In this blog I share my current property investing strategy (as at August 2020), because there is a window of opportunity for investors that is likely to close soon. I outline the main points below.
At present, some banks are lending 80% on investment properties, which is good news for investors. At the same time, however, the banks are getting more challenging to deal with. They are checking spending behaviour, job certainty, serviceability etc., and rumours are that their lending criteria will only get tighter over the next 12 months. Therefore, we as investors have a limited but golden opportunity to refinance and extract working capital for future investments.
In my opinion, it would therefore be prudent for investors to restructure the finance on their portfolios to 80% now in order to release working capital. With interest rates so cheap and economists and banks saying they are likely to remain low for at least five years, there has never been a better time to borrow. In my view it makes sense to refinance, and this is what I am doing at the moment.
By refinancing so you have access to funds, you will be able to act quickly if you spot a good deal, which brings me to my next point – the property market.
I work closely with a number of real estate agents, and they inform me that they are incredibly busy at the moment. The market is buoyant and there are lots of buyers – first home buyers, parents buying for their children, Kiwis returning from overseas, and people upgrading. Combined with the current low interest rates (which make borrowing attractive), the result is high demand for properties.
On top of this high demand, there is not enough housing stock. This means there is a lot of competition in the marketplace, with buyers fighting for the same properties – and in some cases purchasing houses without even seeing them.
There are also more people looking for places to rent, so rents for houses are consequently increasing. This translates to better cash returns for buy-to-hold investors.
Because the market is so hot at present, you should have your finances ready so that if you see a good deal you can jump on it ASAP. As I see it, prices are going to keep rising – not only due to high demand but also because the cost of new building is going through the roof, which will push up the price of existing housing stock.
In summary, although there is considerable competition for houses at present, in my view it is a great time for investors to take advantage of the low interest rate environment and add to their portfolios (as long as the numbers work, of course).
By Chas Gunarathne