Property investments: what to look out for

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The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia is warning advisers that the rumours around superannuation taxes could unsettle their clients and cause them to invest in other asset classes that might not be in their best interests. ASFA CEO Pauline Vamos said that if clients lose their tax concessions on their super, then they will look for them elsewhere, namely, in property. Like any other investment, property needs a lot of advice, she said, and advisers should warn clients not to automatically dive in.

“The last thing you want is being too overweight in one asset class – by the time you have your own home and a couple of investment properties, all your money is one asset class,” she said. “The issue with property, particularly in self-managed funds, is that it’s often hard to sell when you retire.”

There are also other costs to consider; entry cost, mortgage cost, loan application fees and the high cost of property management, said certified financial planner Paul Levy. He said he is more worried that if the government keeps making changes to super, then clients will dump it as a whole concept, rather than just change asset classes.  “If they get turned off that; that defeats the whole purpose of what super was intended for in the first place.”

Charter Hall Direct Property is already expecting a reallocation of cash to direct property in 2013, as direct property provides both stable income yields and the potential for capital growth. Unlisted direct property is expected to be a popular alternative for investors searching for higher yielding investments.

“Direct property has a compelling investment case and the asset class is well placed given the historically large positive spread between property yields and debt costs, long leases and sensible debt and liquidity structures,” said head of Charter Hall’s retail investor division Richard Stacker.

“Those looking to unlisted property for security and sustainable income need to make sure they have quality long term leased assets in their portfolio, rather than lower grade, shorter lease term investments which offer slightly higher yields however come with a higher risk profile.”

  • Geoff Moore on 20/02/2013 9:10:19 PM

    Why is it that so many consider the often flawed notion that you need to sell your investment property on retirement! Clients need income and want to avoid volatility. Property can give them better than fixed interest returns and growth that keeps pace with inflation. Geoff Moore, A Better Choice Financial Planning

  • Wayne Slager, Real Property Advice on 20/02/2013 12:48:48 PM

    We welcome statements and warnings such as Pauline's "Like any other investment, property needs a lot of advice..." which, of course, is entirely correct but the sad facts are that a) the sources of independent, ethical and transparent property advice are few and far between (yes, we'd welcome many more providers) and b) many planners don't appreciate the client value and business opportunities that a relationship with such advisers could provide them and their clients.
    We'd encourage further industry conversations on this topic.

  • WGibson on 20/02/2013 10:21:17 AM

    Another option for property in a SMSF is the emerging fractional investment model which enables a SMSF to invest up to their asset allocation and to diversify across a number of properties in much the same way as the fractional ownership structure of the sharemarket. The SMSF earns income from rent and capital growth on the percentage they hold. The SMSF can sell their units at any time to another investor using an online trading platform,regardless of whether the property title is sold. It's an online hybrid of and ETrade.

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