You can always find reasons why you shouldn’t invest in property. Property investment can seem like a big step and it’s easy to be fearful. You’ll also hear lots of stories either from others or in the media, which may put you off.
Many people fear a property bubble, but what's myth and what's fact?
So let’s break down some of the common myths floating about that can scare potential investors.
67% of investors using negative gearing have incomes of $80,000 or less.
1. You need a big deposit
Not true. Property investment is no longer exclusively the domain of the wealthy. Smart investors who buy wisely, in high yielding areas with good capital growth, can have positively geared properties that cost them very little out of pocket. The Australian Tax Office figures found that 67 per cent of investors using negative gearing have incomes of $80,000 or less. This is not to say that all these investors are successful, but they have certainly been able to break into the market.
Now, let’s look at the claim you need a giant deposit. Again, this isn’t correct. You can still get into the property market without a deposit by either leveraging off an existing home or getting a guarantor loan through relatives. Using super via an SMSF is another option.
First time buyers find it difficult to break into the Sydney or Melbourne markets.
Many property investors don’t own their own homes and so they rent in the suburb they want to live while having a portfolio somewhere else.
2. The market is skewed against first home buyers
There’s been a spate of media stories about how first time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to break into the big property markets of Sydney and Melbourne. Property investors are blamed for this. However the reality is that there’s a myriad of factors. Basically Sydney and Melbourne are highly desirable places to live. Consequently population has skyrocketed; more global companies have shifted here and both cities are now firmly on the radar of international investors. The good news is that the demand to live in both cities is very unlikely to go down.
The other good news is that first home buyers are now becoming first time investors or “rentvestors”. The line between ‘first time buyers’ and ‘investors’ is very much blurred. The reality is many property investors don’t own their own homes and so they rent in the suburb they want to live while having a portfolio somewhere else. This is the new reality for the majority of people in most capital cities of Australia as prices gallop to stratospheric levels.
This is a common complaint from locals especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Surely all the Asian investors buying up so much land and units in the cities is shutting out local investors? Actually, it’s not.
The Federal Government launched the Murray Inquiry in 2014 to look at this very issue. The inquiry found that: “foreign investment is regarded by industry experts as vital to increasing this supply. Rather than causing price pressures, the evidence suggests that foreign investments may actually help keep prices lower by increasing supply.”
It’s also worth noting that foreign investors are often playing in a different pool to local investors. They are restricted from buying established homes and can only buy newly developed properties. This is why foreign investors are great for the construction industry, as they need more housing stock to be built. So foreign investors help keep up a demand for supply and the market buoyant.
Your property investment, like the DPN Seconda, needs to be in a growing area with excellent infrastructure and a demand for rentals.
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4. It’s best to buy in your local area
This is similar to the myth that says you should buy an investment home you’d like to live in yourself. The reality is you may never see or visit your investment property. The property you invest in may be thousands of miles away, in another state. Investment can’t be an emotional decision where you buy a house in an area you like that you may want to live in. The investment needs to be based on cold hard facts and data. It needs to be a property with good capital growth in a growing area with excellent infrastructure and a demand for rentals. If it turns out that you have a property you do want to live in at some point, that’s a big bonus. However, as much as we get emotionally invested in properties, that can’t be part of the strategy.
Doing a renovation is no longer a guarantee that it will add exceptional value to the property.
5. Buy, renovate and sell for a quick profit
This idea of buying a rundown property, renovating and then selling quickly afterwards is out of date. Firstly, while the market may rise in the time you’ve bought and then sold, will it really have risen enough to cover all your costs? Plus, you’ll be hit with stamp duty and other property taxes, which will take the sugar out of any profits. We’re seeing now that the land is viewed far more favourably than the house that’s built on it. So that is why rundown, derelict houses on prime inner city land are often just left as they are and sold for a high price. Doing a renovation is no longer a guarantee that it will add exceptional value to the property. Finally, you’re missing out on the long-term capital growth. Good property investors think in the long term.
In conclusion, it’s dangerous to believe popular myths about property investment. No one ever made a fortune by listening to Chinese whispers. Any decision or strategy you make should be informed and backed by data and solid research.