Can a SSAS Pension buy residential property?

Using your pensions funds for and investments in property and many other asset classes is extremely tax efficient. Here, we look at property investment strategies using a SSAS pension and answer questions such as:

  • Can a SSAS buy residential property?
  • Can a SSAS buy commercial property?
  • What is classed as residential property?
  • Is buying property with your pension tax efficient?

Can I use my pension to buy residential property?

Perhaps one of the most common questions we receive at TLPI is “Can a SSAS buy residential property?” There are two ways of answering this question the first in the strictest sense is yes a pension can purchase a residential property however HMRC class residential property as “taxable property” within a pension scheme and therefore impose a tax of 55% of the amount invested. So in reality no you cannot purchase residential property directly or indirectly within a pension scheme when investing your SSAS pension without receiving heavy penalty. You can read HMRC rules around “taxable property” directly on their website by clicking here

For those not interested in investing in commercial property, which is allowed within HMRC rules, the alternative is to develop innovative strategies to invest their SSAS funds in other ways, permitted by HMRC. For example, you could use the SSAS loanback facility to loan to your company, for the purpose of purchasing property of any type. You could also loan to a 3rd party residential property developer; you could invest in hands-off property investments; or many other strategies for investing our SSAS in property.  You can read HMRC rules around “taxable property” directly on their website by clicking here

Can I make a business loan from my pension to my limited company?

One of the unique benefits of a SSAS pension is the ability to make a business loan from your pension to your limited company, this is often referred to as a “SSAS Loanback”. There are several HMRC rules in place regarding this type of loan but if you are running a genuine trading limited company these can usually be met. The loan from your SSAS pension to your limited company can be used for any genuine business purpose therefore if your property happens to be a property development company for example that purchases residential property then in theory a SSAS loanback could be used for the acquisition of new assets within your limited company.

How does a loanback work in practice?

A good way to understand how this works would be to look at a case study as an example of how this can be used in practice. This case study is a real case study from one of TLPI clients called Andy. He had existing pensions from old employers with a total value of £600,000 with our help he established a Small Self-Administered Scheme pension which opened the door for a loan of up to 50% of the value of his fund (£300,000). Andy Identified a run down property in Cornwall that he wanted to purchase within his trading property business with the intention of redeveloping the property and selling.

The property was for sale for £200,000 but due to the speed at which Andy was able to complete on the purchase he was able to negotiate the price down to £150,000. Using the SSAS loanback he drew down a loan of approximately £190,000 and simultaneously gave the pension scheme a first legal charge over the property he was purchasing. This loan covered the purchase price and the majority of the costs involved in purchasing, developing and selling the property.

Once the work had been completed the property was sold and proceeds used to repay the SSAS loanback along with a healthy interest payment back into the pension. The profits from the development were then retained within the limited company.

Where can I learn more about SSAS loanback rules?

The above is a very straight forward example of how using a SSAS pension and a property development company it is possible to utilise pension funds for the acquisition of residential property within a limited company. You can read more about the SSAS loanback and understand the rules that must be adhered to by clicking here

What is the next step towards starting my SSAS pension?

This type of structuring of loans and investments within a SSAS pension is a very specialist area and something TLPI have a wealth of experience in. If you are considering using a Small Self-Administered Scheme pension to grow your business and have questions over how this could work you can book a FREE initial consultation with one of our SSAS advisors by clicking here or call us on 01235 426666

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