Author Topic: Is real estate investing worthwhile?  (Read 18364 times)

Alchemisst

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Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« on: March 09, 2024, 02:37:06 AM »
I have been considering an investment property mainly for the negative gearing tax savings. Would it be worthwhile or is it better to just keep more in the index.

deborah

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2024, 03:42:12 AM »
I donít have any investment property. However, itís good for diversification, if you know what youíre doing. Certainly, people like @Ozlady are heavily into investment property, and itís worked well for them.

Most investments, including shares can be negatively geared, so I donít think negative gearing is a good reason to decide to invest in something you donít understand well. You need to be able to distinguish between good and bad investments. We had someone on the forum some years ago who had several investment properties in mining towns when there was a slump. Because she was negatively geared, she was in a lot of pain, especially when it became difficult to find a renter.

lush

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2024, 12:00:13 AM »
I think it is. We clearly have a housing crisis underway and that does not look to be resolved in the near term. If it is something that you can manage financially, a well located property can bring significant gains.

Dicey

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2024, 02:52:25 AM »
Indexes never, ever call to say the toilet's broken.

Alchemisst

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2024, 03:45:17 AM »
I donít have any investment property. However, itís good for diversification, if you know what youíre doing. Certainly, people like @Ozlady are heavily into investment property, and itís worked well for them.

Most investments, including shares can be negatively geared, so I donít think negative gearing is a good reason to decide to invest in something you donít understand well. You need to be able to distinguish between good and bad investments. We had someone on the forum some years ago who had several investment properties in mining towns when there was a slump. Because she was negatively geared, she was in a lot of pain, especially when it became difficult to find a renter.

Other investments such as shares can be negatively geared, however the interest rates are much high and the leverage much lower. It seems like the everything here including taxes are geared towards property. I don't think the U.S has negative gearing for example?

Gremlin

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2024, 03:52:44 PM »
Other investments such as shares can be negatively geared, however the interest rates are much high and the leverage much lower. It seems like the everything here including taxes are geared towards property.

I've seen this blanket statement several times in different forms on many investment related forums.  It's simply not true.  The security determines the interest rate.  The purpose determines the deductibility.  The investment doesn't have to be the security.

We've negatively geared both property and shares at various stages.  We've positively geared property and shares for much longer periods of time than negatively gearing them (which I understand is not necessarily the norm, but actually helped us sleep at night).

There was a place for both.

There's definitely more time required in managing an investment property than in shares.  Even with a good property manager doing most of the legwork.  With a dud property manager, and there are plenty of them out there, it can be an extraordinary amount of time (and money!). 

To answer your initial question though, I would never choose an investment mainly because of perceived tax advantages.  It has to meet the purpose as an investment first and foremost. 

For us, we held an IP for about 15 years that provided diversification, regular income and some capital growth.  It was an underperformer as an asset.  You can't hold 'the index' in property, so you're going to either be a genius who outperforms or a mug who underperforms.  Depending on how much research you do, it increases the likelihood of genius or mug, but there's also plenty of moving parts outside your control.

WayDownSouth

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2024, 04:07:10 PM »
Other investments such as shares can be negatively geared, however the interest rates are much high and the leverage much lower. It seems like the everything here including taxes are geared towards property.


To answer your initial question though, I would never choose an investment mainly because of perceived tax advantages.  It has to meet the purpose as an investment first and foremost. 



I can tell you 100% this piece of advice above is THE best and simplest and wisest answer you will get. If you don't really hear what he's saying, you're getting too far ahead of yourself. Focus on the word PERCEIVED which he wrote, that is extremely important.


Gremlin

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2024, 09:15:58 PM »
*blushes*

Aww shucks!

Alchemisst

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2024, 03:42:51 AM »
Other investments such as shares can be negatively geared, however the interest rates are much high and the leverage much lower. It seems like the everything here including taxes are geared towards property.

I've seen this blanket statement several times in different forms on many investment related forums.  It's simply not true.  The security determines the interest rate.  The purpose determines the deductibility.  The investment doesn't have to be the security.

We've negatively geared both property and shares at various stages.  We've positively geared property and shares for much longer periods of time than negatively gearing them (which I understand is not necessarily the norm, but actually helped us sleep at night).

There was a place for both.

There's definitely more time required in managing an investment property than in shares.  Even with a good property manager doing most of the legwork.  With a dud property manager, and there are plenty of them out there, it can be an extraordinary amount of time (and money!). 

To answer your initial question though, I would never choose an investment mainly because of perceived tax advantages.  It has to meet the purpose as an investment first and foremost. 

