Finance advice
Interest rates and the property investor

Interest rates and the property investor

By Dave Ives

When interest rates go up, most home owners react the same way – they take a big gulp. Conversely, when interest rates drop, these same people let out a big cheer.

Now, what about most property investors? How do they react?

You’re right, they react about the same. Maybe they take a bigger gulp or let out a bigger cheer, but the reaction is generally the same.

You see, for the property investor, the results are multiplied. That can be good news or bad news. If rates go up, then the 'pain' is multiplied, hence a bigger gulp. If rates go down, then the 'joy' is multiplied, hence a bigger cheer.

What I’d like to do today is put some numbers to this 'pain' and/or 'joy'. Take a look at how interest rates affect a property investor’s cash flow.

Property investor baseline situation

Let’s say our property investor has the following situation:

• Five rental properties
• $200,000 mortgage on each property
• Each property valued at say $350,000
• 7 per cent variable interest rate
• Interest only loan
• $350 per week rental income
This should be enough information for us to make some cash flow calculations.

First, let’s calculate the weekly interest on these loans.

$200,000 x 0.07 = $14,000/year
$14,000/year x 1 year/52 weeks = $269/week per property
$269/week x 5 properties = $1,345/week

Now, let’s look at the rental margin.

$350 – $269 = $81/week
$81/week x 5 properties = $405/week

So, our investor has $405 per week left over after paying interest to the bank.

Let’s estimate the other holding costs for each property.

• Insurance, say $1,000 per year = $19/week.
• Property management = 10 per cent of rent = $350 x .10 = $35/week
• Taxes = $1,500 per year = $29/week
• Maintenance = allow 5 per cent of rent = $350 x 0.05 = $18/week

Now tally up all extra costs

$19 + $35 + $29 +$18 = $101 per week
$101/week x 5 properties = $505/week

So, based on these estimates, our property investor is out of pocket each week to the tune of $405 – $505 = $100/week.

Not exciting.

Now, let’s run the numbers for two new cases. First case is an interest rate rise. Second case is an interest rate drop. Let’s just assume a 0.5 per cent change either way.

Case 1: Interest rate rise

If interest rates rise by 0.5 per cent then our property investor is in for some “belt tightening.”

Weekly interest goes up to $1,442, that’s a $97 increase.

Assuming all the other numbers are the same, our property investor has just copped another $97 dollars in the negative each week. The cash flow has gone from negative $100 to negative $197.

Not exciting.

Case 2: Interest rate drop

What if interest rates drop by 0.5 per cent? The interest rate goes down to 6.5 per cent.

Now our property investor will get some relief. The new weekly interest payment drops to $1,250 for the five properties. That’s a saving of $95 each week.

Again, assuming all the other numbers are the same, our property investor is now in a much better financial position. The shortfall each week is only $5.

Margin, Margin, Margin

Have you ever heard the famous answer to the question, "What are the three most important aspects of property investment?"

Remember the humorous answer, "location, location, location"?

Well, I’d like to follow that up with another question, "What are the three most important aspects of property investment finance?"

And, my answer is, "margin, margin, margin".

I feel the property investor should factor in a safety margin to guard against interest rate rises. This can be in the form of fixing the rate low. Or, it can be getting rents sufficiently high. Or, reducing the debt owed. Or … (your creative idea goes here!)

As you can see from the numbers in this article, interest rates have a significant impact on cash-flow. As property investors we need to make sure we can survive the ebb and flow of interest rate tidal changes.

What safeguards have you got in place to mitigate the impact of an interest rate rise?

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About the Blogger

Dave Ives

Dave Ives

In July 2009 Dave Ives quit his job as an engineer and has been a full time property investor ever since. He is also an author of 3 books with another on the way in 2017. More of his writing can be found on ivesguy.com.

 

FROM THE WEB

podcast

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Wood, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

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!

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

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!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

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!

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Launceston
Raceview

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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