Survey Brings Hope of Housing Market Recovery

As milder Spring weather has finally arrived and the daffodils are in bloom, I am delighted to read that Britain is poised for a housing market revival, according to the respected Ernst & Young ITEM Club.

The survey forecasts that over 1m transactions will take place this year, the most since 2007, and that prices will start to rise, up 2.1% in 2014, and then rises of 5pc and 6pc in the following two years.

The ‘feel-good’ factor of higher property prices should boost spending on the high street promoting economic growth and help give fragile export markets time to recover to take up the slack.

As it finally appears that economic recovery may be just around the corner, this is the ideal time to take a fresh look at your financial arrangements to ensure you are on track to achieve your goals. Your goal may be to ensure you have enough income to maintain your current lifestyle in retirement, pass money on to your children, save tax, or perhaps educate your children privately.

The key is to develop a strategic financial plan, which you revisit at least annually. Events over the past year, such as the crisis in Cyprus, may cause you to pause and reflect on your own family’s financial security. The flow of market news may also have a bearing on how comfortable you are with your existing investments. Announcements in the Spring Budget such as the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme may lead you to contemplate a property purchase for yourself or help your children get on the property ladder.

A financial review is a good time to evaluate the performance of your investments and ‘reality-test’ your objectives looking at expected income and expenditure over time. Are your objectives realistic and have your investments performed as expected? Are you holding the right level of cash to cater for emergencies, is it held in a secure bank and how are you protecting it against the effects of inflation?

Just like Spring-cleaning the house, a regular financial review is the time to get rid of clutter and focus on what is important to you. Even though your circumstances may not have changed significantly, a Chartered Financial Planner can help you look at wider issues, such as changes in tax or pension regulations or the economic outlook, as well as provide a second opinion on complex areas of advice. Slight adjustments may need to be made or you may simply be given reassurance that you are on track.

Moreover, as financial planning is highly personal, it is key to work with a professional firm where you can be confident of building a long-term relationship with your adviser as you together develop your financial route map to negotiate life’s challenges.

[Matthew Clark, Western Morning News, 18 April 2013]

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