Three years ago, the idea of investing in the Western Sydney suburb of St Marys was thought by many to be a ‘risky move’.
Now, of course, any investor who doesn’t own property in Sydney is kicking themselves. But hindsight is a wonderful thing – and it was only a few short years ago that Sydney’s west was often considered downmarket.
Betty Lieu wasn’t one of them. After she began collaborating with Meridian Australia, an investment real estate agency specialising in researching growth markets, she did some investigating of her own.
Her research convinced her that the area was primed to move, prompting her to purchase a three-bedroom investment home for $312,000.
You already know the ending to that story: Sydney boomed, and Betty’s property soared in value. Almost three years later, in 2016, a valuation on her property has revealed 56% growth and $175,000 in equity gained.
After such a successful start in property investing, which city is Betty funnelling her funds into for her next investment?
A helping hand to get started
Before we look forward, let’s look back at where it all began for Betty. She says she always understood the benefits of investing money, though she wasn’t quite sure where to begin.
It wasn’t until she received an inheritance from her father that she finally found herself in a position to explore her investment options.
“I wanted to have this money working for me rather than wasting away in a savings account,” she says.
She began by educating herself on property investment, and attending investment seminars. That gave her the confidence to take action, which led to her purchase in St Marys in 2013.
While she admits that entering the property market can be intimidating, she’s very pleased that she took the plunge – and why wouldn’t she be? Already her bet has paid off, as she was able to generate a six-figure profit from her very first foray into investing.
Hoping to replicate those results once again, Betty began investigating other property markets around Australia, which led to her researching the Sunshine State.
Betting on Brisbane
Fast-forward three years from her first purchase and Betty turned her attention to her next investment property.
She spent some time researching economic trends, yields, infrastructure and government spending, employment and other relevant factors, then decided to use the equity from her first property to take the leap into her second purchase.
“My only regret is not having the courage to start sooner!”
After analysing market conditions, Betty decided the suburb of Carseldine in Queensland was the right fit for her strategy.
Carseldine is a suburb of Brisbane situated around 16km north or around a half-hour’s drive from the CBD. It’s the home of the Carseldine Farmers
& Artisan Markets, North Brisbane's famous produce, foodie and craft market, and has its own train station that shuttles commuters to and from the city.
Betty’s strategy for success comes down to comprehensive research and analysis of the market, which allows her to make informed decisions, based on statistics, to invest in lucrative properties with a potential for growth. She chose Carseldine because it’s an appealing family-oriented suburb in a growing suburban area of Brisbane, and is therefore a strong prospect for future growth.
“My goal has always been to grow a portfolio of property investments, and I treat property investing like building a business. I use the equity earned from one investment property to purchase another and to purchase property that has a solid cash flow, ensuring that they are easy to hold,” she explains.
“I like to identify markets with the strongest growth potential, and invest in properties within these markets which are best suited to the local demographic, with the strongest possible cash flow … My key focus will always be foremost the growth potential, though – this is the key to me for a successful portfolio.”
BETTY’S TOP 3 TIPS FOR PROPERTY SUCCESS
• Capital growth is king, cash flow is queen.
The best piece of advice I received was when I sat down with my property mentors for the first time and they explained that the key to a successful portfolio is growth.
• Balance is essential.
You need both growth and cash flow working together to have the most successful portfolio.
• Make every investment decision an informed one.
The most successful investors will have a wide scope for investment, and will not be restricted to the markets they live in. Help is out there for this – if you look in the right place.
Betty is banking on the Brisbane suburb of Carseldine to deliver strong growth, as her next investment was a four-bedroom townhouse that she purchased for $420,000.
“Brisbane currently contains great fundamentals, and I believe that Carseldine is well positioned to be a strong performer,” she says.
Considering current record-low interest rates, she believes that the income received from rent and her tax deductions will give her the opportunity to virtually break even from a financial perspective, while the asset continues to grow in value over time.
Only the beginning
Having experienced such success with her first investment, Betty says she’s pleased to have made “no mistakes so far”, and attributes the smoothness of her investing journey to the support and guidance she has received along the way.
“Originally I spent quite a lot of time trying to do the research myself, but I found it was extremely time-consuming and confusing. If I could go back and change anything, I would have approached a mentor earlier and saved myself some headaches and a lot of time.”
Staying true to her tactic of treating property investment like building a business, Betty says she plans to use the equity she’s made on past investments to accumulate more properties and more equity.
Her ultimate goal for the number of properties she will buy is undecided, but Betty says the sky is the limit.
“I plan to purchase my third property within a year’s time, using equity earned from a combination of my Carseldine investment property and St Marys,” she says.
“My only regret is not having the courage to start sooner!”