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Top 10 Major Risks Faced by Moreton Property Investors



Today we present a back to basics lesson on Property Investing from Pete Wargent.  You can never go to wrong when you stick to the everyday basics of Investment.  Now with more people looking at the Moreton property market again, this article is a timely reminder.

We all understand that all types of investment including property investment comes with a risk. So let’s discuss the 10 pre-eminent guises of investment risk, as they apply to Australian property investors.

Moreton Property Investment Risks

 1. Market risk (or systematic risk)

Market risk may affect all investments in an asset class in a similar manner, such as in the event of a market-wide price crash. As such, market risk that cannot easily be mitigated through diversification. While buying properties in different states might diversify market risk to a partial extent, if the wider property market crashes, diversification is unlikely to assuage the systematic risk successfully.

Property investors should additionally invest in other asset classes that tend to move in a non-correlated manner to real estate. Property investors can also focus upon a longer investment time horizon which allows correcting markets greater opportunity to recover.

2 Liquidity risk

Equates to the possibility that an investor may be unable to buy or sell an investment when desired (or in sufficient quantities) due to limited opportunities.

Illiquidity is a salient risk in real estate. It is difficult to sell a property quickly should the need arise, which is not the case for large-cap stocks or government bonds. Liquidity risk in Australian property is best mitigated through investing in landlocked capital city suburbs with eminent demand and constrained supply.

3 Specific risk (or unsystematic/business risk)

Equities investors and fund managers talk much of specific or business risk, being the measure of risk associated with a particular stock or security. Also known as unsystematic risk, this typically refers to the risk associated with a specific issuer of a security. Businesses in the same industry may have similar types of business risk, and issuers of stocks or bonds may become insolvent or lack ability to pay the interest and principal in the case of bonds.

Specific risk in property investment is somewhat different, and rather relates to the risk of acquiring a loss-making property or one which delivers sub-optimal returns giving rise to opportunity cost. Specific risk can be mitigated through diversification, although this can represent a challenging proposition in property as dwellings tend to be expensive.

One frequently invoked strategy of property investors is to acquire different types of property in different states. Careful, detailed due diligence and research of any property purchase also tends to reduce (if not eliminate) specific risk.

4 Interest rate risk

Normally refers to the possibility that a fixed-rate debt instrument will decline in value as a result of a rise in interest rates. Where an investor buys a security offering a fixed rate of return, he introduces an exposure to interest rate risk. Examples thereof including bonds and preference shares (preferred stocks).

In Australian investment property, the interest rate risk instead lies in variable rate mortgages as the cost of debt capital can materially increase when the Reserve Bank ratchets up the cash rate. The risk can be mitigated through the use of fixed-rate mortgages and prudent cashflow management.

5 Foreign exchange risk (or currency risk)

Arises from a movement in the price of one currency against another. When the Australian dollar appreciates, the value of foreign investments declines. Conversely, if the dollar weakens the value of foreign investments effectively increase.

Presently the strong Aussie dollar attracts investors to overseas investments, in particular to US real estate. A good strategy? Maybe. Our dollar may depreciate, and regional US property markets have corrected. But is there a foreign exchange risk in investing overseas? Absolutely, for exchange rates are inherently unpredictable. Few commentators in 2008 opined that the Aussie dollar could ever be worth 110 US cents, and yet it indeed became so.

Currency risk tends to be greater for shorter-term overseas investments, which have insufficient time to revert to a mean valuation in the same manner as longer-term equivalent ventures.

6 Sovereign risk (or social/political/legislative risk)

Sovereign risk is associated with the possibility of unfavourable government action or social upheaval resulting in investment losses. Governments retain the power to amend laws affecting investments, and rulings which result in an adverse investment outcome are representative of legislative risk. One frequently highlighted legislation risk in Australian property investment is the possible phasing out of the negative gearing tax rules.

Investing in developing or unstable countries variously offers opportunities for substantial returns but, reflecting the principles of the risk-return trade-off (of the CAPM model) may bring a heightened associated sovereign risk.

7 Credit risk

Credit risk normally refers to the possibility that a bond issuer becomes unable to service expected interest rate payments or a principal repayment. Typically, the higher the credit risk is, the higher the interest rate on the bond.

