The CGT Saver Report

   

Let me introduce you to our new product, the CGT Saver™ Report – A report specifically created to prevent our clients from paying too much in Capital Gains Tax.

Although you can no longer claim depreciation on second-hand Plant & Equipment Items (ovens, dishwashers, etc.), with Washington Brown’s CGT Saver™, you can claim the applicable and documented value as a capital loss if you remove or replace any of these in the future.

This report lists and values all those included items that you have purchased at settlement. It then allows you to claim a capital loss straight away if any of these items are removed.

The best bit.. This loss can offset other share &/or property gains that you might make.

This report is exclusive to Washington Brown, so ask for it by name and contact us to find out more.

If you have purchased an investment property after May 9, 2017 – request a free quote here and one of our tax depreciation specialists will review your property and let you know if a depreciation schedule is worthwhile for you.

Take advantage of our ‘Double The Fee Guarantee’!

Your Guide to Claiming Depreciation on Granny Flats

Many see granny flats as an easy property investment. For beginners, they offer the opportunity to start investing, without spending too much money. As with any investment property, you must remember to claim for the depreciation of your assets.

Tons of people like the idea of buying an investment property. Australia offers plenty of opportunities, but many struggle to get over the initial financial barrier.

You may find yourself asking how to invest in property with little money. A granny flat may be the answer. They cost less than most other types of investment property. Plus, you still get to claim for the depreciation of the property’s assets.

So, what are granny flats, and how can you claim for their depreciation? This article will help you to answer those questions.

What is a Granny Flat?

You can think of a granny flat as a secondary home on your property. They’re usually self-contained extensions that come with a lot of the features you would expect in an apartment.
The difference is that the granny flat is on your land. As a result, you have far more control over it.

Most people build their granny flats behind their properties. After all, the back yard is a perfect space to extend into. The flat itself will usually contain the following:

This makes them ideal for all sorts of tenants. The name “granny flat” should tell you that they’re perfect for elderly tenants. However, that’s not the only use for this type of investment property.

Australia is full of young people who view granny flats as an affordable way of achieving their independence. Your own children may find the idea of moving into a granny flat more appealing than staying at home.

They’re also a cheap way to enter the investment sector. On average, a granny flat costs about $120,000 to build. In return, you could enjoy a yield of up to 15% on the property.

If you have recently purchased or constructed a granny flat, make sure your claiming the deductions you’re entitled to! Request your free quote for a fully comprehensive, ATO-compliant depreciation schedule.

Do I Face Construction Restrictions?

You do, and they depend on the state you build the granny flat in. Each has its own rules with regard to size. For example, a granny flat cannot exceed 60 metres squared in New South Wales. However, you can build up to 90 Depreciation Quote Schedulemetres squared in the Australian Capital Territory.

Exceeding these limitations changes the status of the granny flat. This could have an effect on how you claim tax deductions. Australia has several states, so you need to get informed before you start building.

Claiming Depreciation on Granny Flats

There’s one key question you must ask when buying an investment property: what can I claim? Granny flats are no different. Just because you’ve built the property on your land, doesn’t mean that you can’t claim depreciation.

As a secondary dwelling, a granny flat must produce an income before you can claim depreciation. Assuming that’s the case, you can claim depreciation for capital works. These include the wear and tear the structure undergoes during its lifetime.

You can also claim for plant & equipment depreciation. In a typical granny flat, this means you can claim depreciation for the following assets:

Depreciation CalculatorYou can also claim depreciation on the areas the granny flat shares with your home. For example, you could claim for a pool or a patio, assuming the tenant uses these assets.

As you can see, that covers a lot of ground. In fact, research suggests that you could claim over $5,000 in depreciation on a granny flat for the first year of ownership. This figure increases to almost $24,000 over the first five years. That’s about one-fifth of the value of the average granny flat, in just five years.

