A 3-month study on the historical performance of each of Australia’s 550 Local Government Authorities has been completed and the outcomes have dispelled many investor myths. Hear how you can get this free report.
Our finance expert Andrew Mirams tells us how Australia’s biggest banks have been forced to restrict their mortgage lending, in a move that could severely impact investors. APRA has ordered some banks to increase the amount of capital required for their residential mortgage exposures. Andrew looks at how that will flow through.
Michael Yardney shares some personal insight about being as happy as you wish…if you get rid of the 10 deadly habits he will outline.
Two best friends decided to get together 30 years ago and develop a business out of their passion which is property. One half of that dynamic due, Belinda Smith, discusses flipping and how that has helped them build a strong property portfolio.
Paul Nugent from Wakelin Property Advisory gives us the good oil and the properties you should avoid and tells us the best ones to invest in and why.
And we have an incredible story about 2 identical units in the same complex that sold weeks apart but for very different prices. Why would one outsell the other for almost $100,000 more?
Kevin: Some sobering news on the horizon – a warning of heightened levels of risk in the housing market. After that warning, APRA has ordered five banks to increase the amount of capital required for their residential mortgage exposures. This could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of changes that are on the horizon that are going to impact you and me as property investors.
With more information on this, Andrew Mirams from Intuitive Finance joins us. Andrew, what do you believe is ahead?
Andrew: Good day, Kevin. How are things? There are probably a lot of changes that we have already seen happen, and I think that it would be naïve to say that there are not more coming. We’re seeing quite a number of lenders already changing the way they assess borrowers and more particularly, the lending to investment has gotten quite harsh.
We had some of the before-and-after examples where we’ve seen clients going from being able to borrow up around $1 million, and that’s now come down to around $400,000. Every client is different, and there are a whole range of different serviceability measures and things that we do.
Kevin: On this point of the notice by APRA to the banks, what does that actually mean? Explain to me how that works.
Andrew: Basically, what APRA has said is they’re worried about the banks’ liquidity and if the market was to crash – as they’re all fearful of – they’re worried whether the banks have enough capital to be able to fund and absorb any losses. Right at the moment, the Big Five banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac, and Macquarie Bank they’ve put in there because they are quite strong in the investment lending – all hold around about 16% of liquidity or capital that is set aside…
Kevin: As a buffer.
Andrew: Yes, to be able to withstand or withhold any adjustments in the markets and things like that.
From July 1st next year, they’re going to be asked to have 25%. What does that mean? That doesn’t sound like a lot – 9% – but if you put it into some big numbers like what the banks do, that means they’re going to have to put aside billions of dollars in capital that they can no longer use. What that will mean for you and me potentially is that it might cost us all more to get access to what they can lend out.
Kevin: Less funds and probably more requirement for a bit more “hurt money” from people who want to buy property.
Andrew: Yes, absolutely. Again, we’re seeing changes coming through with banks and what LVRs they are willing to do for investors. We’re seeing quite a number now restricting the investment loans back to 80%. Mortgage insurance going up to 90% and 95% is no longer available.
I think it would be naïve to think that it’s not only a matter of time until most of the lenders follow suit, because they’ve all been asked to restrict or slow down on their investment lending. While we’re seeing some come through quite quickly, I think most of the other lenders are probably sitting back as well, going, “What does this mean for us? How do we implement it?”
Some of them have system constraints. It’s not as easy as flicking a switch so they’ll be working on things. I know that for a fact because I’m in regular contact with a lot of the major lenders and senior management.
Kevin: With these changes, does it look like they’re going to tighten up on lending in self-managed superannuation funds, as well, Andrew?
Andrew: Yes, it is, Kevin, and it’s happening already. We’ve had a couple of lenders pull out of self-managed super fund lending altogether, the National Australia Bank probably being the largest one of those. We just recently had Sir George – who has been quite a big player in the self-managed super fund space, as well – reducing its LVRs for super funds from 80% if you have a company in trust back to 70%.
The other thing to note with that is it’s almost like reducing it back to 60% because now they’re also asking that the super fund has at least a 10% liquidity. If you’re buying a property for $500,000, you would need to contribute $150,000 plus your associated stamp duties and costs plus also make sure you have another 10% in liquidity sitting aside.
