Archive for Investing

How to safeguard your rental bond

As the end of your tenancy agreement approaches, it can be a very tedious process dealing with your bond refund.

Ideally, most tenants will receive their bond money back at the end of the tenancy, once the real estate agent inspects the property against the Property Condition Report (PCR), essentially ensuring the premises is in the same condition as it was at the commencement of the lease, taking into account fair wear and tear.

However, if the state of the property does not comply with the PCR report, then the property manager or landlord has the right to claim money from the bond to cover these expenses, which could be anything from broken door handles to garden maintenance.

What you need to know about your rental bond money.

We want all tenants to be confident when it comes to getting their bond back, so to take the guesswork out of your end of lease inspection, here is some advice when it comes to getting your full bond back.

Fill out the initial condition report

Taking the time to fill out the initial PCR when first moving in can save you a lot of money and hassle when it comes to your last inspection. When moving into a new place, the last thing many tenants want to do is diligently inspect every nook and cranny of the house, but it’s these minor issues that become the very cause of disagreements between the agent and the tenant during the final inspection.

Use the initial PCR as a reference, so you and the managing agent have something to compare when it comes to the final inspection. It can be useful to take photos and be as specific as possible.

Form a good relationship with your property manager/landlord

Communication is key to being a good tenant. If there is something on the property that needs attention, make sure to tell the agent sooner rather than later. Building a good relationship with the property manager or landlord and having open honest communication will ease pressure on both parties when it comes to you vacating the property.

Know your obligations as a tenant

Stay educated with the law surrounding your tenancy. This will lower your chances of being short-sighted with any unexpected issues down the track.

You can visit The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website for more information on the laws affecting tenants.

Clean as you go

It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at what the result of leaving the drain untouched or not vacuuming under the couch during the length of your tenancy could be. By regularly cleaning your house, you lower the risks of growing mould, stains or lingering smells. If you have carpets, maintaining them is also important as replacing carpet can cost a fortune if stained or damaged.

Understand the bond refund process

Again, knowing what to expect will save you from any unwanted surprises when it comes to getting your bond back. Understanding the process will make things easier for both you, the real estate agent and the landlord.

In the event of an unresolved dispute, the courts will ultimately decide the allocation of bond monies.

If you make every effort to return the property to the owner in the best possible manner at the end of the tenancy, you are in a good position to have your bond refunded in full.

If you have a query about your rental bond or tenancy agreement, speak with your REIWA property manager or call the REIWA Information Service on 9380 8200.

New Foreigner Owner Duty Surcharge a disappointing blow for WA property market.

REIWA is disappointed the members of WA Parliament have ignored the concerns of the property industry by voting to pass the Foreign Owner Duty Surcharge tax.
REIWA President Damian Collins said the new tax would likely have significant consequences for the WA property market, which was just starting to show signs of a recovery.

“The WA property market has endured a challenging few years. We are just starting to see the green shoots of a recovery on the horizon. A new tax will only serve to further dampen our already weak market and deter much needed foreign investment from the state.

“WA has the lowest level of foreign investment of any state, second only to the Northern Territory. This ill-timed tax will place an additional barrier for people wanting to move to WA and set up a home.

“Although foreign buyers only make up a small proportion of the WA market, it’s a proportion we can’t afford to lose. Especially at a time when the market is showing signs of stabilising,” Mr Collins said.

Foreign buyers of residential properties in Western Australia will pay a seven per cent surcharge from 1 January 2019.

This month the RBA announced that it would leave the official cash rate at 1.5%*

How Much Can I Borrow?

Before you can set a realistic budget for buying your dream home, you’ll first need to find out how much you can borrow.

Your borrowing power depends on your income, assets and current living expenses, as well as the size of your deposit and credit history.

Here are three things to consider in order to potentially improve your borrowing power.

1. How much can you save for a home loan?

Living expenses have a way of eating into your cash flow, so keep a record of what you’re spending. You might be surprised to see where your money is going – and how much you can save.