The Final Word

As you can see, granny flats offer high yields and plenty of opportunities to claim for depreciation. That’s why they’re considered one of the best options when it comes to property investment for beginners. Manage the flat correctly, and it could generate thousands of dollars in income in a short time.

However, you need help to create a full depreciation schedule. Without the help of a Quantity Surveyor, you may end up failing to claim for the full depreciation of your assets. Contact Washington Brown today to get a quote for a granny flat depreciation schedule.

The Budget Has Changed The Game

The Federal Budget released on the 9th of May 2017 has changed the game for property investors. federal budget

The Government has changed the game in the new budget by reducing depreciation deductions for residential properties.

And it’s good news too if you ask me!

In this webinar, you’ll  learn the 9 key takeaways from these changes and how they affect you as a property investor.

Some of the budget topics we discuss include:

  1. If I have already bought a property can I still claim property depreciation?
  2. How will the changes affect my cash flow as a property investor?
  3.  How Tyron Hyde cracked the code and got around these changes – legally too!!
  4. What type of properties will still enable me to claim depreciation on the building? Can I claim on Industrial, Commercial, Holiday rentals etc?
  5. What entities are affected by these changes and what entities aren’t?
  6. What happens if I renovate a property, am I able to claim depreciation on those renovations? If I buy a property that has already been renovated, what happens?
  7. Perhaps the most interesting point to be discussed –  how will the unclaimed depreciation be treated when I sell the property and have to pay Capital Gains Tax?
  8. In light of the new laws – what types of property should I as a property investor be targeting?
  9. How is new property affected by these changes?

The property investment equation has changed and will become a lot more complicated in future years.

This is one webinar every property owner should listen to so that you have a better understanding of the financial equation before making an investment decision.

If you have an investment property and have not claimed depreciation, there has never been a better time to get a depreciation quote.

If you are unsure about how much you can save now in relation to your property investment – try our Free Depreciation Calculator

Choosing a Location: Everything You Need to Know

Choosing a Location

Our Location-Based Property Investment Strategies in Australia

You need to consider much more than the state of the property when buying an investment property in Australia. The location plays just as big of a role in your decision. After all, a property in the wrong location won’t attract any demand. With no demand, you can’t find tenants. This leads to an investment property in Australia failing to generate the income you expected.

So how do you choose the right location? There are several location-based property investment strategies in Australia that you need to keep in mind.

Mapping the Suburb

You should already have a general idea of how much you’re willing to spend on your new property. If you don’t, then organising your budget should be your first step.

However, let’s assume you already know. Now’s the time to start looking at different suburbs. What you’ll find is that the majority of suburbs have what some professionals refer to as “preferred pockets”. These are areas where the demand for properties is at its peak.

If you buy an investment property in Australia in one of these pockets, you should enjoy capital growth almost immediately. However, you can also use preferred pockets as part of a long-term strategy. As preferred pockets become more popular, so do the pockets around them. You could buy in a preferred pocket, while also investing in some of the less popular pockets around it.

As your preferred pocket grows, you’ll reap immediate rewards. However, you’ll also enjoy long-term rewards as the surrounding pockets become preferred pockets in their own right.

Read the Data

It’s not difficult to find organisations that can provide you with the sales data for the area you’re considering. You can use this information to track how much prices have grown or fallen in a location. Many reports even allow you to break this down by month or year, often up to a 10-year limit.Depreciation Calculator

So how can this help you? Firstly, it helps you to identify if the location is in an upswing or downswing. Ideally, you should avoid properties in areas that are about to swing downwards.

However, you could also take advantage of a downswing. If it looks like a location has bottomed out, you could buy a property in preparation for a rebound. The data will show you how likely this rebound is.

Check Infrastructure Trends

One of the best property investment tips for beginners is to track infrastructure trends across several locations. As a general rule, more infrastructure leads to higher house prices. After all, most people want to live in areas that offer easy access to amenities or the city.

The trick here is to look at what’s planned, rather than what’s already in place. Speak to local councils to find out what work may be planned in an area.

