Friday, May 29 2015
Reserve Bank deliberations suggest another interest rate cut may be coming in the months ahead.
The last minutes indicate the board had already decided ahead of this month’s meeting that it had to cut rates – the only question was whether to do so in May or June. Board members also discussed several other factors that suggest another rate cut might be coming, including a sluggish local economy.
Compared to earlier forecasts, growth and unemployment statistics are now likely to take longer to improve, according to the minutes.
At the same time, inflation is also expected to be slightly lower than previously forecast, giving the board scope to cut rates.
One argument against a third rate cut in 2015 would be the fear that this might foster imbalances in the housing market.
However, while board members expressed concern about “very strong” price growth in Sydney and “strong” growth in Melbourne, they saw “much more muted” trends in other capital cities.
They also noted the most recent data, which showed that there had been no increase in housing credit in recent months, either for investment or owner-occupancy purposes.
Friday, May 29 2015
Every investor likes the idea of being able to regularly increase rent but the reality is rental grwoth like price growth does not move up in a straight line. There may be periods where you can incraese rent regularly, periods where you need to keep rent the same and even times where you need to take a hair cut.
To be honest I find many investors often can't see the wood for the trees. They get very focused on the dollar value of the rent without looking at the bigger picture.
There are a range of factors that should be considered at each rent review.
The inflation rate and cost of living
Vacancies can quickly offset rental increases
The same rule applies in a tougher market. Sometimes you might have to drop the rent to meet the market. Again using our example is you dropped the rent by $20 a week then you would be given up $1,040 per annum but the drop in your cashflow will be stretched over the next 12 months.
If instead you dug your heals in for $500 and the propery was vacant for 3 weeks you have already lost $1,500 in cash straight up. And if you do finally get a tenant at $500 it is going to take you 75 weeks to recover that loss.
As I keep saying to clients just get a tenant in and get it rented, there will opportunity down the track to increase rents when the cycle turns.
Research the competition
What is the current vacancy rate for the area. If it is low you will probably have scope for an increase. If it is high you might just have to take what you can get.
The time your property is avilable for rent may also be at the wrong time of year. Each market will generall have peaks and troughs throughout a year in terms of number of people looking to rent.
The rent you are proposing needs to be in line with the competition. In some cases you may have added extras that tenants will value and can justify a slightly higher rent, for example an air-conditioning unit, a sunny aspect and great view, or an upgraded kitchen or bathroom.
Its' important to take on board your managers advice. Remember the higher your rent the more thay earn as well so they are going to be looking for increases where possible but you are not going to get $50 more than everything else in the street jsut because that's what you want.
Friday, May 29 2015
Moodys Analytics has found Queensland property is undervalued vy 4.3% based on rents, incomes and mortgage rates. It also believes the recent rate cut will contribute a 0.3% increase in values.
Victoria, ACT and NSW are over-valued by 8%, 6.2% and 2.9% respectively.
Friday, May 29 2015
I am often surprised hwo many property investors do not take out landlords insurance on their properties.
A good policy will not just protect you against lost of rent or malicious damage, it will also cover things like tribunal costs, accidental damage, tax audit costs or public liability coverage.
A common misconception about public liability coverage is that an apartment in a strata building is covered by the strata plan/building insurance. Unfortunately this is not usually the case and the building insurance is only there to cover common space areas when it comes to public liability. This means any incident within your investment property would not be covered.
It's important to review your policy to see what is and isn't covered rather than assume.
The cost of insurance is also tax deductible so after tax it can be a very minimal cost.
Friday, May 29 2015
With the end of the financial year fast approaching it's important not only to ensure you don't overstate your deductions but equally ensure you are not missing out on legitimate claims. Here's some common mistakes.
Not using an accountant who understands property
Using the right accountant is extremely valuable. Using an accountant that full understand property investment is critical to ensure your complete structure is tax-efficient and you ae optimising your legitimate deductions.
The reality is, you should actually be talking to your accountant before you invest in the first place, as the incorrect approach and structure can translate into the loss of thousands of dollars that you would have been able to access.
Seeking advice after you have already purchased a property is really a bit late in the game. A good accountant will be able to identify all the things you did wrong but you are not really going to be able to fix it. At least not without significant expense.
