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Rental properties as a secure long-term investment

Real estate may not be sexy, but…

Rental properties as a secure long-term investment

Rental properties are a secure long-term investment. Note the emphasis on “long-term”.

Check out any seven-year period over the past 50 years (anyone who has read this news site knows that I always recommend buying and holding for at least seven years). Property values have almost always risen.

Sure, the last five or 10 years have seen fantastic appreciation in almost every part of Canada. But, let’s leave capital appreciation out of the equation for now.

Why aren’t we talking about rental income? Or, how about the equity growth through your mortgage being paid down each year?

RENTAL INCOME IS UP, UP, UP!

Part of what makes rental properties attractive is that rent rises with inflation (or even higher, in many cases, as we have seen in urban markets like Toronto and Vancouver). This is how you create your own pension or retirement income! Continue reading “Real estate may not be sexy, but…”

Only two things in life are certain Death and Taxes

Death, taxes and interest payments. Part 2 of 2.

Only two things in life are certain Death and Taxes

Part 2 of 2….  In Part 1, we examined rental properties and how they can be a great way to reduce your taxes, build net worth and create an income stream.  Part 2 looks at Interest payments.  Interest payments are a big part of our personal expenses.  Here are a few suggestions on how to reduce your interest costs.

Continue reading “Death, taxes and interest payments. Part 2 of 2.”

Only two things in life are certain Death and Taxes

Death, taxes and interest payments! Part 1 of 2.

Only two things in life are certain Death and TaxesDeath and taxes, the only two things that are certain in life. You’ve heard this one before.  I think there is a third thing that can be just as stressful, ‘interest payments’ (before this article becomes too depressing, I’m going to share some things that will help to reduce our interest costs and minimize our taxes).  Continue reading “Death, taxes and interest payments! Part 1 of 2.”

The End of Rent Control? Bring it on!

Rent Control Blog Image, Nov 2018

Ontario’s controversial rent control is about to come to an end – and that’s a positive change!

When I was attending a speaking session with one of my favourite economists – Benjamin Tal – a few weeks back, he had a great quote: “There’s a Swedish economist who said, ‘Rent control is the best way to destroy a city, maybe besides bombing it.’”

Isn’t that the truth?!

In the GTA, rental units are scarce. And, says Tal, rent control would only further diminish the already depleted supply of available units. 

Continue reading “The End of Rent Control? Bring it on!”

TD & RBC raised the POSTED rate… but not their REAL rates

Rate Image, May 2018

Much has been written about last week’s Posted rate hikes by TD and RBC. Don’t panic! This is just their posted rate – it’s not the actual rate they give to clients.

I do, however, think we’ll see a minimal rate hike in the coming weeks due to five-year Government of Canada bond yields increasing slightly. Fixed rates are priced closely to bond yields.

Continue reading “TD & RBC raised the POSTED rate… but not their REAL rates”

REAL facts on Housing Prices… they’re not dropping like you may think!

House Prices Blog Image, April 2018

In recent months, we’ve seen the mainstream media publish several stats and articles about Canada’s declining real estate market.

The popular stories go something like this: Home sales fall by 22%; or Home prices drop by 10%. Does that sound familiar? Bad news grabs our attention. It’s human nature.

Now, for a dose of reality…

It’s true, there are fewer home sales when compared to last year’s crazy red-hot housing market. In 2017, home sales and home prices were up 20% and 25% in the first four months of the year. That pace is unsustainable. We don’t ever want to match that pace. Continue reading “REAL facts on Housing Prices… they’re not dropping like you may think!”

Ontario Housing Market: Increased Opportunity for Investors!

Ontario Housing Market Stats Image - April 2018

Rental vacancies are ridiculously low and demand for rental units is high… and growing!

That’s just a sampling of the opportunistic real estate investment news Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC’s Regional Economist for Ontario, shared recently at the Canadian Mortgage Brokers’ Association (CMBA) of Ontario annual conference.