You’re looking for the “hot spots”. These are areas for which there are plans for infrastructural improvements that either haven’t started yet or are just beginning. Upon completion of those improvements, you should find that the demand for properties in those areas skyrockets. If you got in early, you can reap the rewards.

Avoid High Population Areas

This is one of the simplest property investment tips for beginners. The more houses there are in a location, the less demand you will experience.

It comes down to the basic concept of supply and demand. Property prices and rents fall whenever housing is in high supply. That’s because buyers and tenants have more room to negotiate because there are always going to be more options.

As a result, you should avoid areas with high populations. These tend to have a lot of supply, which means the demand is already met. Instead, look towards developing areas in desirable locations.

Check the Attractions

Depreciation Quote SchedulePeople buy or rent properties because of what the location offers as well as the property itself. This is where local attractions could shape your decision. A property that has a lot of nearby attractions will generally experience more demand than one that doesn’t.

So what is an attraction? On the basic level, you have things like creeks, beaches, and hiking trails. A lot of people like to have those things on their doorsteps, especially if they have families that they need to entertain.

However, you also need to consider the proximity of these attractions to the property. For example, let’s assume you’re buying a house near a beach. However, a freeway separates one set of properties from another. Those on the beachside of the freeway will command higher prices, often tens of thousands of dollars more than those for properties on the other side. In this example, it’s often best to invest in one of the lower-priced properties. They offer the same attractions, which means they’ll still be in demand. However, you pay less money to benefit from that demand.

 

Conclusion

You have to consider the location whenever you buy an investment property in Australia. After all, the location plays a huge role when it comes to the income you generate from the property.

Speak to professionals and find out as much information as you can. This will ensure you don’t end up buying in an undesirable location.

Claim Depreciation on Previous Owners’ Renovations

Claim Depreciation from previous owner

You Can Claim Tax Deductions in Australia for Previous Renovations

When considering tax deductions in Australia, most investors only take their own renovations into account. It does make sense. After all, why should you be eligible to claim deductions on your investment property in Australia if you didn’t pay for the work?

Perhaps surprisingly, you can claim deductions for the previous owner’s renovations. However, there are several things you need to consider. For example, how much you can claim depends on when you purchased the property. The effects of the 2017 Budget play a role here, as what you can claim differs depending on if you made your purchase before or after the budget. Let’s look at what tax deductions in Australia you can claim in both scenarios.

You Bought Before the 2017 Budget

Things are simpler if you bought the property before the 2017 Budget. If this is the case, you can make claims under both Division 43 and Division 40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act (ITAA).

Division 43 relates to any capital works that the previous owner undertook on the property. This includes any renovations, such as the building of some extensions or remodelling a bathroom or kitchen. It also covers any work done to the building’s structure. For example, you’d be able to claim for a new roof or for some of the walls that the previous owner built.

Division 40 relates to the equipment installed in the property. Your investment property in Australia may have an air conditioning unit or some other piece of equipment Depreciation Quote Schedulethat the previous owner installed. If that’s the case, you should be able to claim for it.

The only real barrier is that you may not know the completion date for the work or the cost. Not all sellers will provide you with this information. If that’s the case, you need to employ the services of a quantity surveyor. Your surveyor will provide you with a cost estimate, which you can use when claiming tax deductions in Australia. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) does not accept estimates from other professionals. For example, you can’t get an estimate from your accountant for the work. It has to come from a quantity surveyor.

You Bought After the 2017 Budget

This is where things get more complicated. You have to consider the extent of the renovation work, as well as whether any was carried out in the first place.

The new budget introduced the term “new residential premises” into the equation. To understand what this phrase means, we need to look at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act.

What Does the GST Act Say

You’ll find references to “new residential premises” in sections 40 to 75 in the GST Act. Generally, such a premises is one that has not been rented out or sold as a residential home before your purchase. This won’t usually present a problem. After all, that language basically covers new properties.

