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As Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw could tell you, there are many perks to apartment living, which makes them a fantastic investment option.

They offer people the ability to live close to work and exciting entertainment hubs, where many a social drink can be had within walking distance of home. After all, who wants to live out in the burbs when you can be in the heart of the action? Sure, you might not have your own patch of dirt to toil over, but unless you’re over the age of 60, gardening is overrated.

Indeed, apartments offer attractive rental yields and an entry point into the market in locations that might otherwise be unaffordable for investors. Last May, CoreLogic anticipated there would be 231,129 new units set for completion across the combined capital cities by April 2018. And with such a large supply of apartments, price drops seem likely, so you may very well be able afford your own version of Carrie and Big’s “heaven on 5th”. Here are some tips for choosing the right investment apartment, and when you do, we would love to help you find the right loan!

Location, location, location!

Location is king when choosing an investment apartment – nobody wants to live in a box in the boonies! Proximity to amenities such as public transport, healthcare, recreational facilities, childcare and schools will impact on the rental appeal of your investment and the rent you can get away with charging tenants. Apartments and units with great tenant appeal also tend to experience more reliable capital growth, so choosing the right apartment can help you profit both ways.

Do your homework

Knowledge is power! We recommend you thoroughly research an area before buying. Consider supply and demand for apartment living in the area and find out what are other apartments are renting and selling for. That way, you’ll have a sound understanding of what a given property is worth and the potential rental yield.

Consider your future tenants

Think about who your future tenants might be and what they are looking for in a home. Will they be like Carrie, and require a massive built-in wardrobe to house their Imelda Marcos-style shoe collection? Perhaps features like a parking spot in the CBD may be in particularly high demand. If you can anticipate your tenants’ needs, your apartment is more likely to be highly sought after.

Consider the ongoing fees

As Samantha would say, sky-high strata fees are “painful and unnecessary”. Before buying, calculate your net rental yield to estimate your likely return, factoring in the strata fees, interest repayments, insurance, taxes, rates and water charges. Lastly, before you sign on the dotted line, don’t forget to organise a strata inspection report, which will raise any red flags about the accounts and records of the property.

When you do find an investment apartment that ticks all your boxes, we can help you find you a home loan that fits like a glove. As your mortgage broker, we’ll help you get a competitive rate from one of Australia’s leading lenders and structure your investment property loan so that you get the most out of it – now and in the future. Happy apartment hunting!

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As we head into the Easter long weekend, activity in the national housing market continues to ramp up. Home prices in Australia’s biggest cities have jumped 3.7 per cent since the start of the year and Melbourne and Sydney continue to lead the way, with strong property price growth and high auction clearance rates.

Last month saw notable growth in home values in Darwin and Hobart, and while we continue to see a two-speed market across the country, there are some great investment opportunities out there.

Interest Rate News

This month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the official cash rate on hold again at 1.5 per cent. The decision follows an announcement by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on Friday 31 March that financial institutions restrict new interest-only property lending to 30 per cent of their total residential mortgage lending, in a bid to manage heightened risks in the property market.

Many lenders adjusted rates outside of RBA movements this month and raised rates on both owner-occupier and investment loans. They increased rates on both variable and fixed-rate products. That makes it more important than ever to stay on top of your home loan interest rate. Check in with us and we’ll compare hundreds of different home loan products to find the right one for you.

Property Market News

Bidders are continuing to snap up properties at auction, with high clearance rates last week in Victoria, NSW, South Australia and the ACT. For the week ending April 2, Victoria had 1231 auctions, with a clearance rate of 80 per cent, while NSW held 1284 auctions, with a clearance rate of 78 per cent. South Australia and the ACT both had clearance rates of 76 per cent, while things were quieter on the auction front elsewhere.