Kevin: It’s certainly getting tougher, isn’t it?
Andrew: It is. Yes, it’s like every part of the cycle. It’ll get tougher and the measures will be implemented to slow things down, and then what we’ll see is in time, it will rebalance itself. Home-occupiers and buyers will get out there and hopefully take advantage of the low rates and upgrade and things like that, and it will turn around again.
Kevin: There is a positive in all of this, too. That is that I think anything that strengthens the banking industry and keeps it nice and stable as opposed to what it had in America, I think is a good thing.
Andrew: No doubt. Our banks were very strong through the GFC and the measures that our banks and probably the regulators have had and been able to manage our process and everything like that, all the way through was very strong. There is no doubt that the intentions are right.
The other thing is it takes a little bit of heat out of the markets, where we’ve said that Sydney and Melbourne have been very strong of late. It probably is going to avoid a crash where we’re going to get that boom/bust cycle. If we just take a bit more measure to the markets, then hopefully it should be a good thing for all of us in the long term.
Kevin: Always good talking to you, Andrew Mirams from Intuitive Finance. Thanks for your time.
Andrew: Pleasure, Kevin. Thanks.
Kevin: Two best friends – who incidentally share the same first name – decided to get together 30 years ago and develop a business out of their passion, which is property. Belinda Westblade and Belinda Smith are the real deal when it comes to renovating and/or flipping property, and along with their husbands, they have built a very strong property portfolio.
One-half of that dynamic duo, Belinda Smith from oohm.com.au, joins me. How do you pronounce that, Belinda?
Belinda: It’s actually oohm, as in the mantra.
Kevin: Of course, you and the other Belinda, your mate, have developed quite a good following online, as well.
Belinda: Yes, we do. We actually had started to talk about the things that we enjoyed about property and the things that we knew, and sharing tips and hints. We found ourselves with a really big following on Facebook almost immediately right from the start, so I knew that there was interest in the topic. We just kept going our that online chatter.
Kevin: I think what both of you have done is a tremendous inspiration for women everywhere. Do you see that women are actually seeing what you’re doing as a bit of a career path?
Belinda: Absolutely. Belinda and I are a testimony to this. It’s something that we really tackled while we had children, while our children were very young. Our children are now in their early twenties.
Renovations are a beast when you’re very, very busy but you have lots of time off in-between. The whole process of going to visit properties to purchase, to look at or doing the research and statistics, is very achievable when you have kids.
Kevin: I think, too, you have to learn it there, because I know personally, Carolyn and I have made many mistakes with property. While we always say it’s very unforgiving, it can also be quite devastating if you make the wrong turns, particularly with renovation.
Belinda: Absolutely. My husband and I, in particular, we put a lot of thought and we’re probably overly cautious in comparison to other investors who I’ve watched over the years. We do put an absolute lot of research into every property that we buy, and if it doesn’t fit into our portfolio, if we don’t know that there is going to be profit at the end through previous sales in the street and from conducting our proper research, we actually don’t bother and leave that one alone.
I think the commonality with Belinda and me is that both of our families have never been on big incomes and yet we’ve been able to turn renovating into a source of growing equity and income and lifestyle.
Kevin: You’re very inspirational. Do you think that women see the business of property differently from men? I ask you that question because I know both of your husbands are involved, as well. Is there some dynamic there?
Belinda: Just naturally, I think women look at property from an emotional sense. We gather information – or I do and Belinda does, too – and we walk through companies together and we look at the same sorts of things.
Is this livable for somebody? Where the sun comes from. Is this going to be a pleasant home for our tenants? Is there great potential to flip this property fast? Can we keep it within its own style and genre, which means that we don’t have to do so many façade changes, which means that we can keep our costs down but we can also get the property looking fabulous so it will sell at the highest price?
We look at that sort of thing, whereas my husband and Rod, Belinda’s husband, will walk through and they will look more at do the fences need fixing? They look more at the repairs, probably because we’ve spent so much time with them working, they actually look at the hours they’re likely to spend on a place.
Kevin: Not wanting to oversimplify, but I’ve always looked at the situation. I think women look at property emotionally whereas men look at it quite statistically. I sometimes wonder if therefore there is more opportunity for women to make mistakes with property where you do have to take the emotion out.
