Finance advice
Kevin Lee

Refinancing: A negative gearing quick fix

By Kevin Lee

"Negative Gearing" is a commonly debated strategy amongst property experts and investors alike, with over 1.2 million Australian investors owning a negatively geared property in the 2010/2011 financial year (abs.gov.au).

Blogger: Kevin Lee, Smart Property Adviser

Although many high income earners are encouraged to purchase negatively geared properties for tax benefits, some investors are struggling to keep up with the weekly holding costs and this could be putting a great strain on their financial situation and lifestyle.

If you're experiencing such hardship this article is definitely for you.

Property is a long term investment and selling is one of the big no-no's. But when you're in financial hardship, sometimes selling seems like the only option.

However, it is best to know all your options first and one option to look at first is whether refinancing your loan will improve your cashflow.
Review your current loan structure: is it a Principal & Interest or an Interest Only facility? Depending on how you've acquired your investment property, your loan could be either. In a negatively geared scenario, I recommend that it’s best to have an Interest Only loan and I'll explain why shortly.

You need to also research the benefits of switching lenders, unless your current lender is offering the best interest rate on the market. And right now fixed rates are as ‘hot’ as I’ve ever seen with some 3yr rates at 4.84% and one 5yr rate at 5.29% - so every negatively geared investor should be doing their math on this right now!

Currently in Australia, we are experiencing record low interest rates across both variable and fixed rate options, with more cuts predicted to come over the next 10-12 months!

Don’t think for one minute though that this is happening because our economy is doing well or that the banks are ‘sharing the love’. Neither could be further from the truth!

If you’re able to, feel free to take advantage of the situation … and remember that in the world of banking, loyalty is a one way street. They expect it but have none in return for you. So don’t be ‘lame’.

Earlier I recommended that you have an Interest Only loan. The only reason for this is that you can offset your interest with the balance in a linked account known as an offset account. An Offset Account is a separate account which is linked to the loan & it offsets the interest charged to that loan.

Offset Accounts work well with variable rate loans as they lower the interest charged on the loan, but still delivers you leverage. If you aren’t interested in a fixed rate (not sure why that would be though) I highly recommend that negatively geared properties have an Interest Only loan with a linked Offset Account and that you accumulate all your spare cash in it.

This is how Offset Accounts work with Interest Only loans:

(The loan balance - Offset Account balance) × current % ÷ 12 = monthly repayments)

As you can see from the simple equation above, the offset account lowers the monthly repayments.

You should also know that there is a massive difference between putting funds directly onto the loan rather than into the Offset Account. Funds you put onto your loan directly cannot be redrawn for non-investment purposes without affecting the tax deductibility of the loan's interest. But, funds placed into the Offset Account can be redrawn for whatever purpose and do not affect the tax deductibility of the loan's interest.

So if you don't already have an Offset Account in place, I'd recommend that you secure one as soon as possible. If you have savings in other accounts, I'd recommend that you transfer those funds into the Offset Account NOW to reduce your interest bill as much as possible, however minimal the funds may be. And keep adding to it monthly.

As I mentioned above, refinancing is one solution. It may not work for you and you may need to sell, depending on how draining your negatively geared investment property is. An experienced professional mortgage adviser like myself (with years of real world property investment expertise) can look at your situation & calculate the benefits of refinancing for you without you having to actually take the risk.

For example, I had a client who was suffering from the holding costs of a negatively geared property. She had around $700k in high interest debt. Based on her current income, the debt was too high to refinance or offset and the only way out was to sell her negatively geared property.

I restructured the remaining debt & negotiated with her current lender to significantly reduce the interest rate they were charging. With my help this client freed herself of the negatively geared property and saved approx $5000 a year in interest on her owner occupied loan.

As you can see, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution so I don’t recommend that you go ahead and implement this solution without first consulting a professional. You have a greater chance of creating a worse financial state than you currently have if you run with what can be complex refinancing solutions by yourself.