In March, home values increased in all capital cities, with the biggest percentage changes month-on-month in Darwin (3.07%) and Hobart (3.06%). Darwin’s year-on-year home values dropped 4.41%, while Hobart’s increased 10.24%. Melbourne home values increased 1.92% month-on-month and 15.93% annually, while Sydney’s home values were up 1.41% month-on-month, and a massive 18.88% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the proportion of total housing finance commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers is at an historic low. Talk to us to see how you can take advantage of recent improvements to the First Home Buyer Grant to get into the market sooner.

With interest rates remaining low, now is a great time to buy your first home, invest or consider refinancing. We’ll find you the right home loan to suit your personal needs and goals, potentially saving you thousands in the long-run. Call us today!

How to Spot a Good Fixer-Upper
Buying to renovate and sell can be a lucrative investment strategy, allowing investors to potentially make a fast profit with minimal effort and expense. However, the key is to find the right fixer-upper – one that gives you a maximum increase in value for minimal expenditure. Cha-ching!

As your mortgage and finance broker, we love to pass on juicy tips that ultimately help you to use your property investment dollars wisely. So, how do you spot that diamond in the rough that will become your renovation goldmine? Well, it takes a good deal of detective work, a resourceful imagination and some logical reasoning when it comes to renovation spending. Right, time to channel Sherlock, folks!

Step 1: Narrow down your leads

Finding the right location is paramount for any property purchase. The aim is to target run-down properties in suburbs with solid growth potential. Ultimately, the property should be close to amenities such as schools, shops and public transport, but not so close to the train line that the front door rattles all night long!

If you’re buying for investment purposes, always remember your end-goal, which is to sell post-renovation. Research what’s in high demand in areas you’re interested in, as well as the value of renovated properties in the suburb. Searching for phrases like “renovator’s dream” and “deceased estates” in real estate advertisements will narrow down your options.

Step 2: Follow the clues and do your detective work

When you find a potential fixer-upper, you need to quickly develop a keen eye for detail. Research the neighbourhood thoroughly and investigate any external issues that could affect your investment. Is the area flood-prone? Is there a high crime rate that could impact upon liveability? Is there noise pollution? Lastly, consider any legal or heritage restrictions that could put a dampener on your renovation goals.

Once you have ruled out potential external glitches, it’s time to concentrate on the finer details and test out your powers of observation. Is the structure sound and are the roof, walls, doors and windows in good condition? Are the foundations strong? Are there any issues with the electrics and plumbing of the property? The last thing you want is to be paying through the roof for non-cosmetic upgrades. It’s a good idea to invest in a pre-purchase building inspection and study it with your trusty magnifying glass.

Step 3: Consider different scenarios and mastermind your makeover

Warning: this may require a good deal of imagination! Being able to overlook retro linoleum floors and garish wallpaper can be tricky, but keep in mind the golden rule of renovation: minimal effort, maximum returns. Cosmetic enhancements that will drive up the value of the property are what you want. Flaky paint, scruffy carpets, old cupboards and dated bathroom fixtures can all be upgraded with minimal effort and cost. Many experts recommend seeking out properties with older bathrooms and kitchens that can easily be renovated.

Also, it’s a good idea to consider the layout and convertibility of the property. Can you add value by playing with the dimensions? Can you knock down walls to create a more open-plan living space, or add walls to create new rooms? Can a puny window be transformed into a spectacular natural light portal? How could you revamp the garden?

A good sleuth knows when to trust their instincts, and if your gut is telling you you’ve found your fixer-upper, it’s time to speak to a reputable mortgage and finance broker like us about how to finance your property purchase and renovations.

Step 3: Close the case

Our final tip is to make sure you stay within budget once you’ve found your renovator’s dream. Don’t overspend on improvements, but don’t skimp on quality either. Spend time and money on renovations that will give you the best return on investment and make the property stand out to prospective buyers.

We hope you’ve found these tips for spotting a good fixer-upper handy. We can provide expert advice about obtaining finance for your property investments and renovations. We’ll analyse the thousands of home loan products out there and test them under our microscope to ensure they measure up. Please get in touch with our team today.

