Capital city cash cows

Capital city cash cows
August 16, 2018 Propertyology

When asked why they haven’t bought an investment property, many Australians say, “I can’t afford it. How am I supposed to pay for it?”

I’ve heard it time and again from those who haven’t seen a proper analysis of the figures. Fortunately, I’m a numbers guy.

While Propertyology has already well documented the plethora of affordable investment opportunities across parts of regional Australia, there are also plenty of suburbs within Australia’s capital cities with high rental returns that make it easier on landlords to patiently wait for capital gains.

The primary objective of most investors is long-term capital growth, but this strategy requires financial resilience. You need to cover all outgoings over an extended period to benefit from price rises. As such, finding investments where the tenant pays the vast majority of the holding costs means you are not placed under fiscal stress while waiting for a market to heat up.

We know every market, both capital cities and regionals, perform differently at different times. After all, Australia isn’t one big, linear property market. Just look at today’s real estate environment. Sydney and Melbourne are in a downturn while Brisbane remains flat and Hobart continues to fire.

But whether a market is moving up, down or sideward, it’s cash flow that gives investors the option on whether to hold or sell.

And, for anyone who thinks capital city investing is expensive, Propertyology’s analysis disproves that.

Price accessible properties appeal to a wide segment of buyers and generally produce above-average capital growth over the course of time. Importantly, they are kinder on the household budget, too.

The analysis

Propertyology analysed data across every suburb in all eight capitals and unearthed the Top 5 in each city based on the annual cash flow position for a typical property.

The table below lists all 40 suburbs in order of best cash flow.

The analysis focussed on detached housing, so units and apartments have been excluded from the figures.

Calculations are based on median rents, interest expenses depending on whether an investor purchased with a 10 per cent or 20 per cent deposit, and a provision for other standard holding costs such as repairs, maintenance, council rates and charges.

Many of the locations are actually cash-flow positive, which means just by buying the property, some investors are enjoying a boost to their annual income of over $3000 per year.

Even in suburbs where you do need to contribute, the maximum an investor will be out-of-pocket each month is $500. That’s just over $100 per week, or the cost of a decent date night.

This proves there’s no need to be financially stressed when building a solid portfolio to secure your financial future.

And there’s a bonus. Our analysis hasn’t allowed for any depreciation or negative gearing benefits, so once those are factored in, your cash flow position will look even more impressive.

And the winner is…

Looking nationwide, Darwin and Hobart have far more opportunities for investors to purchase properties where cash flow is king.

Australia’s best capital city cash flow suburb is in Karama in Darwin, located 10 kilometres from the GPO and has a median house price of only $392,000. This investment will generate a positive cash flow of $3600 per year if purchased with a 20 per cent deposit. It’s still cash flow positive with only a 10 per cent deposit.

While Darwin’s market has been an underperformer over the past three years, investors won’t be as concerned if they own a property that’s actually supplementing their income. It’s an excellent example of how cash flow buys an investor time.

Hobart’s property market continues to produce the strongest capital growth in the nation and there’s plenty of cash flow positive options for under $250,000 in suburbs like Risdon Vale and Chigwell.

Price growth cycles are still ahead for Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, so high cash flow options are likely to pay off sooner in terms of value gains.

Fifteen kilometres south of Brisbane’s CBD, a typical house in the suburb of Coopers Plains can be purchased for just $400,000 and will be cash flow positive by $3600 per year. Cedar Vale, Russel Island, Blackstone and Gailes round out Brisbane’s Top 5 and are cash flow positive opportunities, too.

For comparative purposes, the annual cash flow shortfall on a $977,500 median house price in Ashgrove (5 kilometres west from GPO) purchased with an 80 per cent loan is $16,005. 8 kilometres north of the GPO, it will cost an estimated $10,955 per year to hold a typical property in Nundah (median house price $719,500).

The best cash flow properties in Perth are located between 25 and 35 kilometres out of town. Typical housing in suburbs like Brookdale, Hillman, Dayton, Armadale and Medina are all under $300,000, making them very price accessible and ready to enjoy a market upswing.

Adelaide’s cash flow positive suburbs are located in the northern suburbs, between 22 and 27 kilometres from Adelaide’s GPO, or a similar distance south along the coast.

And the rest

Our analysis of the data shows that in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, there are no suburbs where an investor can buy a detached house and expect it to be cash flow positive with a deposit of 20 per cent or less.

Even though it’s 80 kilometres from Sydney’s GPO, the Central Coast (Wyong and Gosford) are technically part of Greater-Sydney, while Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains has a median house price of $500,000.

A house in Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast will cost $3093 per year to hold. Compare that to somewhere like Blacktown, 38 kilometres west of Sydney – that suburb has a median house price of $740,000 and an investment there will cost you $11,775 per year to maintain, even if you have a 20 per cent deposit. The figures are even worse for Hornsby, where a median house price of $1.33 million will leave you $26,152 a year worse off.

These investments look particularly tough when you factor in that Sydney’s growth phase has just officially ended.

