REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY UPDATE AUGUST 2016
Here’s what we cover in this month’s update.
- Nathan’s update: Markets are heating up, what are you doing about it?
- Accounting: The top property expenses investors fail to claim
- Property management: Welcome generation rent
- Finance: Rates are going down, down, down
- Legal: Stricter identity checks in place
- Financial planning: 4 things to consider before investing through super
NATHAN’S UPDATE: MARKETS ARE HEATING UP, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?
I am seeing lots of activity in certain markets right now. If you haven’t reviewed your properties within the last 6 months you should do it now as values may have moved.
I am still seeing lots of good double digit growth in certain Sydney markets, there’s definitely still potential for continued growth.
Not too far away in the Central Coast, markets are also hot with solid double digit growth here also.
More importantly, growth around the Gold Coast is very good with prices growing fast. Buyer interest has shot up in recent months and competition for properties is very heated. I can see the same things happening here that happened in Sydney around 2012.
If you wish you had bought more Sydney properties ahead of ahead of the boom, then don’t make the same mistake again. Now is the time to review what equity and savings might be available to you and get in before the Gold Coast/Brisbane market takes off like Sydney did.
My team at Zinger Finance can review your position and create a finance strategy to get you to your next investment property and beyond.
GET IN TOUCH WITH ZINGER TO HAVE YOUR FINANCE POSITION REVIEWED
ACCOUNTING UPDATE: TOP PROPERTY EXPENSES INVESTORS FAIL TO CLAIM
The rules around what property investment related expenses you can and can’t claim against can be a minefield to navigate. Many investors just resign themselves to claiming the vanilla items and forget to ask about the rest.
So to take some of the guesswork out of tax time this year, we have put together a quick checklist of the top things most investors don’t realize they can claim.
The most overlooked legal expenses include;
- The costs associated with evicting a non-paying tenant
- Taking court action for loss of income
- Costs associated with defending damages claims for any injuries occurring on your property.
The most overlooked property management expenses are;
- The actual property management fees
- Any expenses related to research, self-education or courses
Tax related to renovation can be confusing, here are some claimable items;
- Deductions available for architectural planning and preparation work
- Scrapping, ie claiming the loss of value from items thrown out
- Cost of disposing items
- Depreciation of partially used items
- Depreciation of new items
You can deduct the cost of borrowing money for your investment such as;
- Loan payout and break costs for fixed interest loans
- Penalty interest on loans
- Some borrowing costs
- Some financing costs for research and time hire to brokers
These are just some expenses and there are many more. If you are unsure about what you can claim this year then all you need to do is ask the team at OnePath Accounting, who always encourage investors to ask questions and make more of their returns.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT UPDATE: WELCOME GENERATION RENT
Did you know that there are around 2.3 million rental households in Australia? According to RP Data only 55% of these rentals are traditional detached houses, with 45% being units, duplexes of semi-detached homes.
Interest rates have never been lower but people are more people are renting. What is going on?
The latest data shows that households are changing. Almost 30% of renters now live alone and 22% don’t have children. A trend in single and childless households together with lifestyle focus on flexibility have created a strong underlying trend for smaller homes such as units and townhouses.
This is great news for landlords, we are already seeing signs of under supply of rental properties in certain areas of Australia as more and more people look to rent. Vacancy rates have hit an all-time low on the Gold Coast with average Vacancy rates at 2.3% compared to 5% three years ago.
Scott Johnson, manager of Blink Property says “Blink property on the Gold coast currently has 1.7% vacancy rate. I have been a manager on the coast for over a decade and I can’t remember when it was this low”.
In short, low-interest rates and hot rental demand are making it a great time to be a landlord.
FINANCE UPDATE: RATES GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOWN
Interest rates took another dive this month, dropping 25 basis points once again to a rate of 1.5%. Once again hitting a new historic low.
The RBA stated the decision was made in order to stimulate inflation to sit within the target range of 2- 3%. Until now, Australia had managed to maintain a reasonable level of inflation, being the envy of most major world economies however this may be changing.
According to Glenn Stevens from the RBA, the very subdued growth in labour costs and very low-cost pressures elsewhere in the world, low inflation is expected to remain for some time. Increased efficiency and downward price pressures in areas such as clothing and food are contributing to the low inflation figures. However, overall growth is continuing at a moderate pace despite a decline in business investment.
Areas of the economy driven by domestic demand together with exports have been expanding at pace or above trend. Labour market indicators are consistent with a modest expansion of employment in the near term.
Tim Wong from Zinger Finance says, “This signals a significant time for homeowners and property investors. We’ve seen that lending institutions have moved out of sync of the RBA decisions and some lenders have passed along only a portion of the RBA decision on rates”. Whatever their decisions are, Tim urges that it’s not a time to get excited and jump the gun to find or lock in lower rates. Rather, it is important to keep playing with the long game in mind and structure finance strategically.
LEGAL UPDATE: STRICTER IDENTITY CHECKS IN PLACE
When you bought or sold a property in the past you may have been asked for a form of photo ID such as a driver’s license, after which no further questions were asked. Unfortunately some members of society took this as an opportunity to get away with identity fraud.
New laws introduced at the start of this month mean both buyers and sellers will need to give at least two forms of Australian government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license and passport. If unable to, then additional documents such as a government photo ID card, bank statements, birth certificates and council rates notices can be used to meet the minimum identity verification requirements.
It’s important to have these documents on hand for your solicitor so your settlement process is not delayed. Ultimately, the new laws will benefit both buyers and sellers, giving greater assurance that each party is genuine.
FINANCIAL PLANNING UPDATE: 4 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE INVESTING THROUGH SUPER
Investing through super is an attractive option for many people, especially if you have your heart set on property but don’t have enough savings outside of super to get going.
Before you dive in, here are five key considerations when purchasing property in a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF)
Is it the right investment for your superannuation fund?
SMSFs are now required to have a financial strategy which has been signed off on by a financial planner. The option to invest in property needs to be an available option within the strategy. If it isn’t you need to amend your financial strategy so that it is aligned with holding property, and aligned with the Super fund’s documented investment strategy.
Does the fund have the resources to purchase the property outright?
You need to consider whether there are enough funds within the SMSF to invest in a property outright? Would this put a limit to the type or number of properties which can be purchased?
Would it be more beneficial to buy a better investment prospect by borrowing funds through super? If so, does the fund receive enough income to cover the associated interest and expenses?
Should the property be purchased in the SMSF or in another entity?
Will the owner of the SMSF own the property, be funded through a bare trust or will the SMSF own units in a trust which owns the property? It is important to weigh up the needs, risks, costs and advantages of the available options before making a decision.
Owning an asset via a trust can offer additional protection against things such as litigation, however it comes with extra set up and maintenance costs. Are these worth it?
How will the property be managed in the event of death?
Once the SMSF has purchased a property, you need to think about what will happen in the event of your death. Is there a single beneficiary such as a spouse or are there multiple beneficiaries such as adult children? Depending on the answer different treatments will need to be applied to transfer the benefits.
In the case of a single beneficiary, the property could remain in the super fund and provide a pension for the surviving spouse. In the case of multiple beneficiaries, the property would likely need to be sold and individual financial stakes paid out to the beneficiaries.
This communication has been prepared on a general advice basis only. The information has not been prepared to take into account your specific objectives, needs and financial situation. The information may not be appropriate to your individual needs and you should seek advice from your financial adviser before making any investment decisions.