For us, we held an IP for about 15 years that provided diversification, regular income and some capital growth.  It was an underperformer as an asset.  You can't hold 'the index' in property, so you're going to either be a genius who outperforms or a mug who underperforms.  Depending on how much research you do, it increases the likelihood of genius or mug, but there's also plenty of moving parts outside your control.

Not too sure what you mean here, I looked into leveraging into shares but the interest was always much higher, and the amount I was able to borrow much lower than a mortgage.

deborah

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2024, 04:11:29 AM »
You usually borrow money with something as security eg. your house. Money is borrowed for a purpose eg. to buy shares. The security and the purpose donít have to match. The interest you pay on the loan is based on the security. The tax deduction is based on the purpose.

Your accountant should be able to tell you how to do this so the interest is low and the tax office agrees that the purpose of the loan is share investment.

I agree with everything gremlin has said.

However, if you really understand the property market and are prepared for the pros and cons, itís a way to diversify, and it can give pretty good returns, just like buying individual shares rather than the share index. But both can blow up in your face if you donít understand what youíre doing.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2024, 04:21:37 AM by deborah »

Alchemisst

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2024, 07:20:42 AM »
You usually borrow money with something as security eg. your house. Money is borrowed for a purpose eg. to buy shares. The security and the purpose donít have to match. The interest you pay on the loan is based on the security. The tax deduction is based on the purpose.

Your accountant should be able to tell you how to do this so the interest is low and the tax office agrees that the purpose of the loan is share investment.

I agree with everything gremlin has said.

However, if you really understand the property market and are prepared for the pros and cons, itís a way to diversify, and it can give pretty good returns, just like buying individual shares rather than the share index. But both can blow up in your face if you donít understand what youíre doing.

In this case i'm not using a house as security, which is why i'm saying that housing seems to have much better lending terms, including if you are using the house as security. Without that the terms are much worse.

deborah

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2024, 09:35:20 AM »
Why wonít you?

mjr

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2024, 03:46:55 PM »
I think that negative gearing to reduce tax is a poor basis to justify an investment.  I don't want to be negatively geared, by definition it means I'm losing money.

Deborah has already mentioned diversification and that indeed is a good reason.  However, I have a PPOR to provide tax-free real estate exposure and it sounds like you do too.  Granted, being a PPOR makes it pretty well unable to be liquidated.

Reasons I hate property as an investment vehicle:

It's illiquid.  You need to sell everything to access any capital gains.  This invariably will be taxed heavily given our income tax thresholds.  Yes, there's the capital gains discounts but still.  You have to weigh up your negative gearing tax "savings" against what you'll pay when you sell.

Yield on residential property are very low.  2-2.5% is not uncommon.  Given how illiquid property is, yields may matter more to you than they would as opposed to focussing only on total return, it's typically a long time between buying and selling.

The goverment hits you with land tax and stamp duty.  These are much more expensive than MERs on index funds.

Real estate agent fees.

Maintenance (see Deborah's blocked toilet example). Tenant issues.  Inspections.  Depreciation schedules.  Insurance. Valuations for insurance purposes.  Fire safety.  They go on and on.

Equities are of course the main alternative.  Returns are comparable, some years equities are better, some years it's real estate.  Pay brokerage once on buy, once on sale.  MERs are low or non-existent for direct share ownership.  No on-going government or other fees and charges.

Need to access funds if dividends aren't enough ? Sell off just what you need to keep income taxes low.   This reason by itself is huge.

WayDownSouth

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2024, 04:35:13 PM »
I think that negative gearing to reduce tax is a poor basis to justify an investment.  I don't want to be negatively geared, by definition it means I'm losing money.

Deborah has already mentioned diversification and that indeed is a good reason.  However, I have a PPOR to provide tax-free real estate exposure and it sounds like you do too.  Granted, being a PPOR makes it pretty well unable to be liquidated.

Reasons I hate property as an investment vehicle:

It's illiquid.  You need to sell everything to access any capital gains.  This invariably will be taxed heavily given our income tax thresholds.  Yes, there's the capital gains discounts but still.  You have to weigh up your negative gearing tax "savings" against what you'll pay when you sell.

Yield on residential property are very low.  2-2.5% is not uncommon.  Given how illiquid property is, yields may matter more to you than they would as opposed to focussing only on total return, it's typically a long time between buying and selling.

The goverment hits you with land tax and stamp duty.  These are much more expensive than MERs on index funds.