 

 

With another Christmas celebrated and already showing up on our waistlines, a common topic of conversation for many of us in January is our New Year resolutions.

Whether it’s a pledge to give up smoking, get to the gym more often, or start (yet another) healthy eating regime, New Year resolutions usually have a self-improvement or healthy living focus. But what about your finances? A healthy financial situation is just as important to your well-being as a healthy diet and exercise regime. Here are a few New Year resolution suggestions for your finances that could make a big difference to your financial health in 2017 and beyond. If one of these appeals to you, please give us a call as we’d love to help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions this year.

“I will make a proper budget and stick to it.”

Did your credit card debt go up or down in 2016? Spending more than you earn is surprisingly easy to do and having to pay exorbitant credit card interest on all of your purchases just makes matters worse. The secret to turning this situation around is to create a proper budget for yourself and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to include repayments on your credit card as a weekly expense in your budget outgoings, so you can work on getting your debts paid off as well.

To create a realistic budget, list all of the things you need to spend money on and how much they cost. The amount you have left over each week is the amount you can afford to spend on the things you want, put into your savings account, or use to pay off your debts sooner. It’s also important to review your budget regularly to see how you are tracking.

If you have multiple credit card debts, or a variety of debts, you may find managing your budget a challenge as a large part of your income may be lost on interest payments. This kind of situation is frequently referred to as a ‘debt trap’. Talk to us about consolidating your debts to reduce your interest payments and make your financial situation more manageable.

 “I will make an effort to achieve my saving goals.”

The ability to save money consistently is a talent that everyone should cultivate. It’s particularly important if you’re saving a deposit for your first home, as a lender will take your savings history into consideration when deciding if you are eligible for a home loan.

If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to stick to a budget, can’t resist impulse purchases, or indulges in ‘retail therapy’, then you may like to consider installing an app on your mobile phone that supports your efforts to save. ASIC’s MoneySmart website offers a variety of excellent free apps designed to help you manage your finances:

  • TrackMyGOALS integrates techniques that are proven to work for successful savers.
  • TrackMySPEND helps you see where your money is really going so you can adjust your spending habits to save more. Even just committing to reducing the number of take away coffees you buy each week can make a big difference over a full year!

“I will stop wasting my money on rent.”

For many people, choosing to rent a property instead of buying one boils down to a lifestyle choice. It may be more affordable to rent a property in a location where you enjoy living, than it is to buy one. But the consequence of this choice is that when property prices rise, you are potentially missing out on some significant capital gains that could be important to your financial well-being later on in life.

What’s more, the money you spend on rent is wasted – you are potentially paying off someone else’s investment when you could be paying off a property of your own. So the question is: do you have enough money for a deposit?

If you have been saving regularly and have some money in the bank, now is a great time to take stock of what kind of property you may be able to afford this year. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and help you work it out!

Getting on the property ladder may mean that you have to consider a location where you can afford to buy, rather than a location where you prefer to live. It may mean giving up your short commute home from work, or easy access to your friends and family, favourite bars, shopping venues and cinemas. But with property prices rising steadily, the long-term benefits could have a significant impact on your future financial security and retirement lifestyle, so it could be worth it to act now.

“I will review all of my financial accounts, including my home loan”

When was the last time you stopped to think about how much money you are paying on fees every year for your mortgage, bank accounts, credit cards and superannuation plans? Most people would be horrified to discover exactly how much money they lose every year in fees and charges across their financial accounts – so it definitely pays to review them regularly and cancel any unnecessary accounts you hardly ever use and don’t really need.

For example, the fees and charges you pay on your superannuation accounts can be quite high and they often go unnoticed. Over the years, these fees and charges may add up to make a big difference to the balance of your super on retirement. The fact is, if you have more than one superannuation account, you are paying double the fees you need to pay! Consider consolidating all your super accounts into one as soon as you can.