Belinda: Absolutely. We take the emotion out because this has become a business for us, but we try and play on the emotion of women when we’re selling our properties, because I know – and you just mentioned it then – it’s really quite obvious that women will become very, very tied up in wanting something.
When the woman wants something and she wants it really bad and she won’t look at another property, you know that you have a buyer. If you can get a couple of people like that interested, that’s when your prices really are pushed. When we renovate, we renovate to appeal to a woman’s sense of wanting that to be her own home.
Kevin: Has that made those properties more saleable? I do believe that women will actually make the home-buying decision, so by getting in touch with that emotion, does that help you flip properties quicker?
Belinda: Absolutely. We’ll do little things like when you walk up to the front veranda of a property, we will make sure that there is a lovely chair and a cushion there. We’ll make the appeal from the very first part of that house that you see. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to do it. It’s really simple little techniques that appeal to buyers that tweak those emotions and the must-have desire that give you a quick sale and give you a good price.
Kevin: Belinda, I want to have you back in a couple of weeks’ time, if I could, because there are a couple of other questions I wanted to ask you. I want to talk about flipping and renovating to hold and how do you make those decisions? I wonder if you’d come back in a couple of weeks, rejoin us, and we’ll cover those topics, as well.
Belinda: Yes, I’d love to. I’ll come back anytime you like, Kevin. Happy to share.
Kevin: It occurred to me when I was attending Michael Yardney’s five-day wealth retreat recently that there’s a lot more to being successful in life than just earning a lot of money and owning a lot of property. It really comes down to how happy and how healthy you are.
That’s what I want to talk to Michael about today. It’s a little bit different, Michael, but I thought we might introduce this. I know you’ve written about the 10 things you must do – or stop doing – if you want to be happy. I thought we might quickly run through those?
Michael: Good point, Kevin. There are things you must do, but there are definitely things you also should not do. I’ve learned these from the successful people I’ve mentored over the years.
If we go though some of the things you shouldn’t do if you want to be happy, I think one of the first ones is holding onto the past. Whether they’re good memories or bad memories, spending your life in another time or another place isn’t going to propel you forward. The past doesn’t determine your future, Kevin.
Kevin: It certainly doesn’t.
Michael: Number two is negative self-talk. You know that little voice in your brain: “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not ready yet,” “I don’t know enough.” You actually have to cut out the negative self-talk and think positively.
Kevin: It’s so easy to do, too.
Michael: The third thing you should not do if you want to become successful is procrastinate.
Sometimes, it looks like you have to get a little more information or learn is little bit more. There are always excuses why not to do it, but successful people take action; unsuccessful people procrastinate.
Kevin: Interesting on that point too, Michael, every time I procrastinate over something and then do it, I think, “Why did I procrastinate over that? It was so easy to get through.”
Michael: Of course, you’re right, aren’t you, Kevin?
Kevin: Indeed. What was the next one?
Michael: I think another point you should let go of is blaming. There’s not such thing as a rich victim. People tend to blame their education, their parents, the economic climate at the moment, or the banks. You have to become the pilot of your life, not the passenger. Successful people don’t blame others.
Kevin: You think it’s about taking responsibility, Michael?
Michael: Good point. You have to be the pilot of your life, not the passenger. You take responsibility.
Another thing you’ve got to get rid of is living for your paycheck, working from wage packet to wage packet. What you have to start doing is understand that your job is important to help you pay the bills, but you also have to start building assets to start thinking like a businessperson. Even if you don’t run a business, run your own property investment business.
I think another thing you should do is give up the issue about taking on a challenge. Never accepting challenges is like never wanting to change. You have to realize that for you to get to the next level in your personal life, your financial life, or anything, you going to have to do things differently, otherwise you would already be there.
Don’t be scared of taking on challenges, and don’t be scared of it occasionally not working as well. That’s the way life is.
Kevin: Just on that point, I think what actually makes the character of the person is whether or not you’re willing to face those challenges. I think sometimes challenges are put in front of us to actually help us grow. It’s how you meet them, Michael.
Michael: Very much so. They wouldn’t be put there in front of you if you couldn’t overcome them.
Kevin: We all have that ability; it’s whether or not we really want to.
Michael: That’s right. Sometimes it’s easier to stay where you are.