Cutting back on large and unnecessary expenses might help boost your borrowing capacity, but you don’t have to be too strict with your budget – make sure there is a little wiggle room for things like holidays or brunches with friends.

2. How much deposit do you need for a home loan?

As a general rule, the more money you can put down upfront the better. Sometimes this isn’t an option, therefore a Low Deposit Loan might suit you – often referred to as a No deposit home loan- although this shouldn’t be your first preference.

Not only does a bigger deposit mean you won’t have to borrow as much, it may also help you avoid paying LMI ( Lenders Mortgage Insurance) protects the lender if you default on your repayments.

You are typically required to pay LMI if you need to borrow over 80% of the purchase price, but even a 20% deposit may not cover stamp duty and other fees and charges associated with buying a property.

If you need to add these costs onto your home loan, you may end up over the 80% threshold and liable for LMI, so aim to save at least 25% of the purchase price to create a bit of a buffer.

3. How is your credit rating?

Potential home loans lenders will access your credit history to see if you can afford the loan you are applying for, and whether or not you are likely to repay it.

Having a bad credit history may reduce your borrowing power and can potentially increase your interest rate, so make sure you review your credit history every 12 months to correct any mistakes.

It’s also a good idea to try to avoid extending the limit on a credit card or taking out a loan for a new car in the months before applying for a home loan, as the number of times lenders request your report can impact your credit score.

Understanding your financial position is the first step to boosting your borrowing power. Budgeting carefully, setting a savings goal and building a strong credit history can all help take the stress out of applying for a home loan.

 

 

 

Perth rental market improves in August

The Perth rental market continues to show promising signs of improvement, with the vacancy rate falling to 4.5 per cent in August – the lowest it’s been since April 2015.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said the Perth rental market had shown encouraging signs across all key indicators.

“What we are seeing is a steady yet healthy improvement in tenant activity,” Mr Groves said.

“Steady rents, easing supply as listings for rent continue to fall and stronger demand with more leasing activity all point to the rental market leading Perth’s property market recovery.”

Leasing activity was up 17 per cent in August, with 4,805 dwellings leased during the month.

Mr Groves said reiwa.com data had revealed the suburbs of Leederville, Glendalough and Secret Harbour experienced the most significant growth in leasing activity during August.

“Leederville had more than double the amount of properties leased from July to August, with the volumes increasing by an impressive 183 per cent,” Mr Groves said.

“Typically, as we move into these warmer spring months, the property market should see an overall uplift in activity, and historically the sales market follows the rental market during a recovery.”

Perth’s median rent continues to hold for the 17th month straight at $350 per week, with no changes recorded since April 2017.

Mr Groves said it was pleasing to see stability return to the rental market, giving both tenants and property investors’ greater certainty and confidence in the leasing sector.

Back stronger than before: The 12 Perth suburbs now recording strong price growth after experiencing declines last year

North Fremantle, Bicton and Nedlands are among the 12 Perth suburbs to have experienced house price growth this year after suffering declines last year.

REIWA President Hayden Groves said 12 suburbs across the metro area had defied the declining trends experienced in the 12 months to June 2017, to record strong house price growth in the 12 months to June 2018.

“It’s really pleasing house prices in these suburbs have recovered so well in just 12 months. All of the suburbs on the list have higher median house price values now than they did in 2016 just prior to the decline, which is positive news for sellers in these areas.

“North Fremantle had the strongest rebound in price, with its median increasing 28.1 per cent to $1.23 million in 2018, after declining 0.8 per cent to $960,000 in 2017.

“Bicton came in second, with a 17.6 per cent median house price increase this year after declining 6.5 per cent last year, while Nedlands, Kallaroo and West Leederville saw house prices lift by 15.5 per cent, 14.6 per cent and 13.4 per cent respectively in the 12 months to June 2018,” Mr Groves said.

Helena Valley, City Beach, Claremont, Mosman Park, Winthrop, White Gum Valley and Leeming rounded out the 12.

reiwa.com analysis shows all suburbs on the list had a median house price above the Perth Metro median of $515,000 and seven of those suburbs had median house prices above $1 million.