Here are other main takeaways:

  • Strong 2017 economy helped ease imbalances
  • Sales and new home starts expected to slow
  • Prices to grow moderately
  • Eastern & Western Ontario will outperform Southern Ontario
  • Mortgage delinquencies remain at record lows – much lower than credit card or car loan debt

Continue reading “Ontario Housing Market: Increased Opportunity for Investors!”

Rent is up, vacancy is down… rental properties make sense

Real Estate Investment Image, Feb 2018

Rental properties are a secure long-term investment. Note the emphasis on “long-term”.

Check out any seven-year period over the past 50 years (anyone who has read this news site knows that I always recommend buying and holding for at least seven years). Property values have almost always risen.

Sure, the last five or 10 years have seen fantastic appreciation in almost every part of Canada. But, let’s leave capital appreciation out of the equation for now.

Why aren’t we talking about rental income? Or, how about the equity growth through your mortgage being paid down each year?

RENTAL INCOME IS UP, UP, UP!

Rents have definitely gone up with inflation (or even higher, in many cases, as we have seen in urban markets like Toronto and Vancouver). This is part of what makes rental properties attractive rent rises with inflation and, in many cases, even higher. This is how you create your own pension or retirement income! Continue reading “Rent is up, vacancy is down… rental properties make sense”

‘Stock investing is dead’, says World’s largest Bond fund manager.

For those of you that have made little or negative returns on your mutual funds and stocks, this statement might sound familiar.  Bill Gross is a founder and managing director of PIMCO,  They manage over $1.7trillion of securities.  His latest Investment Outlook paper had some very strong statements.

He says the historic 6.6% return on the stock market is more of a ponzi scheme.   And we shouldn’t expect the stock market to keep up with the real cost of living.   WOW!… strong words, but coming from someone who manages more money than several countries GDP,  we should pay some attention.

So if stocks and mutual funds aren’t cutting it and aren’t going to cut in the future, where do we turn?   There was no clear answer given in Mr. Gross’ article.   But maybe it’s time to look elsewhere…  There is one investment that has proven to stand the test of time.  Real Estate.  Real estate doesn’t have to appreciate in value to generate a positive return…but of course, it usually does.  How’s that you say?  Well, let’s take a close, but simplified look.

If you bought a property for $300k and put a $60k or $70k down payment, rented the house out, and paid your mortgage off in 20 or 25 years (by the way, the average time to pay a mortgage in Canada is between 12 and 17 years), you would own a tangible asset worth $300k.   And let’s not forget the rental income that just keeps being generated each and every month, year after year…. We can use any number for this but a realistic rent on a $300k property would be in the $1300 to $1600/mth range.  But remember, rents go up with inflation… so we should also expect rents to increase with cost of living.  And if they don’t increase, then inflation isn’t an issue…

Yes, the first 5 years or so, may not see a positive cashflow.. maybe even a negative one… but any loss could be written off against your income… and eventually, you would be in a positive position as your mortgage balance decreases.

Real estate investments scare most of us.  We don’t understand what’s involved.  We imagine the worst… the possible tenant from hell, that doesn’t pay for 6 months or destroys your property….or buying the money pit and having major repair bills, or mortgage rates going up making our payments unaffordable.     But in reality, if you are careful with your property selection, put the time in to manage and watch your property, and are careful with tenant selection, you will be with the majority of investors that see their investment perform well… you will build equity in your property as the mortgage gets paid over time.    And hopefully, the value of your property will only go up…

Maybe it’s time to invest in something we can see, touch and take care of….  instead of a piece of paper like stocks shares or mutual funds.  There’s a growing number of Canadians that are fed up with the stock market and mutual funds… fed up with paying 2% management expense ratios or 6% deferred sales charges only to come out with a negative return….  How may of us have been forced into mutual funds or stocks because we’ve been told to invest into RRSPs to reduce our taxes and invest for retirement?   Has that formula really worked for anyone?  If you want to look at something different but certainly not new, then take a look at real estate… you may be pleasantly surprised.

