Money Makeover: ‘Sky-high house prices have ruined my buy-to-let dream. What else can I do?’

Almost two years into the pandemic-fuelled property boom, house prices are still breaking records. They have climbed by 21pc in the past two years, hitting an average of £265,312 last month, according to Nationwide Building Society.

For 41-year-old Alfred Calland, the red-hot market has derailed his buy-to-let retirement dream. He lives in Plymouth, where demand has boomed since buyers flocked there in search of more space and a slower pace of life.

“The plan was to eventually invest in two or three houses and retire on that, but that has been completely blown out of the water. I need another plan to invest my cash,” he said.

Mr Calland has £20,000 in a cash Isa and £10,100 worth of Premium Bonds, which he is keen to sell. He has £15,000 in other savings accounts as a rainy day fund.

The part-time pharmacist earns £27,500 a year and has paid off his mortgage. He invested £60,000 in a pension with Hargreaves Lansdown, but this is losing money. The pension is now worth £37,000, alongside another £7,000 in cash.

It is mainly invested in financial services giant Legal & General, pubs operator Marstons and Lloyds Banking Group. Mr Calland also has smaller holdings in Barclays and NatWest banks, the insurer Aviva, energy provider Centrica and oil and gas company Tullow Oil.

He said: “I would like to hold on to the shares in the banks and insurers as I bought them cheaply a few years ago. I also have around £29,000 in a pension with the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), but I’m not sure if that’s the best place for it.”

Mr Calland has no intention of touching his investments until at least state pension age and so is willing to take a little bit of risk with the money. “I know of people getting up to 9pc annual returns, but appreciate this is on the high side and would be happy with around 5pc,” he added.

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