Another thing you need to stop doing if you want to be successful, if you want to feel successful, is stop comparing yourself to others. It doesn’t matter what other people have done or haven’t done, because when you actually get below the surface, you’ll find everyone has their challenges and problems, and they’re possibly not as happy or successful as they seem to be. What you really have to do is just live your life for yourself and your loved ones, and don’t compare yourself to others, or anyone’s estimate of you. It doesn’t matter.
The other thing you have to give up is being ungrateful. In reverse, what you really have to do is be grateful. We live in the best country in the world, in the best time in history, with the most opportunities.
Be grateful for what you have. In fact, one of the things I do every morning before I get out of bed is thank myself or the world. I don’t necessarily believe in God and I’m not necessarily spiritual, but I’m actually grateful, and in my mind, I think through four things that I’m grateful for today, to give me a good day.
Kevin: What about treating yourself, Michael?
Michael: You have to be nice to yourself, as well. You have to appreciate that you deserve wealth, you deserve happiness, and you deserve what you have in life. That’s a good point, Kevin. Stop not being nice to yourself – because we’re talking about the negatives. The reverse is to be nice to yourself; you deserve it!
Kevin: One of the points you made there was about comparing yourself to others. I think sometimes we do that because we’re trying to be someone that we’re really not.
Michael: Yes. Your parents possibly told you that you should have gone to college, you should have gone to university, you should have been a dentist, or whatever. No. Don’t live anybody else’s life. Be yourself, Kevin.
There are some interesting lessons that I believe we should be thinking about – things to stop doing so that you can start being successful.
Kevin: Just before I let you go, I have a question that was sent into us by Andy. Thank you for your question. You mentioned in one of your books about giving a gift to your property manager, and if the gift is less than $300, it doesn’t require a receipt.
Do you want to add a little bit more to that, Michael?
Michael: The simple answer is that the cost of doing business involves expenses. One of the expenses can genuinely be giving gifts to staff or consultants. It could be your accountant at the end of the year, and why not your property manager who looks after it?
You can give regular gifts to staff members, and that $300 has more to do with staff members. If it’s a one off gift to your property manager, as long as it’s a reasonable amount, the tax department isn’t going to question it.
When I talked about receipts, that was really with regard to your regular staff, but if you’re doing a one-off thing to your property manager, why not keep the receipt just in case the taxman checks?
Kevin: Indeed. Always good talking to you. Michael Yardney from Metropole Property Strategists and, of course, Michael’s blog “Property Updates.” Check that out, as well.
Michael, thanks for your time.
Michael: My pleasure, Kevin.
Kevin: How does it happen? I’ve seen it happen recently in Melbourne with two identical properties in the same block, and one sold for about $80,000 to $100,000 more than the other one, only a matter of weeks apart.
To tell us the story, Geoff Hall joins us from Metropole Properties in Melbourne.
Geoff, what was the story?
Geoff: It was an interesting one. As you said, there were two identical properties in a row of six apartments in a lovely street in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. One of them had a tenant in place, and the agent was selling it with the tenancy in place. Of course, the presentation was less than ideal –a lot of mess around – and the auction campaign for that particular property didn’t go as well as I’m sure the agent was hoping. That particular property ended up selling at auction. In fact, it passed in and sold just after auction.
Exactly the same property two doors up – within the same block but two apart – sold six weeks later with a different agent. What that agent had decided to do was furnish the property, so they staged it. They’ve put a coat of paint over the property and thrown some tanbark in the courtyard out the back.
The properties were exactly the same, the floorplans were the same, and were in the same location, obviously. The difference in the sale price was close to $80,000, about a 20 percent difference in the sale price for exactly the same property. It all came down to presentation.
Kevin: All down to presentation. Was the second one staged?
Geoff: The second one was staged, yes. It had the hire furniture, and when you walked in, it had a much superior feel to the first one that had the tenant in it.
Kevin: Can you give me an idea on how much that staging cost? No, let me ask you this: how much would it have cost to improve the first property that undersold?
Geoff: The agent told me that they’d spent around $6000 in total. That was with painting, some minor tarting up of the courtyard, and the staging of the hire furniture. So about $6,000 has contributed to an $80,000 increase in price.
Kevin: That’s quite staggering, isn’t it? That’s a huge lesson. Now, also, one had a tenant in and one didn’t have a tenant, obviously. Is that some more advice to investors as well?