“Perth’s aspirational suburbs are really leading the way in the property market’s recovery. Last quarter there were more houses sales recorded in the $800,000 and above price range, which is a trend that also occurred during the December 2017 quarter. In addition, recent reiwa.com data also shows 11 per cent of houses sales in Perth now sell above $1 million, which is the highest proportion of million dollar sales Perth has seen,” Mr Groves said.

“Another interesting observation is that nine of the 12 suburbs had faster average selling days than the Perth Metro region average of 66 days, with Nedlands (28 days), Claremont (40 days) and West Leederville (47 days) the standouts.

“There is genuine competition amongst buyers in the luxury end of the Perth market, forcing buyers to act fast in these areas and pay a premium to secure the property. Home owners in these suburbs who are thinking of selling would be wise to take advantage of these favourable market conditions.”

     Suburb Median price (June 2017) Annual change vs June 2016 Median price (June 2018) Annual change vs June 2017
1. North Fremantle $960,000 ↓ 0.8% $1.23 million ↑ 28.1%
2. Bicton $892,500 ↓ 6.5% $1.05 million ↑ 17.6%
3. Nedlands $1.45 million ↓ 3.7% $1.675 million ↑ 15.5%
4. Kallaroo $700,000 ↓ 9.4% $802,500 ↑ 14.6%
5. West Leederville $1.1 million ↓ 1.6% $1.247 million ↑ 13.4%
6. Helena Valley $530,000 ↓ 9.6% $600,000 ↑ 13.2%
7. City Beach $1.627 million ↓ 4.9% $1.835 million ↑ 12.8%
8. Claremont $1.3 million ↓ 3.7% $1.455 million ↑ 11.9%
9. Mosman Park $1.285 million ↓ 1.2% $1.38 million ↑ 7.4%
10. Winthrop $840,000 ↓ 1.2% $899,000 ↑ 7.0%
11. White Gum Valley $682,500 ↓ 3.2% $730,000 ↑ 7.0%
12. Leeming $660,000 ↓ 5.7% $705,000 ↑ 6.8%
Perth Metro  $520,000  ↓ 2.8%  $515,000  ↓ 1.0% 

Median house price data is for the 12 months to June 2018 versus the 12 months to June 2017.
Filtered for suburbs with more than 28 sales.

House sales increase significantly in Pilbara region

2018

There was a significant increase in house sales in the Pilbara region during the June 2018 quarter.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said reiwa.com data showed sales activity had increased a significant 24.7 per cent in Karratha and 16.1 per cent in Port Hedland.

“Sales were also up on an annual basis, with activity in Karratha increasing 41.2 per cent between the June 2017 and 2018 quarters and 5.2 per cent in Port Hedland,” Mr Groves said.

This increase in sales has put downward pressure on listing levels, with reiwa.com data showing there were 27.4 per cent fewer properties for sale in Karratha compared to the June 2017 quarter and 32.3 per cent fewer in Port Hedland.

“With sales activity increasing significantly this quarter, listing stock in the Pilbara region is now being absorbed at such a rate that there’s genuine competition amongst buyers for quality properties,” Mr Groves said.

reiwa.com data also shows house prices in Karratha and Port Hedland have stabilised.

“Karratha’s median house price should settle at $315,000 for the June 2018 quarter, while Port Hedland’s median house price should come in at $205,000. Both median house prices have held up well over the last year, with little change recorded in either price,” Mr Groves said.

“It’s no secret the Pilbara region’s housing market was greatly affected by the WA market downturn. However, the June 2018 quarter results are very encouraging and indicate the Pilbara region is finding its feet again.