In property investment, credit risk often lies in the investor rather than the lender, although there is of course a possibility that lending institutions can become insolvent as was seen in the US as the subprime crisis played out. Property investors should retain a liquid buffer in order to mitigate the risk of mortgage default.

8 Call risk

Also usually refers to bond issues and the possibility that a debt security will be ‘called’ prior to maturity. In bonds, call risk prevails when interest rates fall, as companies redeem bond issues with higher coupons and replace them on the bond market with lower interest rate issues to save cash.

Can call risk impact Australian property investors? Indeed, but conversely when interest rates run higher. Investors with high exposure to adverse interest rate movements may be considered risky by mortgage providers cyclically. Investors in Australian commercial property have periodically been subjected to the real estate equivalent of a margin call, being forced to reduce debt exposure through the redemption of assets.

9 Reinvestment risk

Usually refers to the risk that future coupons from a fixed-interest investment will not be reinvested at the interest rate prevailing when it was initially purchased, a risk that increases in likelihood when interest rates decline. Zero coupon bonds are the only fixed-income instrument to eliminate reinvestment risk due to having no interim coupon payments.

The most straightforward strategy for property investors to avert reinvestment risk is simple: never sell.

10 Inflation risk

Also known as purchasing power risk, the possibility that the value of an asset or income stream will be eroded as inflation diminishes the value of a currency. The risk is the potential for future inflation to cause the purchasing power of cash inflows from an investment to decline.

Inflation risk is best countered through investing in appreciating assets such as real estate, dividend-paying stocks or convertible bonds, each of which has a growth component allowing them to outperform inflation over the long term. The uplifting news for property investors is that favourably located Australian real estate is well recognised as a tremendously effective inflation hedge over time.

You can see more from Pete Wargent at his blog.

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Investment Advice

SEQ Population Growth needs 12 Springfield-style mega cities to cope: Planner



Southeast Queensland needs a dozen mega-developments like Springfield if it is to cope with the extra 2.2 million people over the next three decades, a respected urban geographer has told Fairfax Media.

Springfield is expected to be home to 80,000 people by 2030. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Springfield is expected to be home to 80,000 people by 2030. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Professor Bob Stimson, Emeritus Professor in Geographical Sciences and Planning at the University of Queensland, told Fairfax Media there would be 5.5 million living between Noosa and Tweed Heads within three decades.

Professor Stimson – an analytical human geographer and regional scientist for 49 years – said Southeast Queensland could no longer rely on increasing densification with the existing area.

Population growth will require up to a dozen mega-planned communities to cope with an extra 2.2 million people. Photo: Glenn Hunt  Read more:

Population growth will require up to a dozen mega-planned communities to cope with an extra 2.2 million people.Photo: Glenn Hunt

Professor Stimson said between “10 and 12” large master-planned communities like Springfield or North Lakes – on Brisbane’s northern-edge – would be needed for the extra 2.2 million people.

“There is no way that all of the growth that is going to occur can be accommodated through urban infill,” Professor Stimson said.

“You are still going to need greenfield growth, fringe growth,” he said.

“So the big issue for Southeast Queensland over the coming decades is that you are probably going to need 10 or 12 of those types of developments to be occurring.”

Greater Springfield is a privately-owned 2680 hectare master-planned community south of Ipswich that has around 20,000 residents in two suburbs; Springfield and Springfield Lakes.

It started around 1995 and is planned to have 80,000 residents by 2030.

Professor Stimson said “green belts” between the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast were under pressure, but he believed would be protected because of the state government’s Southeast Queensland Regional Plan.

He said there was land near Beaudesert and Ipswich and between Brisbane and the Gold Coast for residential development.

“There is plenty of land that is not prime agricultural land, that is not ecologically important land, national park or high conservation-value land that could be taken up for that sort of growth.”

On Friday Australand launched a $400 million master-planned community for 25,000 people over 25 years called The Rise at Park Ridge in the Logan City Council area.