If you need help with understanding mortgages and how financing an investment property works,  please feel free to contact me.  I’m always happy to help.

Steve Garganis

Real Estate Investments outperform stock market

Saw this article in the Financial Post over the weekend…  great stats about timing real estate investment…  There is a growing fear that interest rates will rise causing affordability to decline… Okay, for now, let’s say that we do except that the global and US economies will suddenly improve  and govts can then raise rates…. Should this stop you from buying real estate?   Is this a bad time to invest?

According to the stats in this article, the answer is NO.   From 1992 to 2011, the average house in GTA increased from $214k to $465k.  That’s 116% increase or a compounded annual return of 3.94%   But if you factor in just enough rental income to cover your costs, then your return jumps to 11.40%…. compared with the TSX index return of 8.69%.   And hey, we didn’t factor in any rent increases…rents have also climbed dramatically over the past 20 yrs…

But what if you bought during the peak of 1990, just before prices dropped….  well, your return would still outperform the TSX index with a 8.94% annualized return.    And now let’s really think about this for one second…. How many people out there have actually invested in the TSX index?   I mean, come on…  No stock broker or Investment Advisor I know has ever recommended that.. they never do.. they pick mutual funds, stocks, etc…  and guess what?  I’ve yet to hear from anyone out there that has made a good return in the last 20 yrs…  In fact, most people I hear from tell me they have lost or just broken even…

Now, combine this info with the fact that we are still enjoying RECORD LOW interest rates and it’s very easy for me to say, I’d rather buy property than ride the stock market roller coaster…

There are some things to consider before buying that rental property…  how long should you plan to buy and hold?  What are the possible negatives?  Can you deal with tenants?   etc… but this is just some fact-finding… the knowledge is out there… it really isn’t that hard to do… you just need to ask questions and get informed.. it is possible..   If you need some advice on buying rental properties, send me a note and I’ll be happy to share my advice and strategies.

EVEN AMANDA LANG……?

One more thought… I was watching Amanda Lang on CBC a few weeks ago… she’s well spoken and very bright… but I have to take exception with one of her comments….  It was during a round table discussion… I only caught a bit of it but she made reference to real estate not matching inflation over the long-term… she was advocating other options for us to invest….  Come on Amanda, really?   Do you want to take  poll and see how many people have lost money in stocks and mutual funds??    And then let’s compare with how many have made or lost with real estate?

I don’t know about you, but my stock and mutual fund performance has been an on-going roller coaster ride with my Financial Advisors giving me the same speech for 24 years.. you know the speech… it’s from the movie, the Boiler Room with Ben Affleck, Vin Diesel and Giovanni Ribisi…   “don’t sell when it’s low…buy more, this stock is gonna come back….”  Last I checked, the most wealthiest people made their fortunes in real estate….   Sorry Amanda, I can’t agree with you on this one…

Investing in a multi-unit properties? Take care…

Recently, I noticed something very strange happening with multi-unit properties and I want to share two experiences with you…

I was approached to refinance 2 separate and different Multi-unit properties by 2 completely different borrowers.    Both properties were in the Greater Toronto area.   They were both in great condition and were bringing in good rental income.

Property 1 was purchased in 2008 for $385k.  There are 3 legal rental units.   It generates good rental income of $3700/month. The owner paid utilities.

Property 2 was purchased in 2006 for $610k.  There are 3 legal rental units.  It generates rental income of $3400/mth…. The tenants paid utilities…(it should be noted that Property 2 is in a more expensive part of town where real estate prices are higher).

Fast forward to today…. Based on current appraised values, Property 1 is currently worth $460k, Property 2 is currently worth $660k.   Keep in mind that these are actual rents for both properties.

So how can this happen?  It’s clear to me… the buyer’s of Property 2 overpaid in 2006….Property 1 is in a less expensive part of town but the rental income and condition of the property are more relevant when dealing with investment properties….

