Tax and legal advice

Know the risks of leasehold investment purchases, says expert

By Tim Neary
 risks of leasehold investment purchases

A growing number of Sydney developments are being sold on leasehold land, and one expert says investors should be aware of its implications. Buyer’s agent and host of Sky News Real Estate – Smart Investing, Chris  G r a y, recommends the question of what is actually being purchased needs to be studied in more detail.

He says it is not uncommon for new developments in Sydney’s CBD and The Rocks to be built on leasehold land with a term as short as 99 years.

“An exclusive leasehold residential property is the historical St Patrick’s Estate in ManlyManly, NSW Manly, QLD, owned by the Catholic Church. The majority of land in Queensland is under some form of leasehold and, in the ACT, all land is leased and owned by the Commonwealth.

Mr G r a y  said that unlike freehold land, or land that is owned in perpetuity, the purchaser of a leasehold property does not own the land, but instead “rents” the land for a defined period of time – usually from the state government.

“This is also known as Crown land. In Sydney, this is typically 99 years, although that depends on the owner.”

He said that while the number of leasehold properties in Sydney is difficult to establish, it’s safe to say that there are several thousand and most of those are apartments that are dotted around the harbour foreshore.

“While the end of most of these leases is a long way off, there will come a time when the value of these properties will start to diminish if the owners of the land remain undecided about what to do at the end of the lease term.”

Mr G r a y  points to the ‘leasehold trap’ in the UK to warn of the ramifications of these short-term leases.

“The UK’s leasehold system is unique: although the majority of apartments in London are leasehold, many are viewed as virtual freeholds due to their extended lease terms of 999 years.

“However, in recent times, leasehold arrangements as short as 70 to 75 years have been introduced, leading to a substantial drop in property prices, with many people trapped in declining leases and unable to afford extended leases.”

So what?

Mr G r a y  said the state of the leasehold market in the UK raises an all-important question for Sydney-siders: what happens at the end of the 99-year lease?

He also said that one indication of what may lie ahead can be taken from the experience of property owners in the “highly prized” Fairy Bower neighbourhood in Manly.

“In Bower Street, properties sit on Catholic Church-owned leasehold land,” explains Mr  G r a y.

“Following lobbying by locals, the church agreed to extend their leases beyond the 2031 expiry date at a cost of 1 per cent of the full property value for each year of extension. To purchase what is effectively 1 per cent – a 20-year extended lease on the land – will cost an owner of a $1 million house $200,000.

“Applying the 1 per cent rule would mean that a purchaser of a property on a 99-year lease could effectively be doing no more than purchasing the lease itself. Applying a linear depreciation cost against the lease, a property purchased for $50 million would be depreciating by around $10,000 a week.”

Mr G r a y  uses his own experience as a buyer’s agent to warn of the potential ramifications of these 99-year leases.

“We have bought hundreds of properties over the last three decades for both my own portfolio, and on behalf of my clients. Our mantra is that you should always invest in property for the long term – never sell, if you can avoid it.

“If a property is good for you, then it should be good to pass on to your kids. For that reason, I think people should always look to buy freehold, as the value of leasehold property can expire very quickly when you’re looking across multiple generations.”

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podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”. He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Sixteen years on, Luke now has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

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 to profit from changing market conditions
Quit the 9 to 5: Taking control of your income and your career
4 tips for first time property investors

AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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  ["introtext"]=>
  string(115) "

Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(8092) "

Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, 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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Sydney
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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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