Real estate agent fees.

Maintenance (see Deborah's blocked toilet example). Tenant issues.  Inspections.  Depreciation schedules.  Insurance. Valuations for insurance purposes.  Fire safety.  They go on and on.

Equities are of course the main alternative.  Returns are comparable, some years equities are better, some years it's real estate.  Pay brokerage once on buy, once on sale.  MERs are low or non-existent for direct share ownership.  No on-going government or other fees and charges.

Need to access funds if dividends aren't enough ? Sell off just what you need to keep income taxes low.   This reason by itself is huge.

Another excellent post...

"I bought 3 properties 4 years ago and sold them all last week and doubled my money!"

The same person who says that is spending twice as much today for the same exact lifestyle they lived 4 years ago so what was their real gain? A ton of running around and dealing with crap that wasn't required at all? Great investment... Better to do something you enjoy!

With that said, I'm not saying there is nobody who exits their property (yes, even residential) with great gains but people definitely fail to see the larger picture and focus solely on the digits.

Lukim

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2024, 09:22:12 PM »
I currently have 3 investment properties (and my wife has 2).

I have agents who look after them.  Generally, I have not had a lot of problems but when you get a problem, it can be a real pain in the neck.

In the past I have twice had horror tenants who basically destroyed the inside of the properties before leaving in the middle of the night (the damage was a lot more than the rental bond and even accessing the bond in NSW was difficult).

I currently have one where there is a plumbing issue - that I can deal with but it has caused damage to the apartment below and I am now in a dispute with the owner below and the body corporate.

The cash returns on investment properties are not great.

Investment properties are not liquid and getting in and out of them is very expensive (stamp duty, agents fees etc etc).

I would just think carefully about it and not be guided by potential tax losses.


jaysee

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2024, 07:07:04 AM »
I agree with WayDownSouth's take.

Also there seems to often be an implicit (unstated) assumption that leverage = good. I would question that assumption. Especially given the current climate of high and rising interest rates.

If you want to increase your risk exposure in stocks there are safer and simpler ways to do so without leverage, e.g. tilting to small-cap value. This can be done by simply investing 20% of your stock portfolio in a split such as AVDV/AVUV/AVEM. (See: https://www.optimizedportfolio.com/ben-felix-model-portfolio/). This is what I've done.

But that said, if you have a passion for property and are willing to treat it like a small business venture, I wouldn't discourage you. You can probably make a decent return on it.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2024, 07:09:38 AM by jaysee »

WayDownSouth

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Re: Is real estate investing worthwhile?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2024, 03:39:29 PM »
I agree with WayDownSouth's take.

Also there seems to often be an implicit (unstated) assumption that leverage = good. I would question that assumption. Especially given the current climate of high and rising interest rates.

If you want to increase your risk exposure in stocks there are safer and simpler ways to do so without leverage, e.g. tilting to small-cap value. This can be done by simply investing 20% of your stock portfolio in a split such as AVDV/AVUV/AVEM. (See: https://www.optimizedportfolio.com/ben-felix-model-portfolio/). This is what I've done.

But that said, if you have a passion for property and are willing to treat it like a small business venture, I wouldn't discourage you. You can probably make a decent return on it.

I know plenty of people who have made good & quick returns on real estate, but they're usually in the construction trade.

I think being a homeowner and being able to upgrade your home and/or location to something better without increasing your monthly payment (if you have one) is good, so good for them. Also, owning a shitload of homes (like 25+), or an apartment building, or a few strip malls, etc. can definitely be legit business but for the average person, real estate is a shitty investment - especially if you're paying a mortgage.

I mean, sure, once it's all paid and done you DO hold that asset, but when you consider the garage full of tools, your afterwork/weekends spent mowing lawns, all the things you had to buy to maintain the property, the cost of taxes, etc., that renting can often be cheaper and easier. On the other hand, if you're buying somewhere to live permanently, have no kids, and are buying cash, well, in that case who really cares if the price goes way up or way down because it's yours from the first day (assuming you keep paying taxes on it) until the day you die or sell it.

I feel a lot of conditioning has been put into buying a home being some wonderful investment. In reality, most of us become slaves to interest and the mortgage payment...

Some people really do enjoy flipping, buying, renting, owning a few homes... And hey if that's your cup of tea that's fine too but I think I align heavily and for very good reason that real estate is a pain in the ass and there are 100 faster, better, less-hassle ways to find MUCH larger returns. At least for the average person. A lot of this really depends where you live, what you know, and what kind of capital and credit you have.