Have a plan
Back in the 1990s when rents were around $200 per week for the average home in Christchurch I envisaged owning 10 investment properties. My thinking was this would give me a gross income of approx $100,000 per year and with costs roughly around 50% that would leave me with a net income of approx $50,000 – not bad as a passive income I thought at the time. As critical as having a plan, is executing that plan. I still have clients thinking about committing to investment property 20 years after our first discussion!
The bank, the tenant and the tax man
These three will immediately put their hand up to help you build a property portfolio. With reasonable capital/equity and income most banks will back you to buy investment property and with current interest rates so enticingly low, it’s really a no brainer. Add to that national population growth which equates to tenants never being too far away from knocking on your door needing a roof over their heads. They too, driven by their need for accommodation will assist with your property investment plan. Then of course there is the tax man. While he plays strictly to the rule-book there are still good tax incentives for owning investment property in New Zealand. All your related expenses are tax deductible and with owning investment property is also likely your overall taxable income will reduce too. This makes it even more attractive if you are pulling a reasonable income and are on a higher tax code.
Using somebody else’s money
Property is one of the few investments I know of that you can actually make money from debt. While if you are only buying property for capital growth reasons you may be disappointed with the short term growth rate, it is interesting to note that over the years property typically doubles in value every 7-10 years in New Zealand. Getting a return on little or no cash down is about as good as it gets and it is important to remember that capital growth is based on market value not the size of your mortgage.
Good debt – bad debt
This is probably the most profound advice my accountant has ever given me and I have never forgotten it! I still find myself applying this principle in business and investment decisions. In a nutshell, good debt is money borrowed for assets that appreciate in value, while bad debt is money borrowed for assets that decrease in value. For instance a car loses value the moment it is driven out of the showroom while real estate largely increases in value. It’s not that difficult to determine which will bring long term benefit. Remember this basic investment principle and you are well on track.
A mortgage can be great savings scheme
Paying a mortgage can often be better than paying into a saving scheme. One, it is compulsory, two, it doesn’t get bigger (smaller if you also pay off principal). Thirdly, the cost of the mortgage you are paying off is offset by the return you are getting on that money. With property yielding a much better return than term deposits, it makes total sense to keep or invest in real estate in this low inflation, low interest rate era.
Not a get rich quick scheme
Property has never been a get rich quick scheme and my experience is those that are normally implode before you get the time to check out their validity or typically don’t stand the test of time. As above, with national population growth placing increasing demand on housing stock and with no more land being made, unquestionably pressure will remain on available real estate. An investor with a steady hand on the tiller and focus on the distant horizon is unlikely to go wrong with a long term focus.
Christchurch ideal for property investment
Clearly in the post-quake rebuild phase greater Christchurch now has a property surplus. On the scale of larger cities throughout the country, Christchurch has some of the most affordable real estate currently available and it is my belief it will not be sustainable for this to remain at such levels for too much longer. It is also my professional opinion that as the current heart and vibe of the city continues to build it will sell itself both nationally and internationally resulting in strong attractive growth. Investing in Christchurch sooner than later makes total sense for the astute and those poised to take action. Personally, I plan to hold my local property portfolio as I strongly believe we are on the cusp of another growth phase, besides I am struggling to find anything better to sink my funds into.
Right now I’m thinking that investment in bricks and mortar is a better option than money in the bank.
Team Griff has long term experience in the property investment market and are happy to assist you with devising a plan to build your property portfolio. Coffee is a great place to start!