Finance advice

Why it’s smarter to invest in land instead of houses and apartments

By Bianca Dabu
land investment, property investments, property investors

OpenCorps’s Cam McLellan’s success in property investment is rooted on this basic principle: “Land goes up in value, building goes down!”

Many budding property investors have been keen on acquiring as many houses and units as they could, but the smartest and most seasoned ones would tell them that their efforts must actually be directed towards getting appreciating assets.

According to Cam, taxation ruling dictates that buildings naturally depreciate because of their deemed 40-year lifespan. By that time, theoretically, they need to be replaced.

“Wealth comes from land only. The building’s only purpose is to gather rental income and assist to cover the land holding costs,” he said.

Long-term growth

As a property investor, Cam works hard to grow his portfolio in order to provide a financially secure and stable future for his children as well as his future grandkids.

This is why he always makes it a point “not to pick winners, but avoid losers”. One of the things he avoids putting in his portfolio are apartments, which he described as “a flashy investment option”.

“Even if apartments were to grow in value at a faster rate than medium density housing, I still wouldn't buy apartments to add to my portfolios. The fact is that, if I purchased an apartment, I know that in 60 or 70 years’ time, it's going to start to look run down [and] it will end up a slum,” he explained.

Over a period of time, apartments will age and will need to be replaced. A possible scenario will see the building sold under market value to a developer who will knock it down and build a new real estate asset on the land.

If you buy an apartment, you only get a portion of the land depending on the size of the block where the building is sitting on and the number of apartments in the building—which does not give you much opportunity to see an appreciation in your asset’s value. Therefore, medium-density housing is a better choice if an investor really wants to purchase a building, because then, you also get to purchase a large portion of land.

Cam said: “[This] will continue to grow in value, [because] even if in 60 years I have to replace the house that sits on top of the appreciating asset, being the land, I will still have a very solid portfolio.”

The golden rule

Land goes up in value and building goes down in value—this is the most important rule to remember as a property investor.

“If you’re buying houses, or even units, or townhouses with reasonable-size land … they can be worthy investments. I do, however, strongly advise staying away from small units … [like] one- or even very small two-bed units with low land content as an apartment,” according to Cam.

His advice to his fellow investors: Make sure that the total floor area of all the building is less than the total area of the site. As long as you stay away from apartments, you and your portfolio will do fine. After all, this is arguably one of the safest, most tried and tested strategy in property investment.

Cam concluded: “Land appreciates. Buildings depreciate. If you like apartments, rent one.”

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Dominique Grubisa joins host Phil Tarrant to share her personal story which saw her hit rock bottom with excessive debt during the GFC.

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Dominique unpacks how, by relying on her background in law, she was able to overcome that debt and in doing so develop a unique investment strategy which she believes many can utilise today.

Dominique discusses distressed properties, and how she goes about finding them in order to buy property well below market value. She shares the process of identifying distressed properties as well as the controversy surrounding this buying method.

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:

3 big property investment myths busted open
5 steps to take on low-risk property developments
Securing finance after life-changing events: ‘Cash flow is key’

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More than just bricks and mortar, experts often regard property investment as a ‘game of finance’. As such, a good finance strategy can lead any investor to success.

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To hear more about these services, make sure to tune into this episode of Property Showcase!

 Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

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    In this episode of Property Showcase, Michael Beresford joins editor of Wealth James Mitchell to unpack why recent political changes are not reason for concern for Australian investors.<\/p>\r\n

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Many investors who would have been successfully approved for finance last year are struggling now to either begin or continue their property investment journey because of the current financial climate.

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, broker John Manciamelli and Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock joins host Tim Neary to discuss how APRA changes and the royal commission have resulted in a tighter lending economy and what that means for Australian investors.

They discuss what traps investors should avoid if they are trying to obtain finance, the four key growth drivers in a property market and unpacking trust structures while revealing one type of trust that you should miss.

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:

How technology is changing the lending environment
Lessons from a falling market
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AREAS MENTIONED:

Hobart
Bondi
Deception Bay

 

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More than just bricks and mortar, experts often regard property investment as a ‘game of finance’. As such, a good finance strategy can lead any investor to success.

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Getting finance approved in this tightening lending environment

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