Australand’s Queensland general manger of  residential growth Cameron Leggatt said the development targeted low-cost home and land packages ($280,000) and provide 13,000 local jobs over 25 years as part of 2450-hectare project.

“With housing affordability throughout Brisbane and South East Queensland out of reach for many Australians, The Rise is keeping the dream of home ownership alive,” Mr Leggatt said.

Professor Stimson warned that jobs growth needed to accompany residential growth if it pushed further west than Ipswich.

He said jobs growth remained concentrated in the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane to Gold Coast line.

“Over the years I have been quite a critic of the Southeast Queensland planning process, which has tried to force growth into that western corridor because all the economic data demonstrates all the jobs growth is along the linear corridor that stretch to the north and south of Brisbane.”

Unemployment figures show Ipswich’s unemployment rate marginally higher in May 2015 than Brisbane’s western suburbs.

Unemployment – May 2015

Brisbane’s southside – 5 per cent

Brisbane’s inner-city – 5.5 per cent

Brisbane northside – 5.6 per cent

Gold Coast – 6.1 per cent

Brisbane West – 6.3 per cent

Moreton Bay – 6.3 per cent

Sunshine Coast – 6.8 per cent

Ipswich – 7 per cent.

However Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said Professor Stimson appeared to be unaware of new job developments in Ipswich.

Ipswich’s labour market statistics show unemployment beginning to fall from 9 per cent to 7.4 per cent, with 2600 jobs created since March.

“We have a massive amount of industrial, commercial and retail development including the largest concentration of transport and logistics companies in Australia with DB Schenker, Northline and TNT at Redbank,” he said.

Cr Pisasale said jobs were being created at the new HOLCIM project underway at Swanbank, the new GE Electrical building at Springfield Central and with the Orion Shopping Centre doubling in size.

“RAAF Base Amberley is also continuing to expand with a workforce of more than 5000,” he said.

“Ipswich and the western corridor has a major role to play in satisfying growth in Southeast Queensland.

“We can’t continue to simply concentrate growth within Brisbane and the coastal fringe if we think we will maintain the same quality of life.”

In May 2010 former premier Anna Bligh announced plans for three mega-cities in Southeast Queensland to provide homes for 250,000 people.

Those three cities – at Ripley (near Ipswich), Yarrabilba (south of Logan) and Bromelton – about six kilometres south of Beaudesert – are all underway

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Investment Advice

Low interest rates cuts negative gearing ATO investor claims in 2012-13



Low interest rates cuts negative gearing ATO investor claims in 2012-13

Low interest rates cuts negative gearing ATO investor claims in 2012-13


Record low interest rates have shown up in new statistics from the Australian Taxation Office, in a sizable drop in negative gearing tax claims by property investors.

Claim for rental properties fell from around $13.8 billion to $12 billion between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years.

The latest statistics for 2012-13 show that 1.26 million people deducted losses made on investments (including mortgage interest) from their overall income, from the 12.7 million lodged individual tax returns.

The overall cost of negatively-geared rental properties has fallen by $2.4 billion, or 31 per cent, in 2012-13, due to record low interest rates and higher rents.

The Tax Office’s latest statistics shows 1.9 million landlords.

The value of rent returned was up 8.6 per cent to $36 billion but the value of interest claimed was down 6.7 per cent to $22 billion.

While the number of landlords with negatively-geared properties increased by almost 60,000, their tax deductions fell 13 per cent.

​The highest number of property investors claiming tax deductions had a taxable income – after tax deductions – of between $37,000 to $80,000 a year.


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Investment Advice

Nearly two milllion negative gearing investors across Australia: ATO



Nearly two milllion negative gearing investors across Australia: ATO

Nearly two milllion negative gearing investors across Australia: ATO

Negative gearing property investors now total 1,967,260 across Australia, according to the ATO latest data.

That’s up from the 1,895,775 in the previous tax year, 2011-12.

There were 1,811,175 investors claiming rental income in the 2010-11 year.

The ATO has a investor rental video series on working out your tax correctly.

The statistics for the 2012–13 income year were sourced from 2013 individual income tax returns processed by 31 October 2014. The statistics are not necessarily complete.

This data is not representative of the total number of properties.


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