It seems investing in real estate in Australia is not just a pastime for the super-wealthy, with the results of a recent survey showing the household income for more than half of the country’s landlords is less than $150,000 a year.
According to the 2015 LJ Hooker Investor/Tenant Survey, 37% of landlords have a household income of under $100,000 and a further 29% of respondents earned an annual income of between $100,000 and $150,000.
Amy Sanderson, head of property management at LJ Hooker, said the survey results show the accessibility of property as an investment class.
“Across Australia and New Zealand, LJ Hooker manages more than 150,000 residential properties for landlords, which underlines the importance and accessibility of real estate as an investment option for the wider community, not just the wealthy,” Sanderson said.
While property may very well be an investment avenue open to the majority of people, Helen Collier-Kogtevs, managing director of investment advisory firm Real Wealth Australia, said there still is a perception that it’s only for the wealthy.
“For newbies, they’re thinking that they need a lot more than they’ve got, but those that have actually started to dabble in it and start to get a little educated and learn a little bit more about what’s involved are more understanding of the power of their position,” Collier-Kogtevs said.
“I’ve got a lot of clients whose household income is under $100,000 and they’re able to buy one or two properties in a relatively short period of time. Yet when they came to us they thought can we buy even one?” she said.
For those who may be looking to invest while on a lower income, the first and most important step is a simple one.
“At the end of the day it’s about budgeting. You’ve got to do a budget to identify where there are gaps. Simple things like that coffee you might buy every day at work, you’re paying $4.50 to $5 for a latte. Just saving that can make a significant difference to the overall disposable income at the end of each year,” Collier-Kogtevs said.
“Another example I give clients is you can buy Bonds [underpants] at David Jones and you can buy Bonds at Big W and the reality is they’re the same Bonds, it’s just the price tag that changes,” she said.
While some simple budgetary changes can go a long way to helping people achieve their goals, Collier-Kogtevs said some people do take some more significant steps.
“Once people develop their strategy and realise they need to boost their income some of the things they adopt might be taking on a boarder or it may be reducing some of their bad debt so there’s less money going out paying those bad debt bills.
“I’ve also had clients that have decided to rent their own principal place of residence in order to get into investing, so they’ll go and rent themselves and rent out their own homes.”
According to the LJ Hooker survey, the majority of investors realise property is unlikely to be a get rich quick investment, with 58% of respondents saying they are looking for a balance of capital gains and cash flow, which Collier-Kogtevs said is an important point to remember.
“The general public wants get rich quick, without a doubt.
“My clients realise it’s going to be a long-term strategy. Would they like to retire in five years’ time instead of 20? Absolutely, but while that’s possible people are realising is that when you understand your strategy that’s when you can shorten the process.”
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