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BrightSale Urges Zero Cost Solution for Housing Crisis

Calls on Government to allow SIPPs to Invest in Residential UK Property to Boost the Housing Market

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are under enormous pressure to relieve some of the downwards pressure on the UK housing market. But their options appear to be severely limited. Sir James Crosby’s recent report pretty much killed the idea of direct Government intervention in the wholesale mortgage market. Fiscal constraints also mean that any ‘holiday’ for Stamp Duty would have to be short-lived and restricted to lower value properties. This would (and has already) create short-term distortions and uncertainties in buying patterns.

But one there is one thing the Government could now to boost demand for UK housing significantly without costing the Exchequer a penny in lost revenue: this is to remove the restriction on Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) investing in UK residential property.

On 1st October this year SIPP rules change to allow holders of ‘protected rights’ pensions to move them into SIPPs. Pension advisors have told BrightSale privately that they expect a deluge of money (The Financial Times has estimated this number to be in the region of £100 billion) to flow from protected rights schemes into SIPPs on or after this date. But as it stands at the moment none of this money can be invested in the residential property market. Instead it will mostly go into commercial property and other financial assets.

We have also been advised privately that the only reason residential property was exempted at the very last minute from SIPPs when they were introduced in 2006 was a Treasury fear that demand from these vehicle’s would further fuel a overheated property market at that time. That was probably a good decision then. But times have changed dramatically since, and it is now time to re-visit this restriction.

We call upon the Government today to announce that from 1st October 2008 (when the new pension rules on protected rights pensions come into force) that the restriction on SIPPs investing in UK residential property will allow be removed. This will unlock a huge pool of money for investment into residential property and at a stroke will transform sentiment towards the UK housing market. Action is needed, and this is action that costs the Treasury nothing in lost revenue.



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For further information contact:

Jeremy Howard, Financial Director on 0770 109 0046