Our Portfolio

Why investors should aim for ‘controllable cash flow’

By Bianca Dabu
Cash

Property investment could be described simply as purchasing properties “that are going to go up in value as much as possible while only costing as little as possible to hold,” and for most investors, success is dependent on a single benchmark—yield.

As an avid investor, Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant always makes sure that his assets are generating income through rent so he can continue to hold the properties without much pressure to shell out money from his own pocket.

“[Looking] at our portfolio in terms of how much income it generates, at the moment, it's about just over $20,000 a month—that's $240,000 a year. That's money coming into our bank account,” he explained. “How much is going out as part of that? Now I'll look at our total repayment amount every single month, [and it] is about $14,000 or $178,000 a year. When you look at how much money is coming in versus how much money there needs to go out, we're left with about 27 per cent of everything that we earn... which we've got to use to pay for other stuff [like]... rates, insurance, repairs, and maintenance.”

The expenses will eventually add up, which will then lead to the categorization of one’s property portfolio as being positively geared or negatively geared.

However, buyer’s agent Steve Waters believe that more than desiring a positive cash flow, property investors must be careful not to sacrifice growth and, instead, work to attain “controllable cash flow.”

“My fear for a lot of people is that, perhaps, they've got used to very cheap money… As rates get up to their five and a half somewhere in the future, are they still going to be in a position to control their asset?” He added, “if you go back to the [Global Financial Crisis]... not many people lost their portfolios or their assets for lack of equity—it was from a lack of cash flow… and we don't particularly mean… positive cash flow… In this scenario, the barometer or the benchmark that property investors talk about is yield.”

Phil and his team use four different yields to determine the status of his property portfolio, rate its performance, and gauge its progress:

 1. Book rental yield

The property investor defines this as the yield against the purchase price.

He explained: “[This] is the standard way to look at it—you work out what your rent is, you [multiply] it by 52, then you divide it by how much did you buy your property for or your portfolio for… Our number is 7.3 per cent [which is] pretty good.”

However, this computation does not account for many other factors that affect his assets, including buyer's agency fees, stamp duty, conveyancing costs, and other ongoing costs.

2. Net rental yield

Another measurement that Phil uses to paint a picture of his portfolio’s performance is the Net Rental Yield.

“Your rent times 52, but divided by the [purchase price plus] the total establishment costs for these [other] things [or costs],” he said. “Our number there is 6.6 per cent, [which is] more of a realistic take on where our portfolio is.”

Steve added: “I think it's important that you do do that… Most people don't know what their true position is unless you throw everything into the pot.”

3. Market yield

Phil defines this measurement as “our total rent over our current valuation—that's on the basis of what are these properties worth today.”

4. Debt yield

The debt yield is perhaps the most important measurement for Phil and his team.

“[This] is against the size of the mortgage,” Phil said.

“My debt's my biggest expense, and if it's costing me 5 per cent but my gross yield is 7… that's not a bad spread to take care of everything else. I know [many people] would be on going, ‘That's not the way to look at it,’ but for me, it is, because I might have controlled the property for years and the debt's stayed the same,” said Steve. 

“If I've had a property for 20 years that I bought for $100,000, it's now worth half a million and the rent's $350 a week, my value to income percentage isn't going to be that attractive.”

At the end of the day, property investors will do good to track the relevant numbers that affect their portfolio to be able to park buffers aside and ultimately establish a good risk management system.

“[It goes back to] what's in my pocket? Is it hurting and am I worried about it? Am I sleeping well at night and I'm not too concerned at the moment even though we're in an environment where things are changing quite quickly?” Phil said.

Steve concluded: “It's really [all about] what the debt's costing me, which is my biggest expense, versus the current income for the property. Once again, we're creating these different metrics, and that's only because we like to do so, but there are a lot of people out there that are just doing it on the standard purchase price, and I think that's… cheating themselves.”

Tune in to Phil Tarrant’s portfolio update on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about his acquisition costs, “boring” assets, risk mitigation, cash flow management and yearly income, as well as the inside scoop on a new property that could take the team’s investment strategy to the next level.

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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
Mortgage Trusts, an alternative first step for property investors
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
object(stdClass)#1184 (52) {
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  ["title"]=>
  string(38) "From pirouettes to property investment"
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  ["introtext"]=>
  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.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(2718) "

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:

The hard-to-swallow truth: The prickly points of the Airbnb reforms
Airbnb reforms unpacked for property investors
Airbnb leasing: What are a landlord’s rights and responsibilities? 


AREAS MENTIONED:

Melbourne
Sydney
Rushcutters Bay
Maroubra
Potts Point

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From pirouettes to property investment

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