However, there’s more. The Act also defines these premises as those that have undergone “substantial renovation” work. The GST Act also provides a description for “substantial renovations”. They are any renovations through which the entire building has either been replaced or removed. As a result, the installation of a new bathroom is not considered as a substantial renovation on its own.

What Does This Mean for Me?

Depreciation CalculatorIf your investment property in Australia does not fall into the substantial renovations category, you may not be able to claim the same deductions that you could on a property built before the 2017 Budget. In particular, you won’t be able to claim Division 40 depreciation. New equipment on its own is not enough to constitute a substantial renovation.

However, this changes if the building has undergone enough renovation to become a “new residential premises”. In such cases, you can claim for both Division 43 and Division 40 work.

You’ll need the help of a quantity surveyor to work out the extent of the work undertaken on your building. Your surveyor will create a timeline for the building. This will estimate the work carried out, its cost and its extent. You can use this information to figure out if your building falls into the “new residential premises” category.

Don’t fret if it doesn’t. You can still claim for Division 43 work. Your quantity surveyor will be able to provide more exact information detailing exactly what you can claim for.

Conclusion

You’ll need the services of a quantity surveyor, regardless of when your property was built. They will be able to tell you what previous renovations you can claim for.

We can help you if you’re looking for a quantity surveyor. Contact us today to maximise the depreciation on your property’s previous owner’s renovations.

Budget Changes to Depreciation

Budget Changes to Depreciation

The 6 must-know takeaways from these budget changes:

  1. For residential property, you will only be able to claim depreciation on plant and equipment items (ovens, dishwashers etc.) when you buy a brand new property.
  2.  You will still be able to claim the building allowance (bricks, concrete etc.) on any residential property built after 1987.
  3. If you bought a property built prior to The Budget on the 9th of May, 2017 when the changes were announced, you are not affected in the slightest.
  4. There is no change at all to commercial or other non-residential property.
  5. If you personally buy any item for your property after the settlement you can still claim the depreciation on that particular item.
  6. Perhaps the most interesting point: Whilst investors purchasing second-hand property can now no longer claim depreciation on the existing plant and equipment, they will have the benefit of paying less capital gains tax when they sell the property, by claiming any unclaimed depreciation as a capital loss.

Moving forward, property investors will have a choice of ordering a building allowance report only, a CGT schedule or a combination, from Washington Brown.

Depreciation Calculator

The Impact of NSW Housing Affordability Measures

HOUSING affordability has been an issue for, well, what seems like forever, with Sydney a particular focus as prices have been skyrocketing.

So what’s being done about it? Well, it was addressed in the Federal Budget, the Victorian State Government announced stamp duty concessions, and now it’s New South Wales’ turn, with the State Government announcing a new housing affordability package at the beginning of this month.

It includes measures to help first homebuyers into the market, dampen competition and increase supply to put downward pressure on prices.

Before the new measures will take effect in just a few weeks, on July 1, let’s take a look at what they are and what impact they’ll have on the market.

 

first home buyer

The benefits to first home buyers

The major measure to come out of the package for first home buyers is concessions to stamp duty.

The tax has been abolished for home purchases up to $650,000 and concessional rates will apply for homes costing between $650,000 and $800,000.

It will apply for both new and existing homes, while concessions used to be only available for new homes.

Insurance duty on lenders mortgage insurance will also be abolished for all buyers, and this, combined with the stamp duty concession, is expected to save first homebuyers up to $26,857 for a $650,000 home.

The $10,000 first home owner grant will also be capped at $600,000 for new homes, but for those constructing a new home it will remain at $750,000.

 

What else is in the package?

The stamp duty surcharge for foreign investors will double from 4% to 8%, and the surcharge on land tax will rise from 0.75% to 2%.

For investors, the 12-month stamp duty deferral will be no longer, and stamp duty concessions for off-the-plan properties are also gone.