“The Pilbara region is one to watch over the next 12 months. The announcement of three new mining projects in the region by BHP, Rio Tinto and FMG has gone a long way to restoring confidence in the area. These new projects are expected to create 20,000 local jobs in the 2018-19 financial year, which will support population growth in the region and improve demand for housing in the area

Landlords vital in the fight against homelessness

Homelessness remains a problem in WA and there is much to be done to help our fellow West Australians affected by this.
National Homelessness Week kicks off on Monday 6 August, with this year’s campaign reminding Australians ‘there’s always something you can do’.

As part of the campaign, Shelter WA will be running a series of events in the metro area to raise awareness of homelessness across the state. Landlords Making A Difference is one of these events (details available at shelterwa.org.au), with WA landlords invited to attend to hear from government, industry and not-for-profit sector speakers about the actions they can take – small and large – to help in the fight against homelessness.

WA needs more diverse rental housing

The private rental market plays a vital role in helping to provide safe, affordable and accessible housing. Recently, REIWA met with Shelter WA to discuss our shared priorities of delivering a more diverse range of rental properties to accommodate WA’s changing housing needs.

Currently, the WA rental market does not adequately cater to those most at risk of homelessness, with Anglicare WA’s 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot highlighting this issue. The snapshot found less than a quarter of rental properties in Perth are affordable for families where one parent is earning the minimum wage and the other is caring for small children, while even fewer properties are affordable to those who receive a pension or other forms of income support.

While these big, systemic issues can feel beyond the scope of any individual, there are still plenty of things landlords can do to make a difference. For example, allowing pets in the home can make a big difference to someone who is fleeing family violence and looking for a new place to rent, but is fearful of leaving their pet behind.

Victims of family violence at risk

Family violence is a key contributor to homelessness. Victims of family violence suffer significant hardships when they are forced to leave a rental home. They are at risk of homelessness, loss of employment opportunities and disruption to their children’s education. They also frequently carry the financial burden when a tenancy ends, such as paying unpaid bills they are not wholly responsible for.

Supporting these victims is just one way landlords can make a difference. REIWA recognises the role our industry plays and we are supportive of the Government’s efforts to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to better assist victims of family violence. We have been working with the Government to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to maintain a supportive environment for property investment, while ensuring victims have better protection within the context of a residential setting.

We all have a part to play in helping those who struggle to find appropriate housing opportunities. I encourage everyone to look at the small ways they can help make a big difference to those sleeping rough on our streets this Homelessness Week.

Support WA’s homeless

If you’d like to help out those sleeping rough on our streets, please consider donating.

By doing so, you’ll be helping REIWA’s Community REInvestpartner, The Salvation Army, provide much-needed services to those in need such as meals, accommodation and crisis counselling.

Donate now

Mixed results for Perth rental market in June quarter

Perth’s rental market produced mixed results in the June 2018 quarter, with stable dwelling rents, subdued leasing activity, declining listings and faster leasing times.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said the June quarter’s mixed results were not unusual given Perth’s rental market was in a transitional phase.

“Although the worst of the downturn appears to be behind us, it’s not uncommon to see results fluctuate as the market transitions into a recovery.

“The change in seasons has also contributed to this quarter’s results, with the cooler weather impacting activity levels. We tend to see activity slow during the winter months before picking up again in spring,” Mr Groves said.

Median rent prices

Perth’s overall median rent price remained stable in the June quarter, holding at $350 per week for a fifth consecutive quarter.

“Rent prices have been stable since the June 2017 quarter, which is pleasing. After experiencing prolonged periods of freefalling rent prices, the stability we’ve observed over the last 12 months is a welcome change and should provide landlords with confidence,” Mr Groves said.

Although Perth’s overall rent was stable, reiwa.com analysis shows 102 suburbs across the metro area did experience median rent price growth.

“The five best performing suburbs for rent price growth in the June quarter were Attadale (up 75.8 per cent to $580 per week), Jolimont (up 50.9 per cent to $423 per week), Burswood (up 33.3 per cent to $480 per week), Booragoon (up 28.4 per cent to $475 per week) and Hamersley (up 28.4 per cent to $430 per week),” Mr Groves said.

“Other top performing suburbs were Karawara, North Fremantle, Mount Nasura, Mount Claremont and Hillarys.”