Paying down tax-deductible debt before non-deductible debt
No depreciation schedule
Trying to claim expenses you can’t
Keeping the right records
By keeping all of these documents handy, it will be a lot easier to make accurate calculations and enlist the help of a tax professional.
Friday, May 29 2015
The risks I have discussed previoulsy with regard to off the plan purchases for units have fully emerged this week.
APRA has applied pressure to banks to restrict the growth in investing lending. As a result banks have tightened their policies and increased the pricing on investment lending.
So if you have signed a contract to purchase off the plan what are the risks?
Firstly off the plan purchases involve unconditional contracts. Unconditional means once you sign the contract you have no outs.
If you can't obtain finance and can not settle on the property you will forfeit your deposit. The vedor could also take legal action against you to enforce the contract and compel you to settle which could be financially devastating.
Secondly the loan you thought the bank was going to give you to fund the purchase may longer be available. In many cases your bank will now provide a lower loan amount and the interest rate on that loan will be higher.
This means to settle on the property you will need to provide additional cash or equity and your cost of funds will be higher. If the bank valuation on the property comes in lower than the contract (which is likely for many inner city units) this will be a double whammy as you will need to provide further cash or equity.
Who is at risk? Any purchaser who does not have a written unconditional finance approval from their bank specifying the full details of their loan. Conditional, indicative, or verbal approvals are worthless and offer no protection.
NOTE It is only possible to have an unconditional approval form your bank if you have submitted a full loan application with all supporting documentation verifying your income, expenses, assets and liabilities.
What can you do? You need to get professional advice asap to assess your situation and get an understanding of your options.
Contact us to arrange a review
Thursday, May 21 2015
Significant oversupply risks continue to build in the Brisbane inner city unit market.
The Inner Brisbane Apartment (IBA) market has experienced a surge in demand for off–the–plan apartments since 2013/14, according to research by economic forecaster BIS Shrapnel.
In the latest edition of its Inner Brisbane Apartments Market Brief, BIS Shrapnel predicts that the surge will result in record new apartment supply in 2014/15, with completions set to escalate further in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
In particular, development in Inner Brisbane has been dominated by large scale and high rise development in the CBD/Spring Hill, Inner East, Inner North, West End, Toowong, Woolloongabba and Hamilton.
Inner Brisbane Apartment Area completions are on track to surpass their record level in 2014/15, increasing to 3,610 apartments in 2015/16 and peaking at 4,040 apartments in 2016/17 the report said.
Based on an average occupancy of 2.5 persons that transalates to 9,025 additaional rooms in 2015/15 and 10,100 additional rooms in 2016/17. Given that Brisbane's inner city population growth has historically averaged around 5,000 per annum that is a potential oversupply of 9,125 rooms over the next two years. In other words almost 2 years of over supply assuming no further units are built.
If this plays out then our expectations would see a significant spike in vacancy levels and reductions in rent for both new and existing stock in followed by a fall in prices.
Our concern is many of these developments are being marketed to overseas and interstate buyers who do not have a full understanding of the market.
Tuesday, May 19 2015
Below are some extracts I read from an article today and thought the following pretty well sumed up the state of play at the moment and potential impact of changes occuring in the lender space. I will posting more about lender changes in the comings weeks.
(Source: Property Observer)
I may stand-alone here, but Sydney’s done – there I said it!
Normally, locations go flat when they become unaffordable or major infrastructure projects are abandoned but this time it may be at the hands of the banks, the governing bodies and the ATO.
Now making a statement like this is bold. Firstly, you need fundamental facts to back it up and these are the things I research – knowing where and when to invest, along with when to stop investing in an area. And lastly, we need an alternative place to invest. So, here we go:
The first sign for me that Sydney was on the cusp of a change was on April 23rd. A fundamental bank policy change that two major banks announced was the reason. This change stated that effective April 24th at 5pm, all Non-Resident lending Loan to Value Ratios (LVR) would be reduced from 80% of purchase price to 70%. Meaning borrowers must have another 10% cash to put towards the purchase.