The NSW Government has also undertaken measures to increase supply by speeding up development approvals and council rezonings. It also aims to accelerate the provision of infrastructure to support the construction of new homes.

housing affordability measuresWhat impact will the affordability package have?

The affordability package has had mixed reviews since its announcement. While it has been welcomed by the industry overall, there are some criticisms.

The biggest issue is the threshold for stamp duty concessions; the argument is that it needs to be much higher to actually have an impact in Sydney. Since prices are so high, it’s not easy to buy a property under $650,000.

It’s a different story in regional areas of course, and perhaps this is the intention – to encourage people to move out of greater Depreciation CalculatorSydney and to elsewhere in NSW.

Another issue is that stamp duty is still very high for upgraders and potential downsizers – ie. empty nesters – which prevents them from selling and moving on, which in turn reduces the supply available for first homebuyers or families to get into the market.

So even though there are incentives for first homebuyers, one has to wonder whether the supply will be there, even with the measures being undertaken by the NSW Government. Although of course the Federal Budget did provide an incentive to Australians over 65 to downsize, giving them the opportunity to make non-concessional contributions of up to $300,000 into their superannuation from the sale of their home, and this may help.

Another criticism of the NSW affordability package is that grants or concessions can simply create a surge in demand and the extra funds available to first homebuyers are simply added to the purchase price, so it just ends up in sellers’ pockets.

With the Sydney market already moderating, however, and supply likely to be increased, prices may not be pushed up.

Sydney price growth has already started dropping off due largely to affordability constraints and lending restrictions on investors.

According to CoreLogic, the city’s median dwelling price fell by 1.3% over May and has had zero growth over the past quarter, with growth now sitting at 11.1% for the past year, less than that for Melbourne. Sydney’s median dwelling price is now $872,300.

The other issue people will be keeping an eye on is the impact of dampening foreign buyer demand from the measures in the NSW affordability package.

Since these buyers are usually the ones developers get pre sales from, it could result in less development, restricting supply and pushing prices up.

Depreciation Quote ScheduleOn the other hand, foreign investors may not be put off and could still compete with other buyers, which will do nothing for affordability. Or if they completely disappear there is a risk that prices could significantly fall, as they did in Vancouver, especially since the market has already started moderating.

It’s all going to be a wait and see exercise it seems.

The affordability package is expected to be just part of the solution to the so-called housing affordability crisis in NSW, so stay tuned for the next announcement!

Finally, Some Clarity

On Friday 14th July, the Treasury Office released a draft bill regarding how depreciation deductions on a second-hand property can be claimed moving forward. They also invited interested parties to make submissions.

It’s complicated, to say the least, so I’ve tried to simplify this Bill and the key points. Here are my 9 Key Takeaways from the Legislation;

  1. If you acquire a second-hand residential property after May 10, 2017, which contains “previously used” depreciating assets, you will no longer be able to claim depreciation on those assets.
  1. Acquirers of brand new property will carry on claiming depreciation exactly the way they have done so to date. This is great news for the property industry and the way it should be.

We suspected this would be the case and I believe the property industry can collectively breathe a sigh of relief.Depreciation Quote Schedule

  1. The proposed changes only relate to residential property. Commercial, industrial, retail and other non-residential properties are not affected in the slightest.
  1. The building allowance or claims on the structure of the building has not changed at all. You will still need a Depreciation Schedule to calculate these deductions. This component typically represents approximately between 80 to 85 percent of the construction cost of a property.
  1. The proposed changes do not apply if you buy the property in a corporate tax entity, super fund (note Self-Managed Super Funds do not apply here) or a large unit trust.

This is interesting and I suspect a lot more people will start buying properties in company tax structures.