Leasing activity

There were 12,633 properties leased during the June 2018 quarter.

Mr Groves said leasing activity had declined 10.4 per cent over the June quarter and was down 4.1 per cent compared to the June 2017 quarter.

“The latest population figures for WA shows migration into the state has declined by five per cent, which has likely influenced leasing activity levels in Perth. The rental market feels the impact of changes in population first, with new migrants to the state relying on rental accommodation to set themselves up.

“Tenants are also not moving as much as they were when prices were declining and there were good deals to be had. After 12 months of stable rent prices, lower activity levels suggest tenants are feeling confident rental prices have found a floor and therefore more inclined to stay put,” Mr Groves said.

Despite the overall reduction in leasing activity, reiwa.com data shows there were 71 suburbs across the metro area which saw leasing activity improve.

“The five suburbs which saw the biggest improvement in activity were Brookdale (up 88.9 per cent), Ocean Reef (up 75 per cent), Kallaroo (up 63.6 per cent), Parmelia (up 48.3 per cent) and Hamersley (up 46.2 per cent).”

Rental listings

There were 8,293 properties for rent in Perth at the end of the June 2018 quarter.

Mr Groves said this figure was 2.5 per cent lower than the March 2018 quarter figure and 22.9 per cent lower than the June 2017 quarter.

“Rental listings in the metro area have declined significantly over the last 12 months, with far fewer properties available for rent this year compared to last.

“A key driver for this improvement is the slowdown of new dwelling commencements. With less new properties coming onto the market, existing rental stock is being soaked up faster, putting downward pressure on listing volumes,” Mr Groves said.

Average leasing time

It took 46 days on average to find a tenant in the June quarter, which is two days faster than the March quarter.

“It is also six days faster to lease a property than it was during last year’s June quarter, which is a notable improvement,” Mr Groves said.

“Although leasing activity softened during the June quarter, activity levels remain above long term averages. This, combined with rapidly decreasing listings means tenants are needing to act fa

Seven common mistakes investors makeI

uWhen it comes to winning big in real estate, many turn to property investment. But achieving success takes time and patience, with only a handful making it past their first investment.
To ensure you don’t fall into the property trap talk to an expert and do research.

1. Don’t buy in an overheated market

Momentum Wealth Research Advisor Shaun Strickland said many investors see reports of unprecedented growth in one area and assume this must be the next ‘boom’ suburb.

“If you are reading about a boom in the media, chances are it is already too late to be buying in the suburb. Instead, investors need to be identifying areas that are likely to outperform in the long-term, which is where the advice of a professional buyer’s agent could prove invaluable,” Mr Strickland said.

2. Not doing enough homework

The property market is always changing, and you will never know EVERYTHING there is to know about real estate. But, doing your homework nonetheless is essential and studying the suburb you wish to buy in will make it worth your while.

Mr Strickland believes research is the cornerstone to a successful property investment.

“Identifying high-performing properties requires analysis of demand and supply, knowledge of the local demographic, consistent market monitoring and awareness of other key growth factors,” he said.

“Once investors have narrowed their search to a specific suburb, they will then need to assess the potential of individual streets and properties.”

Another common mistake investors make is that they tend to only research properties within five kilometres of their current location.

Mr Strickland also said “whilst it’s a natural reaction for investors to look in areas they are most familiar with, this could result in them missing out on key investment opportunities elsewhere.”

3. No backup cash

According to Momentum Wealth Finance Team Leader Caylum Merrick, many investors fall into the trap of not saving up a sufficient cash buffer once they’ve actually acquired a property, which could leave them in a disadvantaged position should unexpected scenarios arise such as property repairs, rises in interest rates or tenants leaving a property.

Mr Merrick advises investors to set aside a cash buffer to cover unexpected costs for each property in their portfolio.

“We also advise investors to work with an experienced property manager to understand any of the potential costs that could occur for their particular property,” he said.