How can you avoid this mistake?  Seek out the help of a good Mortgage Broker… A good broker can seek out the opinions of a recognized real estate appraiser… and even crunch the numbers with an experienced Lender to determine the property’s Lending Value…

As an aside, the average sale price of a single family home in GTA in 2006 was $350k…. today, it’s around $427k.   Multi-unit dwellings can be attractive but consider single family homes if you want to invest in real estate.  Always discuss the purchase with a trusted group of advisors… including your Mortgage Broker.

 

Vacancy rates fall in Canada…there’s an opportunity here.

Here’s some interesting stats  from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.    Apartment vacancy rates are down…

The national vacancy rate is 2.6% compared with 2.8% from October 2009.  CMHC attributes this to the economic recovery.. according to CBCnews.ca.

We are also hearing reports of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) buying up properties as they expect  the rental market to remain strong.

And here’s one more article about the Florida housing market… 90,000 homes and condos were bought by International Investors…  read more here.

Add in historical low mortgage rates and this looks like a good time to buy an investment property…. Consider that a $250,000 mortgage will carry for around $1072/mth based on a 5 year fixed rate of 3.79% (lower rates are available but we’re using a higher rate for illustration purposes).      Something to consider….

Is this a good time to buy a Rental property?

Owning a rental property can be a great way to build your net worth and also enhance your income.   In recent years, house values increased to a point where it was next to impossible to find a property that had a positive cashflow.

The biggest cost in owing a rental property is the mortgage.    And we are seeing historical low interest rates …. under 4.00% for a 5 year fixed and variable rates of under 3.00%….

Does the math work for you? Let’s take a look at a mortgage I arranged for someone who bought a townhouse for $320,000. Here’s what the math looked like:

  • We arranged a 1st mortgage for $256,000.
  • negotiated a 5 year fixed rate of 3.89% amortized over 35 years.
  • Monthly payment is $1127.
  • property taxes are $240/mth.
  • tenant pays $1500/mth rent plus utilities.
  • end result is a $133/mth positive cashflow.

This was a good situation.. not all rentals will produce a positive cashflow but they don’t always have to.  There are usually some tax advantages to owing a rental property that is producing a slight loss..

Here are my tips when buying a rental property:

  • you should plan on holding for at least 7 years… most economic cycles will have run their course in that time and property appreciation is more likely…any initial costs incurred when the property was purchased are easier to absorb over that time.
  • speak with your accountant and mortgage broker about obtaining the best financing…it usually makes sense to buy with as little down as possible, finance as much as possible and minimize or eliminate any profits to reduce income tax exposure….again, speak with your accountant.
  • maximize the amortization your rental property so  you can minimize the amount you pay towards the principal portion of the  mortgage… again, this requires thorough of your personal situation but generally speaking, most borrowers carry other personal debt that should be paid off before the rental property mortgage.
  • pay off all other personal debt first….. good debt is tax-deductible debt like a rental property mortgage….bad debt is non tax-deductible debt like credit cards, personal loans, mortgage on your principal residence.
  • I love variable rate mortgages, but when it comes to rental properties, you need to consider a fixed rate… it’s important to know what your costs are when buying a rental property… many lenders don’t even offer a variable rate mortgage on rental properties which will limit your choice of lenders.

Qualifying for a mortgage on a rental property has changed significantly in recent years.

The biggest changes started immediately after the U.S. mortgage crisis in October 2008.  Lenders all but stopped financing them.  Earlier this year, the Federal government stepped in and changed CMHC’s rental policies for those with less than 20% down.   I would say it’s almost impossible to qualify for a 1st mortgage greater than 80% on a rental property with ‘AAA’ rates.

And for those with 20% down or greater (a conventional mortgage), it was still difficult to qualify.  Most lenders changed their polices here as well.   Some Lenders wanted as much as 35% down or had debt servicing ratios that were not reasonable or practical.

The good news.… Lenders are interested in rental properties again.. not like pre-Oct. 2008 days, but we are seeing more reasonable qualifying.   These record low rates make rental properties very appealing...

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