Geoff: I think there are two lessons there. There’s one for investors: if you’re looking to buy, look beyond the presentation. As buyer’s agents, we often like buying properties that have tenants in place because of that very reason. A lot of owner-occupiers will get put off by the way the property is presented with tenants involved. So if you’re buying, you have to look beyond that.
And there’s a lesson there for vendors, people selling: presentation is key. It can make a huge difference, and sometimes it’s a lot better to wait until a tenant is out, do some minor work, and then sell the property. You’ll get a much better result.
Kevin: There are some great lessons there. Thanks for sharing them with us, Geoff. I appreciate your time.
Geoff: My pleasure, Kevin.
Kevin: Geoff Hall from Metropole Properties in Melbourne. Thanks, mate. I’ll talk to you again soon.
Geoff: Cheers. Bye now.
Kevin: As a property investor, you’ll get a lot of advice about properties you should be looking at and, more particularly, properties that you shouldn’t be looking at. That’s the question I’m going to pose now to Paul Nugent from Wakelin Property Advisory.
Paul, that’s probably a question you’re asked quite often. What properties should I be looking at right now?
Paul: Every day of the week, Kevin. It’s a perennial question, and it’s very much the starting point for any investor who wants to make a move into the marketplace.
Kevin: Well, the market does change from time to time, so what are you looking at now? What are you suggesting for your clients?
Paul: Look, there are perennial qualities to particular types of properties that mean they should always be included in an astute investor’s portfolio. Let me make it clear from the outset, to get property investment right, Kevin, it’s all about selection of the asset. It doesn’t matter how well you finance the deal, or what the return is, or what the projected growth is, if you haven’t selected the right asset to begin with, it’s all for naught.
Kevin: Yes, okay. What sort of properties are you recommending?
Paul: The sort that we’ve been recommending for 20 years that have perennial appeal fall into two main categories.
The first is single fronted, generally single level, period homes – which could be anything from Victorian through to about the 1930s – that are in good condition – so they’re not “Renovator’s Delights” – and nothing that’s been overly embellished or renovated with expensive fittings. That might suit a homebuyer, but not for investment purposes. Something with a logical floorplan where the adjoining uses are right. By that, I mean a property that’s located in a consistent streetscape, with little or no commercial use and, for a house, that doesn’t have flats behind it or beside it overlooking it.
The other type of property that we’ve always recommended – and it seems to work particularly well, especially for first time investors – is apartments. Now, you have to be very careful in the apartment market because there’s such enormous choice, whether we’re talking studios through to penthouses and villa units or townhouses – you name it, there’s an enormous array to chose from.
However, any investor is going to be well served by focusing principally on apartments that were built between the 1930s and 1970s, in smallish blocks – preferably less than 20 apartments – with dedicated car parking for the apartment that you’re looking at, on a good street, with a good floorplan and, preferably, with only one or two bedrooms. Avoid studio apartments and three-bedroom apartments. Make sure it’s just a good, well-located, one- or two-bedroom apartment with the right outlook – the right position in the block.
Kevin: It occurs to me that what you’re talking about there, Paul, is the stock that you’re looking for is obviously something that’s not going to be made any more, so therefore it holds its value for that reason?
Paul: That’s exactly right, Kevin. It’s property that tends to be very finite, and if it’s in the right location, it tends to be in perpetual demand, and very, very limited supply.
Kevin: There’s a lot of talk right now about over-supply, particularly of high-rise units in Melbourne and Sydney – though probably not so much Sydney at this point. Is that something that you are avoiding?
Paul: It’s something that we’ve always avoided, Kevin, and there’s a very good reason for that. If you look beyond the fact that it’s an infinite sector of the market where properties can be replicated and reproduced, and more and more are built, and it’s very hard to differentiate between individual apartments, the basic problem with those sorts of high-rise units is that unfortunately there seems to be a very low notional component of land value attributable to each apartment.
If you look at the types of properties I’ve outlined that we would recommend, you could actually close your eyes and understand that well-established apartments and good period houses tend to be on very high components of land value, and that’s what drives the value of the asset into the future.
