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Pros and cons of using SMSFs for property investment

By eSuperfund

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Property is an increasingly popular investment class for SMSFs. Like all investment options, this choice has its own pros and cons.

While property is a popular asset class to invest in for many using a self-managed super fund (SMSF) – led in no small part by the appeal of ‘bricks and mortar’ as a physical asset – it is not quite as simple as buy, set and forget. It is crucial that investors seeking to realise investment returns from this asset class do so lawfully and effectively by first weighing up the benefits and drawbacks.

Property as an investment
One of the key advantages of owning an SMSF is the ability to use funds to invest in real estate. Property investment has for decades been a key driver of wealth in Australia, and is another plank for developing a diversified investment portfolio. Property is viewed by many as a relatively safe investment option, given that it is a physical asset that will always be in demand and it tends to be a much less volatile asset class than shares, for example.

Property also has the potential to provide 2 sources of revenue to drive growth in your retirement savings.

• Rental returns can provide an ongoing source of cash flow. Rental incomes can be used to fund other investment purchases and negatively geared properties allow for tax breaks across the SMSF’s earnings.
• Capital growth can be realised when the property is sold. While still subject to tax, properties held long-term by an SMSF can yield hefty returns that may not be matched by other investment classes.

Restrictions on investment
There are specific regulations in place for the purchase of property with an SMSF. ASIC’s MoneySmart has a comprehensive guide to property investment restrictions. The majority of these restrictions are related to the occupation of residential properties. As with all superannuation-funded investments, properties can only be used for purposes of investment and therefore, will have occupation restrictions. Residential properties will face occupation restrictions whereas commercial properties tend to face less. SMSF-owned residences cannot, for instance, be occupied or rented by any of the SMSF’s trustees or parties relating to them, nor can a property established as a holiday home be used by any trustee or family member.

However, these occupation restrictions are largely unique to residential properties. Commercial properties, on the other hand, can be owned by an SMSF and tenanted to a business operated by a trustee or family member. This means that the property type is also another factor that needs to be considered when using SMSF to invest in property.

Funding property acquisition
How you fund the property will depend on how much your SMSF has available to invest. If there is enough cash available, the fund can purchase the property outright. Things are less straightforward when a loan is required to fund part of the property.

Unlike the purchase of an owner-occupied property with the help of a mortgage, using an SMSF to fund a property acquisition requires a particular loan agreement known as a limited recourse borrowing arrangement. This facility places certain restrictions on the use of borrowed funds, such as that loans can only be used to purchase and maintain a property and not to carry out improvements.

Additionally, ASIC points out that tax offsets can only be used against the fund’s earnings, not your own personal income, and that enough cash needs to be available within the fund to service loan repayments and ongoing property maintenance expenses.

While there are many benefits to using an SMSF to invest in property, care must be given to when adhering to the strict regulations in place in order to ensure the investment endures. Be sure to investigate all types of property to invest in to achieve the best returns for your superannuation.

For more information about SMSFs, download our free SMSF Guide to Investing in Property eBook or Information Package today. If you’re ready to establish an SMSF, you can apply now with ESUPERFUND.


Sources:
ASIC’s MoneySmart Investing: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/property
ASIC’s MoneySmart Superannuation and Retirement: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/superannuation-and-retirement/self-managed-super-fund-smsf/smsfs-and-property

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podcast

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Tune in to the latest episode of Property Showcase, the podcast with the inside track on the products and businesses that will help turbocharge your portfolio, maximise returns and make your overall investment experience seamless and stress-free!

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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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Caifu Property\u2019s Automatic Equity program is designed to add a minimum of double the value of your salary to your portfolio every 12-18 months.\u00a0The program deals with five to six figures of instant equity, helps time poor investors generate equity in the shortest time possible without compromising your lifestyle or demanding your time.\u00a0<\/p>\r\n

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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.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Katarina joins host Tim Neary to unpack her entry into the property market and experiences of rentvesting, and how the Smart Property Investment Show was vital  in a number of decisions which she made along the way.

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Why buying new property doesn’t mean buying better property

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