Property Prices Update – Windsor

House Logo Child drawingGreater caution appears to be being exercised across the UK housing market as house price momentum slowed to the same level it was 16 months ago, according to the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey. Nationally, new buyer demand slipped for the third consecutive month and in London, caution took a particular toll, with prospective new buyer demand seeing its fifth consecutive monthly decline – a trend not seen since April 2012.

Meanwhile, stock coming onto the market remained virtually unchanged in September (a net balance of -1%), which led to a number of surveyors reporting a ‘return to more sensible prices’, as properties staying on the market for longer were now beginning to receive offers below asking price.

Interestingly, and likely in response to political rhetoric around Mansion Tax, the survey showed a drop in 12 month member price expectations for larger properties (three and four or more bedrooms), which have fallen since the start of the year to 2.2% (down from 3.8% at the start of the year) for three bedroom properties and 2.0% for four or more bedroom properties (down from 3.5% at the start of the year).

At a national level, the slowdown in buyer activity stands in contrast to the lettings market, where demand has continued to grow solidly across the majority of the UK, despite new instructions to let not keeping pace with the rise in tenant demand.

However, despite market conditions, surveyor expectations for price growth over the coming three months remain positive, with only surveyors in London expecting to see values decrease and prices across the rest of the UK still expected to rise by an average 2.1% over the year.

Demand and supply are looking a little more balanced, which is removing some of the upward pressure in prices, particularly in London. Part of this is down to the Bank of England becoming more vocal about the risks, with affordability, new mortgage rules and the expectations of higher interest rates all playing their part. Ideally, more supply should be coming onto the market, but with interest rates still at historically low levels and long term house price expectations positive, households are not under any real economic pressure to sell. RICS commented that the outlook for 2015 was expected to look significantly more subdued than it has in 2014.

Sources: http://www.rics.org.uk ( Resdidential Market Report: 2014/10/09)

We can help with your Buy to Let enquiries and can offer you a free rental yield calculator to check the rental yield of the property you are interested in.  Call us for more information.

Giles Warren

tel: 01753 626866 www.gileswarren.co.uk

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Buildings & Contents insurance on flood plain – Windsor

headache-160wMy house is on the Flood Plain in Windsor and I thought I would ring around to get some comparisons for Buildings and Contents insurance.  In many cases it is difficult to get Home and Contents Insurance if you are on the Flood Plan,  or if you can its often rated with higher premiums.

I recently found a company who have reduced my monthly premiums from £78.08 per month to £52.73 per month on a like for like basis.  This is a saving of £25.35 per month or a 32% reduction!

If you would like a quote please call me on  01753 626866 or fill in the form below.

Thanks

Giles

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Understanding Active vs Passive Strategies – Windsor

Question markThe debate about whether a passive or an active investment strategy produces a better return for investors is one that has rumbled amongst financial planners for as long as passive strategies have been in existence. For you as a client, the method favoured by your adviser can have a major impact on your investment experience, so understanding  the two different approaches is important.

An active strategy is one in which the investor – possibly a fund manager or other investment professional – will make investment choices on a regular basis, buying or selling holdings when they think it is necessary, often when they believe they can make a peak profit. An active strategy is highly involved and requires constant management.

A passive strategy meanwhile is one which requires hardly any trading whatsoever. Instead, money is invested into funds linked to indexes, such as the FTSE 100, by way of just one of many possible examples. Relying on the market to make your gain, passive investing is typically seen as a longer term strategy and, although it may sound easier than active from a management point of view, there is still a lot to do in terms of selecting the right funds and creating a well-balanced portfolio of asset classes that meet client’s needs.

On the active side, proponents claim that such a strategy is the only way to generate better-than-average returns; the only way to ‘beat the market’. After all, passive strategies, though divested across indexes and asset classes, are by their very design market-linked. If the index your passive strategy invests in goes up, so will your investments, with the negative being true if the index falls. Your investment may never outperform the market but it will also never lose more than the market as a whole.

Passive proponents, meanwhile, point out that active investment strategies typically cost more in fees, with these fees potentially impacting on the ability of the strategy to produce a better return. Those who favour passive investments also point out the increased volatility of active strategies, stemming from the higher frequency of investment movements and the timing of those movements, which also produce the potential for market-beating gains.

Here at Giles Warren Financial we review both of our Active and Passive strategies to ensure our clients are getting a good return on their money.  For more information please contact me directly on 01753 668831, visit our website www.gileswarren.co.uk email info@gileswarren.co.uk or fill in the form below.

Thanks

Giles

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Are you giving the Tax man lots of money?

TAX-200w-roundedAlthough, 38% of the nation thinks they’d be confident in sorting out their tax planning without help of professional advice, unbiased.co.uk’s research shows that three out of four (77%) Brits admit they haven’t done anything in the past 12 months to cut their individual tax waste figure, up from 68% last year. 

UK taxpayers’ tax wastage 2014 – the key stats:

£2.9 billion in pension tax relief waste

  • UK employees on average put away £3,260 annually into their pension, including £652 a year in tax relief from the government
  • 4.4 million UK adults are currently in employment not saving into a pension and not making use of their pension tax allowance from the government resulting in £2.9 billion in tax relief set to remain unused this year
  • Anyone paying towards a pension receives tax relief on their pension savings at 20% and up to 45% according to the rate at which they pay tax.  If you are a higher rate taxpayer the onus is on you to claim back the additional tax relief owed to you

£1.1 billion in ISAs

  • 49 million UK bank account holders are set to waste a combined total of more than £1.1billion by not moving their money into tax-efficient individual savings accounts (ISAs)
  • Of that wastage, £984 million can be attributed to failure to use cash ISAs and a further £160 million in stocks and shares investments not held in ISAs