  1. If you engage a builder to build a house and it remains an investment property, you will still be able to claim depreciation on both the structure and the Plant and Equipment items.
  1. If you renovate a property that is being used as an investment, you will still be able to claim depreciation on it when you have finished the renovations.
  1. If you renovate a house, whilst living it in, then sell the property to an investor, the asset will be deemed to have been previously used and the new owner cannot claim depreciation.
  1. Perhaps the most interesting point: Whilst investors purchasing second-hand property can now no longer claim depreciation on the existing plant and equipment, they will have the benefit of paying less capital gains tax when they sell the property.

How? Well, in summary, what you would’ve been able to claim in depreciation under the previous legislation, now simply gets taken off the sale price in the event you sell the property in the future.

 Here is an example of how this will work:

Peter buys a property in September 2017 for $600k, included within the property was $25k worth of previously used depreciating assets.

 As they were previously used, Peter can’t claim depreciation on those items.

 Peter sells the property in 2022 for $800k, which included $15k worth of those depreciation assets.

 Peter can now claim a capital loss of $10k ($25k-$15k) for the portion that Peter has not claimed in depreciation.

 SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED CHANGES

Depreciation CalculatorIn my view, the Draft Bill could’ve been a lot worse for both the property industry and the Quantity Surveying professions.

It will certainly address the integrity measure concern of stopping “refreshed” valuations of plant and equipment by property investors.

It may, however, create a two-tier property market in relation to New and Second-hand property.

You can see the ads now “Buy Brand New – We’ve Got The Depreciation Allowances”.

It will still be just as critical for all property investors to get a breakdown of the building allowance & plant and equipment values so you can:

 

  1. Claim the building allowance (where applicable) and
  2. Reduce the CGT payable when selling the property by deducting the unclaimed Plant and Equipment allowances.

The Quantity Surveying industry, just like the property development industry just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I believe this integrity measure could’ve been better addressed and will be making a submission accordingly.

But it wasn’t a bad ‘first run’ by the Government!

P.S. If you purchased an investment property prior to The Budget, and it’s been an investment property the whole time, you are not affected and you should get a depreciation schedule quote now.

The Property Market Limbo: Depreciation Solution

Budget Changes Depreciation Solution

The property market is currently in a state of limbo, particularly those involved in the selling of new property.

Why?

Because budget statement in relation to helping “reduce pressure on housing affordability” has potentially changed the game and announced dramatic changes to the way depreciation is claimed on property.

Let’s start with the good news:

  1. Any existing investment properties purchased (contract exchange date) prior to 7.30pm Tuesday, May 9th 2017 are not affected (unless they were not income producing in the 2016/2017 financial year – read more about the updated Budget changes here).
  2. Commercial, industrial and other non-residential properties are not affected.
  3. Capital works deductions have not been affected. This means you will still be able to claim depreciation on the structure of the building provided it was built after the 16th of September 1987. You will still need a Quantity Surveyor’s depreciation schedule to do so.

 Now that we know what isn’t affected, let’s look at what has changed…

According to the budget statement

“From 1 July 2017, the Government will limit plant and equipment depreciation deductions to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties. Plant and equipment items are usually mechanical fixtures or those which can be ‘easily’ removed from a property such as dishwashers and ceiling fans.”

Here’s the uncertainty….who actually acquired the plant of equipment?

Was it the builder/developer or was it the initial purchaser of the brand new residential property?

This is key.

Why is the government making these changes?

“This is an integrity measure to address concerns that some plant and equipment items are being depreciated by successive investors in excess of their actual value.Depreciation Quote Schedule

Acquisitions of existing plant and equipment items will be reflected in the cost base for capital gains tax purposes for subsequent investors.”

The industry needs urgent clarification on this matter! Why? Because many agents are currently advising potential buyers on the cashflow advantages of new property. This figures may prove to be inflated and put the developer or marketer at risk further down the line.

You see investors rely on these figures in assessing the merits of the investment.

Here is why I think this is dumb policy.

