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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Investing in property

You can invest in property directly or indirectly through a 'pooled' or 'collective' investment scheme, like a Unit Trust or Open Ended Investment Company. Property investment carries high risks.

Direct property investment

Buying your home or a property to let out is a way of investing directly in property. However, although the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulates most mortgage sales, it doesn't regulate most buy-to-let mortgages. If you're thinking of investing directly in property as a way of making money it's important to be aware of the risks. In particular, beware of 'get-rich-quick' promotions.

Indirect property investment

Property Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) and Property Unit Trusts are schemes which pool investors' funds and invest as much as possible in property. The fund invests either directly and/or by buying shares in companies that invest in property. A few of these schemes are regulated, so there are safeguards to reduce the risk of financial loss.

Collective investments that include property

Some unit trusts, OEICs, investment trusts and life assurance policies include property in the range of funds they invest in. But they also include other investments (shares, government bonds, cash etc) to spread the risk. Some of these collective investments are regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Their marketing material will tell you which range of funds they invest in.

Getting financial advice

Property investment carries high risks. It's a good idea to get financial advice before investing in any property scheme. To find out how a financial adviser may be able to help, read our related article.

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