Why Are Australians So Passionate About Investment Property?

By Sharon Fox-Slater on 19 Sep 2014
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Why Are Australians So Passionate About Investment Property

Photo: Investment Juan

On the surface, the Australian love affair with investment property is puzzling.

Two thirds of investors lose money each year, shelling out thousands more on related expenses than they receive back in rent, according to the Australian Taxation Office.

Sure, negative gearing rules mean investors can share their loss with the taxman, but they still end up paying at least half of it themselves.

So, what’s driving our love of investment property?

Hope Of Profit Via Capital Gains

We’ve seen first-hand immense rises in property prices over the past few decades, albeit with some pauses and reverses here and there.

Just thinking about how much money we would have made if we’d invested in grungy suburb X, Y or Z 20 years ago can set us salivating – and searching for today’s equivalent.

“For older generations, property investment was one of few realistic avenues for a better-than-pension retirement.”

There are extra expenses whenever you buy or sell, so a negatively geared property needs to increase in value just for an investor to break even.

Control Over Retirement

For some investors, the appeal is not so much about the potential for capital gain as the certainty of rent coming in once the loan has been paid off to help fund retirement.

For older generations, property investment was one of few realistic avenues for a better-than-pension retirement in a pre-superannuation world.

Gen X and Gen Y will also need to invest outside the superannuation system – whether that’s in property or another asset class – if they want to have any prospect of retirement before the age of 70.

For Our Children

Having a fully paid roof over your head is great for your peace of mind. 

Unsurprisingly, that sense of security is something many of us want for our children. 

“Many people who would be too fearful to invest in the share market feel comfortable investing in property.”

Some parents who see rising house prices and fear their children will never achieve home ownership buy an investment property so each child can, in time, inherit a home.

Renovation And/Or Development Potential

The plethora of renovation television shows demonstrate the psychological appeal of using “sweat equity” to improve a property’s value, regardless of the wider property market. 

Property investment can be particularly appealing to tradies with the skills and contacts to make valuable changes without spending too much cash.

Fear Of Alternatives

Many people who would be too fearful to invest in the share market feel comfortable investing in property. They believe that a property investment will always have some value, unlike a shareholding, which could be rendered worthless overnight.

Unlike shares, property can be insured – and quality landlord insurance can help with peace of mind by ensuring the rent comes in even if a tenant defaults or damages a home

About the Author

Sharon Fox-Slater is the Executive General Manager of RentCover, a division of EBM Insurance Brokers which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia. With 20 years’ experience in landlord insurance, Sharon’s top priority is customer service and positive customer comments are her biggest marker of success. Despite leaving school at 15, Sharon has forged a ground-breaking career – she was the first woman to become a Fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association. Sharon was recently honoured to have been included in Insurance Business magazine’s Elite Brokers 2013 list.

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