The proposed changes are being made to “reduce pressure on housing affordability”. In my opinion, it will have the opposite effect for 3 reasons:

  1. Property investors may now feel they need to hang on to their existing properties in order to continue claiming depreciation. With these new changes, if they sell this property, they won’t be able to get anywhere near as many deductions on the next one.
  2. Developers rely on high depreciation figures in the early years to show investors how affordable an investment property can be. If the allowances are taken away, they will struggle to get the pre-sales which are required by banks to fund the deal.
  3. These budget measures are forecast to save $260 million over a 3 year period. I suspect far more will be lost if developers can no longer get new projects off the ground.

Whilst I believe housing affordability is a major issue, this truly appears to be an example of policy on the run…

Here’s the solution:

Depreciation CalculatorPlant and Equipment in residential property needs to run it’s natural course.

The ability to re-value and re-assess the item after it’s initial effective life has run it’s course should be squashed.

Put simply, if you a buy a property that is say, 11 years old, and it has a dishwasher installed that had an initial effective life of say 10 years you can’t claim it, revalue or re-assess it.

That would alleviate the government’s concern that:

“….that some plant and equipment items are being depreciated by successive investors in excess of their actual value. “

This would make a lot more sense in my opinion

I am looking forward to  providing a further update once the legislation is finalised and I will give more details regarding the specifics of these changes when they come to light.

UPDATE: Read about the revised Budget changes here.

Should Investors Steer Clear of Units?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s inevitable that you’ve heard, read or watched a doom and gloom story about the unit market in the news recently.

investors steer clear of units

According to the headlines there’s an oversupply, prices will crash due to the glut of new apartments coming onto the market and buyers won’t be able to complete off-the-plan purchases because valuations won’t stack up.

All of this is enough to scare any investor away from buying a unit. And if you own one you might be getting nervous right about now too, thinking your investment is in trouble.

But is it all really as bad as it seems? Depreciation Quote Schedule

Should investors steer clear of units?

The broad answer is no. While there’s no doubt that there are plenty of units being built, especially in inner Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and some markets are oversupplied and should be avoided, there are also others providing good opportunities for savvy investors who have done thorough research.

 

Benefits aplenty 

When we think of ‘The Great Australian Dream’ we often picture a house in the ‘burbs with the traditional Hills Hoist, but the modern reality is very different. Many people are now choosing to live in units due to the sense of community and lifestyle they offer; it’s low-maintenance living often situated close to entertainment, employment and public transport.

Location is indeed one of the big benefits of buying a unit. Along with proximity to amenities making these properties more rent-able. Which often means fewer vacancies.

Units often provide investors with better yields too, since they’re highly rentable and the buy-in price is more affordable. This affordability is, of course, the great attraction for investors.

From a set and forget point of view units are also easier since the body corporate takes care of much of the maintenance. This may result in fewer ongoing costs, depending on the body corporate contributions. And don’t forget that depreciation for units can be higher since you can claim a share of the common property.

 

What should you look for?

investors steer clear of units

While there are plenty of advantages to buying units, if you don’t buy the right type of unit in the right location, then – like any investment – you likely won’t come out on top at the end of the day.

It’s often said that one of the major downsides of buying a unit is that you’ll get less capital growth than a house. And if you look at the overall figures that appears to ring true. According to the latest CoreLogic data, over the year to the end of August capital city house values rose by 7.2%, while units increased by 5.5%.

As seasoned investors know, however, markets are made up of many different sub-markets. These all perform differently, so taking the broad-based figures as gospel can be problematic.

Rather, what investors should be doing is drilling down to a local level and looking at the individual property they’re purchasing and the fundamentals of that market that can make it a success… or not.

So what should you be looking for when investing in units? Here are some of the factors to consider:

It’s not one size fits all

Although it would make life easier, unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules for investment success, including what type of property to buy.

Every property should be considered on its own merits, looking at all the fundamentals. Hence we can’t generalise and say investors should avoid all units.

There are certainly plenty of units increasing in value all over Australia, but equally there are those that are falling in value.

Do your research and you’ll get your purchase right.