The same rule applies to your credit cards. How many do you really need? What are you using them for? If you have more than one, it may be a good idea to transfer all of the balances to one card using a free balance transfer offer. This not only has the potential to save you a significant amount of money on fees, it could also save you some money on interest and perhaps, help you to pay off your credit card balances sooner. Don’t be tempted to keep all of the old cards though, remember to cancel them as soon as you make the balance transfer.

If you have a mortgage, now is a good time to look at which features and benefits it provides, and if you are using them. Do you really need them? Is your home loan the most suitable for your current financial goals? If not, talk to us so we can see if you could be saving on fees, getting a more favourable interest rate or accessing the loan features you need!

We can help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions

Our role as your mortgage broker is to help you arrange your credit and finance to maximise the money you have. We’re here to help you save on interest wherever possible. Whether it’s time for a home-loan-health check on your existing mortgage, or you would like to find out how much you can afford to spend on buying a property, you’ll find our expertise and support invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals. We are even willing to help you find better ways to manage your debt and plan to build wealth for your future.

Financial success means setting some financial goals and making a step-by-step plan to reach them. With a credit and finance professional on your team, you are much more likely to get where you want to be. If you would like to buy a property in 2017, then we can help you achieve your goal by assisting with everything from setting your purchasing budget and getting pre-approval on your home loan, to supplying you with insightful property market data so you can locate the right home to buy more quickly.

Make sure your New Year is a happy one by talking to us about getting on top of your finances. It is one New Year resolution you’ll find very easy to keep! Call us to make a time today.

 

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the break and Santa was kind to you and your family this Christmas. Are you ready for another fantastic year in our property markets?

As the Reserve Bank of Australia will not meet until the first Tuesday in February for its initial rate meeting for 2017, there is no change to the official cash rate to report this month. However, whilst some analysts are speculating there may be another cash rate cut as early as next month, they are also suggesting there is little reason to expect the cut will be passed on to consumers by many lenders.

This is because lender’s rates are also linked to their actual costs, rather than RBA movements alone. In November and December of 2016, many lenders adjusted rates upwards slightly, particularly on fixed interest rate loans, with several more following in January. We can expect lenders to continue with this approach to rates in 2017 as they respond to global financial market movements and trends, as well as local conditions.

As expected for this time of year, activity in our property markets has slowed to a near standstill as people take time out to enjoy the holidays and fantastic summer weather with family and friends. For the week ending December 25, there were just 97 auctions in Victoria with a clearance rate of 74%, 89 in NSW with a clearance rate of 80%, 37 in SA with a clearance rate of 78% and in QLD 36 auctions with a clearance rate of 47%. Our smaller markets showed even less activity, with just 13 auctions in WA showing a clearance rate of about 80%, 14 auctions in ACT with a clearance rate of 90%, and just 1 auction in NT and 3 in Tasmania with no sales.

In contrast to this huge reduction in property market activity, home values continued to rise in many markets during December. In Sydney, home values increased by .91%, Melbourne 3.14%, Brisbane/Gold Coast .60%, Perth 1.39%, and Hobart 3.31%. Adelaide showed a decline in home values of 2.00% for the month, Canberra .26% and Darwin .10%.

Generally speaking, 2016 was a great year for home owners and property investors in terms of home value increases, with only Perth showing a small decline for the year. All other markets performed well, with Sydney showing the most substantial home value increase for the year at 15.46%, closely followed by Melbourne at 13.86% and Hobart at 11.24%. Home values in Canberra increased by 9.29%, Brisbane/Gold Coast 4.40%, Adelaide 4.23% and Darwin .93%.

With interest rates still very low and looking to remain that way for some time, conditions continue to look good for property buyers in 2017. We’re anticipating a very busy year, with plenty of housing stock available for buyers and good scope for further home value growth for home owners. Now is a great time to see us to talk about your plans and get ready for the year if you may be in the market to make a property purchase, or to get your annual home-loan-health check if you are a home owner, so please give us a call soon.

Enjoy the rest of the summer holidays!


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