£530 million in inheritance tax waste

  • £530 million wasted in inheritance tax (IHT) by individuals not placing life protection policies ‘under trust’
  • Not placing it under trust could reduce a £100,000 life insurance payout by as much as £40,000 if an individual’s total estate is worth more than £325,000
  • Only 27% of people would be confident in tackling IHT planning without the help of a professional adviser

£154 million in capital gains tax

  • £154 million in unnecessary capital gains tax (CGT) payments this tax year
  • 2014 unbiased.co.uk Tax Action research shows one of the main areas of CGT waste occurs from people not using ISAs to shelter investments from any tax liabilities
  • Each UK taxpayer has an annual CGT free allowance, which for the current tax year stands at £10,900.  Any gain above the allowance is charged at 18% for lower and 28% for higher rate tax payers

If you would like more information please call me on 01753 626866 or visit our website at www.gileswarren.co.uk

Thanks

Giles

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Married without a Will – Windsor

So you think you’re going to get all of your spouse’s estate if they died without a will?  Think again!  If you have children, then the spouse left would inherit £250,000 and the life interest in the remainder,  and the rest would go to the children.  This can mean that the family house has to be sold, to put the money into Trust for the Children.  At a very stressful time this can be the last issue that any family would need to deal with.

Because of the importance of Wills I  can now take instructions for my clients and arrange your Wills to be written.  We offer a free will diagnosis and can provide you with a report to explain all the options that might be suitable for your situation.

For more information please call me on 01753 626866.

Thanks

Giles Warren

e: info@gileswarren.co.uk web: www.gileswarren.co.uk

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Accountancy Software

Its that time of year when I have to start thinking about doing the dreaded accounts!  2 Days of copying my bank statements into my accounts software – its normally a real chore.  Not this year though!  I’ve recently signed up to using Freeagent which can import the data straight from my online bank accounts, taking me now only 2 hours to complete them!  You also get a months free trial,  to see if you like the software,  and if you sign up at the following site you also get a 10% discount http://www.freeagent.com/?referrer=432aqfx8 

It has most of the usual features of software accountancy, such as invoicing, profit and loss etc. and is really easy to use.

If you’ve completed your accounts and it looks like you might have a large tax bill, there might be tax planning which we can arrange to help you reduce this bill.  Obviously this will depend upon your personal circumstances and please call me to discuss on 01753 626866 or email me at info@gileswarren.co.uk.

Thanks

Giles Warren

Web: http://www.gileswarren.co uk

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Auto Enrolment Pensions – Windsor

headache-160wWhat is auto enrolment?  Work place pensions changed in October 2012 for employers because employees now have to be offered contributory Work Place pension scheme – that’s right HAVE to!  It’s no longer any good to have a template Stakeholder that nobody joins or to pay a concessionary £30 a month to a scheme.  The Employer will have to meet strict criteria with regards to auto enroling their employees within a specific date called the Staging Date.  This will vary depending on the size the company.  If they don’t meet these dates,  there are large fines (£5000-£10,000) for those companies who ignore the rules.  I say companies, but really it does not matter as you could be a sole trader with one employee or a partnership with 10 employees,  or a sole trader with 5 contractors working for you.  If the people working for you are considered as “job holders” then you will need a pension scheme in place and you will have to “Automatically Enrol” them at precise times after they become eligible.  Employees will be able to opt out, but again there are very strict guidelines surrounding these rules and the Employer will suffer heavy fines if it can be seen that they encouraged a job holder to opt out for any reason.

You can find more information at The Pensions Regulators (TPR)website www.tpr.gov.uk/7-steps or you can click on the following link on our website http://bit.ly/124leyI.  TPR have just issued their first notice to an Employer who has failed to meet its auto-enrolment duties and here’s the articles on the following link http://news.ifaonline.co.uk/c/16OcIddijREGOBFr7BUh4UyLGd

Some Companies will have qualifying schemes already, so will not be affected as they will meet the basic criteria.  However it is estimated that a million employers will need to put a scheme is place, whether they join NEST, increase their existing scheme or take out a new qualifying pension, there are lots of choices.  With a million schemes and roughly 20,000 IFA’s who may arrange company pensions, that works out to be 50 schemes per firm in the next 3 years or so.  This means there is going to be a bottle neck approaching the smaller company staging dates and my guess is that the IFA’s across the country will not be able to handle the work load or will put their fees up to cope with the extra resources needed.

What can I do now? How can Giles Warren Financial help me?  If you are an employer you can give us your PAYE reference number, and we will create a Report to let you know your Staging Date.  This report will help you plan the time you have left to get your qualifying scheme in place.   We can also chat through your auto enrolment options at a free preliminary meeting.  For most employers I would allow at least a year before your staging date to start the process, so that you can get the right systems in place to help you manage your Auto Enrolment duties and satisfy The Pensions Regulator.

If you are an Employee, Contractor or Temp and do not currently have an Company Scheme and you are thinking of taking out your own pension,  you might want to take some advice.  In your scenario its likely your Employer will be setting up a scheme within 3 years, and it would make sense for you to join it.  Therefore if you were thinking of starting a stand alone pension now, it might be better for you to save the monthly premiums you were going to make to a new pension and then put in a lump sum into the new scheme when its set up?

I hope this has been of help and whether you are an Employer, Employee, Contractor, Part Time or Temp and would like some more advice about any aspect of your Retirement Planning,  please call me on 01753 626866.  You can also visit our website at www.gileswarren.co.uk or why not use our Pension Calculator at http://bit.ly/15Dj4mD to determine how much you’ll need to pay to get the pension in retirement you need.  Please remember that this calculator does not take into consideration the Basic State Pension which is currently £110.15 per week and the details in the article do not constitute advice to individuals without consultation.

Thanks

Giles

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