What a year 2015 was for our PIN property fund, which consists of 10 property related shares, comprising housebuilders, estate agents and property websites. We hope for your sake that you have been following the fund with real cash and not just a watchful eye as the overall return, including dividends paid, was a whopping 40% last year. Considering that the most successful stock investor alive, Warren Buffett, has always targeted a return of 20% per year, returns of 40% (without any gearing) are not too shabby.
No alterations need to be made to the fund for Q1 2016, as the 'worst' performing share was Bovis, which still saw its share price rise by 14.8% last year and paid a healthy 4.2% dividend on the 1/1/15 purchase price. Despite the housebuilders having an outstanding year, with the four largest (Barratt, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Berkeley) all listed in the top 10 risers on the FTSE 100 last year, the best performing share, by some way, was Rightmove, which returned an enormous 85.2% to shareholders in 2015 (shares up 83.5% plus a 1.7% dividend).
Correct call not to drop Zoopla
You may recall that at the end of Q3, Zoopla shares had just fallen by 24.9% in the previous three months but we expected a bounceback in Q4 and they did just that, rising by 14.7%. The total return for shareholders last year was 23.7% and no less is expected this year.
In April 2015, the firm bought utility price comparison site uSwitch, which is proving to be the perfect fit for the online property site as it is allowing its estate agency customers to offer the service to both new tenants and buyers. Zoopla continues to see month-
on-month growth in UK agency branch customers and is being called 'the Amazon of UK residential' now that services include property listings, utilities and tradesman.