One of those banks was the biggest lender to Chinese borrowers. The myth that the Chinese are all paying cash for houses is simply not true. The best Business Development Manager (BDM) that this bank employs has seen an immediate drop of 25% in mortgage volume since this change. Now that’s one BDM, for one bank, in one district of Sydney.
There is no question the overseas buyers are pushing our prices up but it’s not just the Chinese. They accounted for $27.7 billion in property transactions last year but the USA purchased $17 billion, Canada $15 billion and Malaysia $7.2 billion. The falling Aussie dollar has made our property much more attractive to them along with a buoyant property market.
But like usual, when there is money, there are Sharks looking for loopholes. So bringing sunshine to my eyes, are the ATO. Yeah, you won’t hear me say that too often. They are currently investigating 150 cases of unlawful purchases from overseas buyers. The loophole is done through trusts and companies. There appears to be a loophole in the FIRB’s (Foreign Investment Review Board) approval process for developers too. The great thing is that the ATO are a big enough player to bring this behavior to a halt and prosecute those offenders. Watch this space!
With the rate drop in May, one would think this would fuel more buyers to pay more. The funny part is that even though interest rates dropped, as a borrower your borrowing capacity hasn’t increased. wHy?
Banks are servicing your loan application at the 7% mark. This is a protection mechanism to safeguard you when interest rates rise in the future. This 7% mark hasn’t shifted in the last 3-5 interest rate drops. So no matter how much the rates still go down, your ability to service more debt will not increase unless your income does.
Banks must now also hold more funds in managed accounts per mortgage they approve. Meaning for every $300k mortgage the bank must hold $600k in managed funds. This has doubled in recent years. Hence we’ve seen Managed Funds increase to 3.05% in May when interest rates decreased. This was done to attract more consumers to invest their money. Consequently, this reduced the banks profits by another 0.25%. So it comes as no surprise that in mid May the interest rate war between the banks ended. One major bank no longer discounts interest rates for investment loans. The others will follow.
The governing body for mortgages, APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), have also told the banks that if their investment portion of their portfolio has increased by over 10% this year, then they must hold another $500 million in managed funds. Meaning banks will now be reluctant to pass this level and reduce interest rate discounts on investment loans.
The Median house price in Sydney has topped $900k. Insane, I know. Now according to the ABS, the Median income is $80,048 per annum. So a couple with two children, who each earn $80k, have a maximum borrowing capacity of between $800k – $1 mill. They have reached their cap.
So to summerise:
Now given that investment loans now account for 50% of all mortgages written, the above corrections will see a drastic decrease in investor activity. This decrease will significantly impact consumer confidence across the board. And the end of the Sydney property cycle will be here.
Think about it… You have been inspecting houses for the past 2 months and you’re used to a high volume of purchasers inspecting and turning up to auctions. Then, the next week the volume is halved. Would that get you thinking? Is there something going on that I don’t know about? Your consumer confidence has just been shot.
So, after all this doom and gloom, where and what do we invest in?
The key to investing, is buying in great locations in the low part of the property cycle. Where consumer confidence is at its lowest. where is this the case?
South East QLD is an emerging market where those who get in RIGHT now will benefit. If you wait until Christmas, you have missed the boat.
Tuesday, May 12 2015
The ABS has recently released figures on migration to and from Australian cities. It shows that Sydney is losing as many as 14,900 people every year, while Melbourne and Brisbane had significant gains.
Urban Task Force CEO Chris Johnson believes Sydney’s skyrocketing living costs could be behind the mass migration.
“It seems that Sydney’s rising housing costs are leading to a steady flow of people out of the city,” he said.
“Last financial year according to the ABS, Sydney had a nett loss through internal migration of 14,900 people while Melbourne gained 4,000 people and Brisbane gained 3,500 people.”
“There is a steady stream of people leaving Sydney with most of these people going to Melbourne or Brisbane. It is important that strategic planning for population growth in NSW understands the nett flow of internal migration. The recently released data from the ABS now gives planners more accurate data on internal migration,” Mr Johnson said.
Out of the total loss from Sydney, the ABS figures also include those moving interstate (6,900) as well as those only moving away from the Sydney metropolitan area (8,000).
Saturday, May 09 2015
Sunday, May 03 2015