Tax and legal advice

Are the government’s changes in tax depreciation just ‘dumb policy’?

By Bianca Dabu
man with binoculars

The government has recently announced major changes to the way depreciation is claimed on property in an attempt to “reduce pressure on housing affordability,” but will it really do as it says?

While the legislation has yet to be formally written, Washington Brown’s CEO Tyron Hyde has expressed his concern over how the changes might bring the exact opposite effect and reduce investors’ cash flow.

In the new tax depreciation scheme, the government will limit plant and equipment depreciation deductions to outlays obtained by investors. “What the government is saying is you have to physically acquire those items for you to claim depreciation on them,” Mr Hyde told Smart Property Investment.

Therefore, even if you buy a unit off the developer at full price – complete with fixtures and fittings – you cannot claim depreciation on the items which were acquired by the developer.

Due to this particular change, acquiring property may be deemed “too risky” by investors.

Mr Hyde said: “If you buy an $800,000 brand-new apartment, at the moment you might get a $20,000 depreciation deduction. And you won. Makes it look affordable, the property. A lot of the developers rely on those numbers to get pre-sales, to show the investor ‘Look, it doesn’t cost a lot to own this property.’ If that suddenly stops, guess what? No pre-sales, no bank funding, no construction.”

Additionally, under the recent changes, investors who hang on to their properties for a long time will no longer benefit from the depreciation value of plant and equipment. The acquisition of existing plant and equipment will be part of the cost base, thereby reducing capital gains liability.

Instead of increasing affordability for housing, Mr Hyde believes that the proposed changes may just be “dumb policy” due to the following reasons:

  • Property investors may hang onto their existing properties to continue claiming depreciation. They may not be able to get as many deductions on the next one if they sell the said properties.
  • High depreciation values usually attract investors to acquire a property. If the allowances are taken away, developers will struggle to get pre-sales, which are required by banks to fund the deal.
  • “These budget measures are forecast to save $260 million over a three-year period. I suspect far more will be lost if developers can no longer get new projects off the ground,” according to Hyde.

While the changes in tax depreciation aim for good intentions, particularly in terms of housing affordability, it may only increase risk and disadvantage for property investors and developers alike in the long term.

As Mr Hyde puts it, the government may have “tinkered with the wrong thing here”.

Tune in to The Smart Property Investment Show to get a better understanding on the government's changes in tax depreciation and its effects on property investments.

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  ["title"]=>
  string(51) "Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding"
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  string(55) "boost-for-investors-as-new-app-sets-up-off-site-bidding"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(144) "

Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

“Vendors, too, have the opportunity to directly book an auction with us, so they can open up their event to buyers all around the world. With more potential buyers, they’re giving their property the chance to receive more bids and maximise their sales result.”

Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

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:

Eagleby
Charters Towers
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Brisbane
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Sydney
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Melbourne 
Glen Iris
Bondi

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["secure"]=> int(0) ["page_description"]=> string(11) "sample desc" ["page_rights"]=> NULL ["robots"]=> NULL ["access-view"]=> bool(true) } ["initialized":protected]=> bool(true) ["separator"]=> string(1) "." } ["displayDate"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 03:15:56" ["slug"]=> string(72) "18171:how-a-move-to-hong-kong-impacted-julia-s-australian-property-goals" ["catslug"]=> string(28) "45:smart-property-investment" ["link"]=> string(92) "/investor-stories-1/18171-how-a-move-to-hong-kong-impacted-julia-s-australian-property-goals" }
How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals
object(stdClass)#1194 (52) {
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  ["title"]=>
  string(88) "‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end"
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The practice of property investment firms sharing undisclosed kickbacks among the supply chain involved in development sales will be outlawed in NSW on 1 July this year under the Real Estate Reform being handed down by regulators in NSW.

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Property commentator and valuer, Suburbanite’s Anna Porter, said the reform will address conflicts of interest.

She said they arise when a mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner receives part of the commission from the property firm, who receive their fees from the developer or seller.

“This puts the broker into a position by which they are being paid on both sides of the fence,” she said.

“Until now this has been a grey area and there was nothing stopping this practice.” 

Ms Porter said this has been a common practice in the industry.

"Some well-known mortgage broking firms openly admit to receiving $5,000–$10,000 per referral in their pocket.”

She also said this process has been going on for decades.

"Property investment firms commonly pass some of their commission on to the mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner as a reward to them for passing on the referral. This means that many brokers or financial service providers are making significant amounts of money just to refer on to a property firm, often totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year," Anna Porter said.

Ms Porter said the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 will be in force from July this year, and will prohibit this practice unless the broker or referring partner also holds a real estate industry license.

"Under the new laws, if the broker takes a referral fee from the property firm, they will have to be a licensed real estate agent and also hold a corporation’s license,” she said. 

“Subsequently, every transaction that they receive a referral fee from, they will be putting their license up against the transaction and taking full liability for the conduct, practices and outcome of that transaction, even if they have little to do with the transaction; they are a party to it financially and therefore take as much risk as everyone else in the transaction.”

Mr Porter said where a referrer holds a real estate license, and receives a part of the sale commission, they may find themselves in breach of the ethical requirements under the act.

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‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end

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