Pension savers still tempted by property

the money house

Savers consider workplace pensions to be the safest way of investing for retirement, but believe an investment in property will yield bigger returns, according to new research from the Office for National Statistics.

It found that while 41% preferred the security of a workplace pension, compared to 28% for property, 44% believed that an investment in property would make them more money over the long term. Only 25% considered occupational savings to be the more profitable option.

However while Brits put great faith in the potential of bricks and mortar, traditional pension plans may offer more impressive growth potential.

Figures from Hargreaves Lansdown confirm that a well-chosen stockmarket investment could grow at a faster rate. The average balanced managed pension fund has returned 60% over the last 10 years, and while London house prices might be up more than 80% over the same period the Nationwide House Price Index reports a more modest UK average growth rate of 24.2%.

Incentives to save from both the government and employers can also give pensions a head start over property.

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The combination of employer contributions, tax relief, secure trust laws, investment diversification and control over the withdrawals make workplace pensions the obvious default retirement saving vehicle. It is also notable that outside the South East, investment returns from pensions have been higher than property too.”

He also warned about placing too much reliance on your current home for funding your retirement income.  “For many people now approaching retirement, their property is likely to make a significant contribution to their overall wealth in retirement and will be particularly relevant as a capital reserve for costs such as later-life care,” he added.