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About the Blogger

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee of Smart Property Adviser is regarded by many as Australia's most trusted property investment adviser. Since 1999, Kevin's been the go-to-guy for people when they need honest finance and property investment advice and guidance.

Kevin hosts a regular Investors' Boardroom and investors from around the world fly in to Sydney to attend. More information is available at www.smartpropertyadviser.com.au

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podcast

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Will Magee has had ambitions to enter into the Australian property market for quite some time, but it has been more than just finances holding him back.  Having been granted permanent residency just two weeks ago, Will is wasting no time and is now in the process of signing papers and finding his first investment property.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Will joins host Phil Tarrant to share why he is purchasing his first property in partnership with his brother, discuss the complications that can arise from such a strategy, and unpack the ongoing plan for building a joint property portfolio with his brother.

Will will also share how they approached saving for their first property, why he is taking out the mortgage in his name exclusively, and share their savings plan for the year ahead.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

From property in Australia to a ski lodge in Japan
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Should a real estate title be in one person’s name only?

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A property investment plan years in the making
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Median house prices in regional Victoria outperformed that of Melbourne in the June quarter, the latest REIV figures reveal. 

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Median house prices in the regions rose 4.0 per cent to $419,500 but in Melbourne they dipped by 0.6 of a percentage point to $840,000.

The result in Melbourne was due to a 0.8 of a percentage point fall in prices achieved at auction; this was despite a lift of 2.3 per cent in private sales.

Inner Melbourne suffered due to auction prices, where median prices fell by 4.9 per cent to $1,459,000 but it was middle Melbourne that was hardest hit, with a 5.4 per cent drop to $974,500.

Outer Melbourne had a good quarter with the median rising by 0.5 of a percentage point to $681,000.

Apartment prices in regional Victoria grew by 3.7 per cent to $304,500 while the metro media was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to $604,000.

REIV President Richard Simpson said that despite fewer sales, many sectors of the market were performing well.

“2017 was a bumper year and while the trendline has flattened, despite the fall in median house prices in the June quarter, median prices are still up this calendar year for both houses and units, in Melbourne and in the regions,” Mr Simpson said. 

In particular there was been strong growth in regional centres which is probably due to the first-home buyers’ concessions said Mr Simpsons.

“The first-home buyers’ concession has been a boon for regional areas. A new entrant to the property market buying a house at the regional median will pay no stamp duty, while a first home buyer of an apartment in Melbourne at the median price would pay stamp duty of nearly $25,000,” he said.

Mr Simpson said that more prospective buyers are looking towards regional Victoria which is also having an effect in Melbourne.

“Melbourne’s outer perimeter continues to grow. Small increases in the June quarter mean that the median prices for both houses and units have risen over 10.5 per cent from a year ago.

Mr Simpson said moving forward that vendors need more realistic expectations as the highs of 2017 are now over.

“Negative chatter about the future of the sector coupled with stronger lending controls by financial institutions has created some uncertainty and vendors need to be realistic with their price expectations,” Mr Simpson said.

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Regional Victoria showing up Melbourne in price performance, new data finds
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  string(381) "

If Mark Hodge’s face looks familiar to you it could be because of his time working as a professional entertainer which saw him working with the Australian ballet, appearing on multiple seasons of Dancing with the Stars and touring in musical theatre for 17 years. What you may not know is that Mark is also heavily involved in the short-term property rental marketspace.

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Mark joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss his transition from entertainer to investor, a journey pushed forward by dance related injuries and even a hit and run which saw him needing to find alternate methods to bring in an income. Mark shares how bad long-term tenants and a gang member guided him to the short-term rental market, and how this pushed him into helping others to realise the same benefits.

Mark will also address the common concerns, discuss what his company Maisonnets specialise in and unpack how they are making the process of filling short term rentals easier for investors.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

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AREAS MENTIONED:

Melbourne
Sydney
Rushcutters Bay
Maroubra
Potts Point

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From pirouettes to property investment

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