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What is a Property ISA?
Property ISAs can be a means for those who wish to access the rewards that come with property investing without the need to invest directly into a single property.
A number of Innovative Finance ISA providers allow UK individuals to invest in property transactions. This means an investor can access potential returns from the UK property market in a tax-free way.
See below for a list of the current crop of innovative finance ISAs which invest in property development or property loans.
Under current ISA allowance limits you can invest £20,000 in a property ISA.
Some providers such as Easymoney allow you to invest on a regular basis via DDM.
Property within an Innovative Finance ISA
The Innovative Finance ISA allows investors to invest in property-backed peer-to-peer loans, including residential buy-to-let mortgages, bridging loans and property development loans. The peer-to-peer lending platform may offer to automatically deploy your investment funds across a variety of property-backed loans, or it may alternatively allow you to select individual property transactions that you would like to provide funding towards.
Property within a Stocks & Shares ISA
The ISA’s tax-free credentials are again valuable in the case of Stocks & Shares ISA investors, who are able to receive dividends and capital gains tax-free.
Property-focused investments which can be placed inside the Stocks & Shares ISA include investment trusts (including Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITS), property bonds and a range of structured products.
Are Property ISAs worth investing in?
Despite the risks inherent to collective property investing and peer-to-peer lending, there are a number of reasons why an investor might wish to consider in a Property ISA – particularly given the experience that many direct property investors are currently having in the Buy-to-Let market.
The tax-efficient nature of ISA investing is, of course, a major draw for many and the ability to invest in property-backed products whilst enjoying tax-free returns will be very attractive to a great many investors. ISA investing is, in relative terms, considerably more accessible in so far as one is not required to raise sufficient funds to buy a property outright in order to get involved in property investing under the ISA route. There are a range of property ISA accounts available and investors can get started from as little as £250.
What is an investment ISA?
An investment ISA is simply where you use your annual ISA allowance (currently £20,000 in 2019-20) to invest in non cash assets such as shares, investment trusts, open-ended investment companies (OEICs), life insurance policies, corporate bonds, and gilts.
How do I choose an investment ISA?
An investment ISA, as with all investments, involves an element of risk, so it’s important that you are comfortable with this and you are in a sufficiently stable financial position. If you are unsure you should seek independent financial advice.
Before you open an investment ISA, make sure that:
- Your debts are under control – you’ve either paid them off or have affordable arrangements in place to do so.
- You have emergency savings that you can access easily if something unexpected occurs – if your car breaks down or you’re made redundant, you’ll need savings that you can use straight away.
If you’re very new to saving and don’t yet have a basic emergency fund, you may find that a cash ISA is more suitable for you at this stage. Once you’ve built up some accessible savings in this way, you might then want to consider an investment ISA.
Investment ISA tips for 2020
- You should be prepared to invest for the medium to long term with a investment ISA – for example, for five years or more.
- If you think you might require access to your cash in the next couple of years, a investment ISA may not be the right choice for you. Share prices can be volatile – and so if you were to withdraw your investment in the next twelve to eighteen months, you could end up with less money than you started with.
- Different investment ISAs have different investment options. These range from as little as £10 per month (e.g. through a fund) to a specified minimum investment (e.g. £500).
- Some ISA providers will give you online access to your account, allowing you to see the investment performance of your ISA and keep up to date with any charges incurred.
- If your investment ISA isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you will usually be permitted to transfer it another provider. To do this, speak to your new ISA manager who will arrange the transfer, allowing you to avoid losing any tax benefits by withdrawing your cash.
- You can transfer shares you get from an HMRC-approved SAYE (save as you earn) scheme run by your employer, or a share incentive plan, into a investment component of an ISA without incurring capital gains tax, up to your annual ISA allowance.
- You will not be able to transfer any existing non-ISA shares, or shares you’ve inherited, into an investment ISA.
- With an investment ISA, there is greater long-term growth potential than a cash ISA – however, bear in mind that the value of your investment can go down as well as up.
- If you have an investment ISA from a previous tax year, you’re permitted to move this into a current investment ISA or split it between more than one investment ISA.
- If you want to open a Junior ISA (JISA) for your child, you can also invest in investment on their behalf up to a maximum of £4,368.
How does a stocks and shares ISA work?
A stocks and shares ISA acts as a tax-efficient ‘wrapper’ for your investments, allowing you invest up to a set amount per year (currently £20,000 for the 2019/20 tax year) while paying a reduced amount of tax on any investment income you make.
Your personal allowance for a stocks and shares ISA is £20,000 for the 2019/20 tax year. Investing this amount would use up your full ISA allowance, but if you prefer, you can divide your ISA allowance between a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA.
You could, for example, put some of your allowance in a cash ISA and the remaining balance can be invested in stocks and shares.
When considering a stocks and shares ISA, bear in mind that tax treatment may vary and is subject to change in the future.
Can I transfer a stocks and shares ISA to a new provider?
You can switch your investments within the stocks and shares ISA, or transfer your ISA to another provider without it affecting your allowance for that tax year.
To transfer a stocks and shares ISA from one provider to another, speak to the new provider, who will arrange it on your behalf.
What do I need to bear in mind when choosing a stocks and shares ISA?
Different stocks and shares ISA providers offer different levels of risk, as well as varying potential returns. Some are focused on specific types of asset, while others are more varied.
If you want the opportunity to spread your investments around different areas – and thus avoid putting all your eggs in one basket – you could choose a stocks and shares ISA provider that specializes in diverse portfolio management.
One of the key advantages of a stocks and shares ISA is that it can offer the potential to deliver higher returns than a cash ISA, especially if you plan to hold it over the long term.
Holding a stocks and shares ISA for a longer period of time increases your chances of riding out fluctuations in the market.
If you’re looking to hold your investment for at least five years, and are happy to take on a level of risk, then a stocks and shares ISA might be a suitable choice for you.
However, stocks and shares ISAs don’t provide the same level of security as cash ISAs. If you’re saving for the short term, need easy access to your money, can’t afford to risk your capital, or are simply risk-averse, then a stocks and shares ISA probably won’t be suitable for you.
As with all financial decisions, it’s best to seek independent advice if you’re unsure.
If a stocks and shares ISA isn’t the right choice for you, we also provide access to a leading range of cash ISAs.