Greater-Melbourne’s best locations for cash flow investors sit within the municipality of Melton – 40 kilometres north-west of the CBD. Here, the median house price is around $400,000 and will cost those with a 20 per cent deposit just $4000 per year to hold. In the Yarra Ranges, the entry price for a typical property is slightly more affordable and the annual impact on the household budget could be less than $2000.

Compare those figures to somewhere like Doncaster, 17 kilometres from the CBD, where a typical house will cost $34,702 a year to hold under the same parameters. Similarly, Brunswick housing sees its investors contributing $23,805 per year to maintaining the holding – a tough ask when you’re trying to be patient.

Of course, cash flow is just one of the elements in choosing an investment option. Fundamentals such as proximity to employment nodes, local demographics, and the various factors which affect housing supply are important considerations as well.

Suburbs offering both high cash flow and capital growth potential are uncommon, but they can be found in every state. Propertyology’s buyers’ agents are currently investing in five such locations across three different states helping investors take advantage of growth while keeping financial stress to a minimum.

Suburb Distance from GPO Median house price Annual holding costs
      @ 80% LVR @ 90% LVR
Karama, NT 10.5 $392,000 $ 3,682 $ 1,722
Coopers Plains, QLD 15.0 $398,750 $ 3,632 $ 1,638
Risdon Vale, TAS 8.1 $222,500 $ 3,435 $ 2,322
Gagebrook, TAS 16.1 $170,000 $ 3,339 $ 2,489
Chigwell, TAS 10.7 $260,000 $ 3,033 >$ 1,733
Muirhead, NT 12.0 $650,000 $ 2,915 ($ 335)
Cedar Vale, QLD 45.7 $480,000 $ 2,797 $ 397
New Norfolk, TAS 24.8 $212,500 $ 2,737 $ 1,674
Bridgewater, TAS 17.2 $210,000 $ 2,617 $ 1,567
Malak, NT 10.1 $450,000 $ 2,460 $ 210
Davoren Park, SA 27.0 $188,750 $ 2,369 $ 1,425
Smithfield Plains, SA 28.2 $199,500 $ 2,219 $ 1,257
Elizabeth North, SA 26.1 $197,750 $ 2,089 $ 1,110
Elizabeth East, SA 22.7 $210,000 $ 1,958 $ 908
Russell Island, QLD 41.2 $190,000 $ 1,880 $ 930
Wagaman, NT 10.2 $490,000 $ 1,738 $ 712
Blackstone, QLD 28.0 $301,000 $ 1,612 $ 107
Gailes, QLD 19.4 $250,000 $ 1,456 $206
Virginia, NT 22.7 $630,000 $ 1,409 $ 1,741
Hackham West, SA 23.7 $261,500 $ 1,216 ($ 92)
Brookdale, WA 27.5 $258,000 $ 917 ($ 373)
Hillman, WA 37.7 $278,000 $ 117 ($ 1,273)
Dayton, WA 15.1 $432,500 >$ 86 ($ 2,077)
Gilmore, ACT 15.5 $545,000 ($ 22) ($ 2,747)
Medina, WA 31.5 $238,000 ($ 40) ($ 1,230)
Gowrie, ACT 14.9 $576,500 ($ 404) ($ 3,287)
Richardson, ACT 16.6 $495,000 ($ 438) ($ 2,913)
Armadale, WA 25.7 $250,000 ($ 520) ($ 1,770)
Charnwood, ACT 12.2 >$460,000 ($ 575) ($ 2,875)
Calwell, ACT 18.0 $550,000 ($ 881) ($ 3,631)
Millgrove, VIC 61.7 $365,000 ($ 1,826) ($ 3,651)
Rockbank, VIC 27.9 $505,000 ($ 2,375) ($ 4,900)
Kurunjang, VIC 36.9 $388,750 ($ 2,996) ($ 4,939)
Lake Munmorah, NSW 82.1 $490,000 ($ 3,093) ($ 5,543)
Watanobbi, NSW 68.8 $495,000 ($ 3,293) ($ 5,768)
Mannering Park, NSW 85.2 $480,000 ($ 3,681) ($ 6,081)
Kanwal, NSW 69.4 $495,000 ($ 3,732) ($ 6,207)
San Remo, NSW 77.4 $465,000 ($ 3,740) ($ 6,065)
Melton South, VIC 36.4 $398,000 ($ 3,915) ($ 5,905)
Warburton, VIC 64.7 $423,500 ($ 3,946) ($ 6,064)
Calculations are based on median house values and median rents as at May 2018 [source: CoreLogic]. Annual holding costs assume 4 weeks vacancy per year, 4.5% loan interest, and general provisions for property management fees, council rates, insurance, and maintenance.

Propertyology is a Brisbane-based buyers agency and (national) property market research firm. We help everyday people to invest in strategically-chosen locations all over Australia. Testament to our multi-award-winning success is Propertyology’s expertise in being the only company in Australia to forecast Hobart’s remarkable resurgence and begin investing there in mid-2014, before the boom. Now, while others fight like seagulls over a chip to get in to that market, our buyer’s agents are actively investing in a few other locations that resemble what Hobart looked like in 2014. Like to know more? Contact us here.

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