Investing in buy-to-let has been a popular means of generating high returns in the past. For many investors, it’s enabled them to generate seven-figure wealth due to rising house prices and low interest rates.
However, an uncertain economic outlook and rising taxes mean that the future for buy-to-let investors could be somewhat challenging. As such, now may be the right time to buy FTSE 100 shares which appear to offer long-term growth potential. Here are two such companies that could increase your chances of making a million in the coming years.
Consumer goods giant Unilever (LSE: ULVR) has experienced an uncertain period of late. Its fourth quarter results were slightly disappointing, while the spread of coronavirus seems likely to negatively impact on its financial performance in the current year.
As such, its share price has fallen by around 18% over the past five months. In the near term, a further decline would be unsurprising, since investors may demand a wider margin of safety, due to the potential for further disruption from the coronavirus outbreak.
However, in the long run, Unilever seems to be well-placed to capitalise on emerging market growth due to its exposure to fast-growing economies. It’s also becoming increasingly focused on sustainability, with its brands likely to remain highly relevant and popular as consumer tastes evolve.
Therefore, while the stock trades on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 19, which is lower than it has been in the past, it could offer long-term investment potential. Its bottom line is forecast to rise by 7% in the current year and next, which suggests it has the potential to deliver a successful share price recovery in the coming years following its recent fall.
Another FTSE 100 share which faces a challenging operating environment is fashion retail giant Next (LSE: NXT). Weak consumer confidence, changing consumer tastes, new technology and an uncertain UK economic outlook have contributed to a general slowdown in the retail sector over recent years.
However, Next reported in its Christmas trading statement that its sales over the festive period were 1.1% higher than its internal forecast at 5.2%. This provides further evidence the business is able to outperform many of its retail sector peers, having a strong track record over the past couple of decades in adapting to changing consumer tastes and difficult market conditions.
Its investment in online sales could provide a growth catalyst over the long run. Although it now trades on a P/E ratio of 13.7 following its buoyant share price performance over recent months, Next seems to be well-placed to generate improving profitability over the long run. As such, now could be the right time to buy a slice of the business while investor sentiment towards the wider retail sector continues to be weak.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Unilever. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.