Find a property manager

4. Cross-collateralisation

This is when more than one property is used as security for a loan or multiple loans.

“Cross-collateralisation can significantly reduce an investor’s ability to borrow in the future, so it is especially important to seek the help of a mortgage specialist who fully understands their financial needs and long-term investment goals.

“Choosing the right loan strategy from the start can significantly maximise an investor’s borrowing capacity and give them more flexibility moving forward,” Mr Merrick said.

5. No plan, no gain

All property investors have one goal – to build a lucrative property portfolio. However getting there without a plan or goal will backfire. As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

You need to have an end vision of where you want to end up and then follow a strategic plan to get there.

6. Thinking with your heart not your head

With the Perth property market starting to show signs of recovery and stabilisation, interest will grow from property investors, meaning buyers need to act fast to secure their ideal property.

An investment should be look at as a business decision. Making an ’emotional purchase’ is to be avoided at all costs. A decision driven by your heart can lead you to over-capitalise rather than prioritise the best outcome for your investment goals.

Base your decision on facts, statistics and research.

7. Choosing to self-manage

Seeking the advice of a professional can help you avoid making simple mistakes, and they can also play a vital role in helping investors identify opportunities to maximise rental returns.

“Property investment experts can assist investors in identifying properties with the highest growth prospects that a single investor may not be able to discover or analyse on his or her own,” Mr Strickland said.

It can be very daunting trying to handle all aspects of property investment on your own, especially if you have a portfolio of more than one or two properties.

Momentum Wealth Asset Management Advisor Clare Christiansen said property managers play an important role not only in the day-to-day running of properties, but also in supporting an investor’s overall investment strategy and protecting their long-term wealth.

“Property investment doesn’t stop at the acquisition of a property,” she said.

“Savvy investors will also realise that smart asset management is key to their long-term wealth strategy.”

Read more about why property managers are vital to a successful investment.

The 10 Perth suburbs where tenants are snapping up rentals the fastest

White Gum Valley, Scarborough and Shenton Park are among the 10 Perth suburbs where landlords are finding tenants for their rental properties the fastest.

REIWA President Hayden Groves said while on average it takes Perth landlords 45 days to secure a tenant for their rental, numerous suburbs across the metro area were experiencing faster leasing times.

“In White Gum Valley for example, landlords are finding tenants for their rental properties in approximately 27 days – 18 days faster than the Perth Metro average, while in Scarborough and Shenton Park it takes 28 days and in Pearsall and Leederville 29 days,” Mr Groves said.

Best time to buy in Perth since 2013

March 2018 quarter has revealed it’s the best time to buy in Perth since 2013.

The Index, released quarterly, assesses whether it’s better to buy or rent in Perth based on past and current trends in the economic and property market climate.

REIWA President Hayden Groves said the March 2018 quarter index showed the annual rate of house price growth required over 10 years to break even in the Buy-Rent Index had declined from 3.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent over the quarter, suggesting an improvement for prospective homebuyers weighing up the decision.

“To put that into perspective, Perth’s annual house price growth rate has been 5.9 per cent for the last 15 years. Based on the March 2018 quarter Index, house prices in Perth would only need to grow by more than 3.1 per cent annually for buying to be considered more financially beneficial than renting,” Mr Groves said.

“This improvement in buying conditions can be attributed to the Perth median house price softening by 1.9 per cent during the March quarter, while the median house rent price increased $5 to $360 per week. We also saw the 10 year average mortgage rate drop to 6.43 per cent, which means home owners are paying less on their mortgage repayments.

“This is the most affordable buying environment we’ve seen in Perth for some time, so if you’ve been weighing up whether to buy, now is the time to take advantage of favourable market conditions,” Mr Groves said.

Mr J-Han Ho, a Property Researcher and Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics and Finance at Curtin University, said the data indicated a continued improvement for the home buyer in the near future.

“Our analysis shows home buyers gaining an advantage, largely due to the low interest rates for home loans, home ownership costs continuing to be affordable and the median rents stabilising,” Mr Ho said.