Monday, 21 January 2019

A 1.5% Return with The Post Office or a 10.4% Return with a Bo’ness Buy to Let Property?

I had an interesting email from someone in Bo’ness a couple of 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 the Drum, 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 £100,000 from an elderly aunt. One option he told me was put it into a savings account. The best he could get from a reputable lender was a 2 year bond with the Post Office, which paid 1.5%, meaning he would get £1,500 in interest a year.  One of his other options was to buy a property in Bo’ness 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 Bo’ness landlords being waged by both the UK and Scottish Governments at the moment, 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 Bo’ness landlords. It’s true he would face the extra 4% 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 Bo’ness 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 £1,500 a year, or as he rightly suggested, invest in property in Bo’ness. The average yield (yield being the equivalent of the interest rate on the property) at the moment in Bo’ness is 6% 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 £6,000 a year. (However, I told him there are plenty of landlords in Bo’ness 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 Bo’ness 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 Bo’ness have risen by 4.22% per annum on average over the last five years, meaning that on top of your £6,000 in rent, but also seen an uplift of £4,400 …meaning his overall return for the year would have been £10,400 (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 Bo’ness currently stand 20.4% above the January 2008 (ie pre crash) level, and anicdotal evidence suggests that in the nicer parts of Bo’ness, we are well above these sorts of levels. Therefore, all this talk of property crashes seems unfounded.

… and what would that £100,000 get you in Bo’ness? A decent flat as well as a nice house in many parts of Bo’ness ... in fact, the world is your oyster. But which oyster?

If you would like a chat to find out more about investment property and property management in Bo’ness please pick up the phone (01506 828096) or pop in (6 Vicar Street, Falkirk) or email (

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