Paul Bennion

Investors driving apartment boom

By Paul Bennion

Property investors' continued love affair with apartments has been pushing an unprecedented growth in their construction throughout Australia over the past few years.

Blogger: Paul Bennion, managing director, DEPPRO

This trend has been highlighted by ABS figures which show that during the two financial years from 2012/2013 to 2014/2015, the value of building approvals for apartments surged by nearly $9 million to a massive $20.1 billion.

It is a trend that has continued into the current financial year, with the latest ABS figures showing the value of building approvals for apartments throughout Australia in December 2015 was $1.92 billion.

Overall, apartment sales in the major capital cities nationwide have remained very strong during the past three years, driven mainly by investors taking advantage of record low interest rates to spur the growing strength of the property market and potential capital growth.

In particular, off-the-plan sales have been vibrant as many investors believe that when the apartment development is eventually completed they will achieve a significant profit due to rising property prices.

Whether you are buying an off-the-plan or an established apartment, there are a few simple tips you should consider to ensure you achieve the best financial outcome.

Tips on buying an apartment for investment purposes

  • Make sure you claim your full tax benefits associated with owning an apartment for investment purposes. For example, tax depreciation benefits can be substantial and can add up to several thousand dollars each year in tax savings for a single apartment.

  • When buying an off-the-plan apartment, it is important to research the track record of the developer to ensure they deliver what they are promising. One good tip is to speak to some of their previous clients who also bought off-the-plan and now hold a fully completed apartment from the developer.

  • Check the exact internal floor space of the apartment. The price of the apartment should be measured in the cost per square metre and this will give you a good comparison relative to similar units in the same area.

  • Before purchasing an apartment, check the average weekly rent for a similar flat in the same location. This will give you an indication of future rental returns.

  • Check the quarterly strata fees and whether there are any plans to upgrade the complex.

  • Check how many apartments in the complex are owner occupiers. Owner occupiers tend to take a much more active interest in the upkeep of the complex. If more than 50 per cent of the apartments are owned by owner occupiers, the complex should be well-maintained.

  • The views that the apartment can offer is important. If you are buying an apartment with good views, check that nothing in the future will interfere with these views i.e. the construction of a new building in front of your apartment.

  • Parking is also very important when buying an apartment. Check that your apartment has a dedicated car bay and the ownership structure of car bays in the complex.

  • One-bedroom apartments, as opposed to two- and three-bedroom apartments, are very popular because more people are increasingly living alone.

  • Obtain finance approval before making an offer on an apartment as this will increase your negotiating position.

  • Remember that if you are buying an older apartment for renovation purposes, you may have to obtain approval from the other owners for certain improvements i.e. the installation of airconditioning.

About the Blogger

Paul Bennion

Paul Bennion

Paul Bennion is the managing director of DEPPRO tax depreciation specialists.
DEPPRO Pty Ltd is Australia’s leading property depreciation company, specialising solely in the preparation of tax depreciation reports for residential, commercial, industrial and leisure investment properties.

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