the prize.
3. In the event of any dispute regarding the rules, conduct, results and all other matters relating to a prize draw, the decision of Fidelity shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.