When you’re looking at multi-unit high-rises, these enormous creations that have crept out of the ground, it’s only a very small portion of the purchase price that you could attribute to the underlying land value, so it doesn’t have the right driver for future capital growth.
Kevin: It makes a lot of sense, Paul. I want to thank you for your time. Paul Nugent from Wakelin Property Advisory. Thank you, Paul.
Paul: An absolute pleasure. Thanks, Kevin.
Kevin: A three-month study of the historical performance of each of Australia’s 550 local government authorities has been compiled by Propertyology. Given that some locations have strong capital growth and others have better rental yields, Propertyology calculated a total return and then ranked each LGA from 1 to 550.
The findings of the study produced some fascinating outcomes, and according to Propertyology’s managing director, Simon Pressley, it has dispelled many investor myths. So far, they have released reports on Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
Joining me now to discuss the findings is Propertyology’s Simon Pressley. Simon, thank you very much for your time.
Simon: Thanks for having me, Kevin.
Kevin: I mentioned in the introduction that the outcomes of these reports dispelled many investor myths. What were those?
Simon: Property investing is full of myths, one of which is that population growth rate is the biggest driver property prices, and that was dispelled by this report. There are locations such as Narrabri and Ararat where actually the population has declined – albeit only a little bit – over a ten-year period, and they have been among the best performers in all of Australia.
Another common myth is that capital cities are better than regional locations. While you can certainly have some poor performing regional locations, the best performing locations have been more regional than capital cities.
Kevin: Were any of those regional areas on the back of mining?
Simon: Mining was a common flavor, Kevin, but let’s bear in mind, our study took in a 15-year period, so that’s a long period of time. But right through Australia, the better performing locations, if you narrow it down to a common industry driver, mining and also agriculture were probably the two biggest industries.
Kevin: I guess when people hear of mining, they instantly think of places like Murrumba where there were spectacular increases that were not able to be sustained.
Simon: That’s true but the best three performing out of 550, number one was Newman, number two was Port Hedland – both Western Australia regional locations – and number three was Isaac, which covers Moranbah and Dysart. Those three locations have had some spectacular years in the last 15 years and they’ve had some very poor years, but even factoring in those poor years, they outperformed everything else.
Kevin: I guess it’s great tool if you’re looking to look at property investing over the long term, Simon.
Simon: Absolutely, yes. For industries like that, timing is very important. I think the big losses are those who board at the top of the market without really understanding what they’re doing.
Kevin: Yes. There is so much detail on the reports, and I thank you for sharing them with me. By the way, too, they are reports that are available on the website. I’ll tell you before we finish this conversation how you can get to them.
Simon, there is a lot of detail in those reports. There is far too much for us to cover in the time we have available. What were the standout points for you?
Simon: Standout points? We were surprised with some of the findings ourselves. As I said, locations like Ararat and Narrabri, they don’t have the big profile of capital cities or even some of the big regional cities, but yet they really have had spectacular performance. They just chug along and don’t get any media attention.
There are places like Wyndham, which is outer Melbourne, that has had the highest population growth rate out of any local government authority in Australia. It has performed okay as a property market but has been far from one of the better ones. I think it’s the thing with population growth. Yes, it drives demand for accommodation; however, if supply keeps up with that demand – or in some cases, exceeds it – the overall growth is not going to be as good as what some people may think.
The best performing capital cities? Darwin was ranked number one in the last 15 years followed closely by Perth – and there again, mostly resources influence there. Sydney, in spite of its current boom over the last two and a half to three years, is still officially been the worst performing capital city over that 15-year period.
Kevin: That’s amazing, isn’t it? Sydney, of course, has those huge peaks and troughs, and that has a major influence over a long period like 15 years.
Simon: Yes, that’s right. The number one thing, we think, why Sydney hasn’t done as well as what people think – although it has the biggest population masses of any city in Australia – is the affordability side of things. Affordability is the number one driver of demand for pretty much all commodities, including property.
It’s only had its boom over the last two or three years, Kevin, because we have historically low interest rates. The low interest rate just compensated for the affordability. But it has the potential to go a complete circle if we have several interest rate rises in years to come.
Kevin: I promised that I’d tell you how you can get a hold of these reports. You can do that by going to the website, Propertyology.com.au. My guest has been Simon Pressley.
Simon, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.
Simon: Thanks for having me, Kevin.