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Research and Reporting

In order for Equiti to be satisfied that a particular property represents a sound investment for a client, the particular property must meet our 8 Residential Property Selection Criteria.

Download: 8 Residential Property Selection Criteria e-book

These 8 specific and calculated criteria can be summarised as follows:

1. Sustained Capital Growth Rate

Since capital growth is the element that enables a property investor to achieve long term wealth and security, we seek property markets that have a track record of delivering capital gains that are consistently in excess of the growth in wages. Equiti needs to be satisfied that the area in which the property is recommended has had a historical growth rate over the medium to long term that would enable a reasonable person to assume that this proven and consistent growth rate is likely to continue the future.

An area that has lower historical growth may signify that the area has not been a consistent performer and raises the concern that the market has matured or factors that contribute to a high capital growth rate may no longer exist. It is therefore fair to assume that the lack of factors that contribute to a high capital growth rate will restrict future capital growth in that particular area.

On the other hand, an area that has a more recent capital growth rate that is abnormally high when compared to similar markets may also not be in the investor’s best interest because:

    1. this may represent a situation whereby the investor is entering the market a little too late as the market may ‘peaked’.
    2. generally consistent higher than normal levels of growth cannot be sustained for a considerable period of time and will only likely see the market balance out over the coming few years as capital gain is a function of current affordability and incrementalwage growth.

We consult a range of specialised data sources such as the Real Estate Institute, BIS Shrapnel, Residex, RP Data and other various industry bodies.

This information is then assessed and used to ensure that historical growth rates fall between Equiti’s acceptable levels prior to making a recommendation into a specific area.

2. High Population Growth

There is an old real estate cliché that states ‘Position, Position, Position’ are the three most important factors a prospective purchaser should consider when buying property. This is commonly referred to as the ‘3 P’s’ or sometimes even as the ‘Golden Rule’ of property investing.

At Equiti, we do not believe that the ‘Golden Rule’ of property should only refer to ‘Position, Position, Position’, instead, we believe that the ‘Golden Rule’ should be expanded to also include:
‘People, People, People’

After all, it is people who buy property and people that rent property and therefore it is people that choose ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ positions.

This relates to the basic laws of supply and demand and an area that is experiencing a positive population growth would result in an ever increasing level of demand for housing.

As a result of this ever increasing demand, basic economic principles would indicate that this would result in an increase in price for housing.

At Equiti, we spend a great deal of time and effort researching various geographical areas across

Australia and utilise the services of both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and very specialised reports dealing with Population Growth to research and report on population movements and trends across Australia.

This information is then used to identify areas that are experiencing a positive population growth and further narrowed to areas that are growing at an average annual rate greater than 2.7% per annum.

This percentage is calculated as the net amount of people moving to the location on an annual basis over the current population level.

Equiti has selected and uses a minimum growth benchmark to depict a certain demand for property in the area which will allow both a strong capital growth rate and a strong rental demand to be sustained.

It also further narrows the property selection criteria to those areas that are the most likely to become the ‘best performers’ within the Australian property market and, quite often, will also direct property investors to opportunities within the main capital cities of Australia.

3. Low Residential Vacancy

At Equiti, we believe that the same fundamental economic factors that affect the price of shares on the share market or, for that matter, the price of coffee at the super market are exactly the same factors that affect the price of housing in the property market … and they are the basic laws of supply and demand. It goes without saying that an area that is in high demand and low supply will inevitably experience an above average level of capital growth whilst, on the other hand, an area that is oversupplied in comparison to the level of demand will result in a below average level of capital growth.

The best indicator to determine the ratio between the current level of supply versus the current level of demand is the Residential Vacancy Rate. The residential vacancy rate is simply a sample figure taken which calculates, as a percentage, the number of investment properties that are vacant in a given area at a given point in time. In order for a property to be included in this ratio, the property must be on the market and actively seeking a tenant. Since it is generally accepted that a vacancy rate of 3.2% would indicate a balanced market, a vacancy rate above 3.2% would indicate that the residential investment market in that particular area is currently experiencing an oversupply of properties in comparison to the level of residential tenancy demand. As a result, a property investor in an oversupplied market may be forced to:

    1. experience an extended period of time without a tenant,
    2. be forced to reduce their rental income so as to make the property more attractive to a potential tenant in a competitive market, and
    3. incur a greater than anticipated cash flow expense as a result of the low rental yield.

That is the reason why Equiti will always recommend an area that has a long-term residential vacancy rate of less than 2.4% to ensure that the there is sufficient demand and not too much supply in the area so as to achieve the desired annual rental yield and capital growth.

As an added dimension, an area that it is in strong demand is also more likely to experience a stronger capital growth rate as many of the factors that attract tenants to the area will more than likely be the same factors that attract owner occupiers to that same area.

4. Established and Planned Infrastructure

Some of the specific elements that influences demand within an area is the degree to which established infrastructure is readily accessible to tenants and, as such, it is important that the existing infrastructure surrounding a property be properly assessed and identified.

More specifically, existing infrastructure can be divided this into two broad categories:

    1. Local transportation links … such as easy access to local bus routes, train stations, access to freeways and major arterial roads, and
    2. Local amenities … such as distances from schools, shopping centres, parks and other recreational activities.

Since Equiti believes that a property that is within easy reach to both transportation links and local amenities would increase the attractiveness to a prospective tenant, it is essential that any Equiti Property recommendation must be for a property that is in an area where this level of established infrastructure already exists.

If the area has already satisfied the first three points of our 8 Property Selection Criteria, you will find that the area has more than likely already satisfied this element as well. It has, however, been included as an individual criterion to ensure that this important point has not been overlooked.

Either a simple drive around the area or a look through an updated local street directory could be used to identify established local infrastructure.

To take this one step deeper, it is also important that not only the level of existing infrastructure be assessed, but also the degree to which future urban planning exists in the area to be recommended.

If state government is rezoning vast areas of land and spending money on building and/or widening roads, if local government are building schools and hospitals and increasing public facilities, it is solid proof that they are catering for and expecting an increasing population movement into the area.

Further more, if the level of private spending on infrastructure such as that on shopping centres, industrial areas and on local business is also increasing and is planned for the future, this would indicate the private sectors confidence on future growth.

This, in turn, not only creates employment but, more importantly, creates an even greater desire for people to live within the area … which, in turn, influences future spending … which, in turn, creates and even greater desire for people to live within the area … which, in turn, influences future spending … which, in turn, …!

The tools required and the source data used by Equiti to accumulate this information includes researching government reports, local government websites, reviewing local newspapers and community magazines and industry specific reports.

5. Median Property Price +15%

Now that Equiti Property has identified an area that has a:

    1. Capital Growth Rate >7.5%,
    2. Population Growth >2.7%, and
    3. Residential Vacancy Rate <2.4%,
    4. Established and Planned Infrastructure,

it is now time to select and assess the suitability of a specific property within the identified area.

Whilst the first four element’s of our 8 Property Selection Criteria relate to elements that are important in identifying a strong growth area, the next four elements relate specifically to the property within that area.

The first of the four remaining criteria relates to the price range of the recommended property.

You will often hear the term ‘bread and butter’ property used at the Equiti offices. This term loosely refers to a typical property that the majority of Australian’s can afford to buy or rent.

In general terms the residential property industry uses the Median Property Price as a measure of price relative other properties within the local area.

The Median Property Price represents the mid-price whereby half the properties in the suburb are dearer and half the properties in the suburb are cheaper. In general, where there is a significant range of prices the Median Property Price is not influenced by the ‘exceptional’ property values that may distort the statistics as may be the case in the calculation of the Average Property Price.

When asked whether it is better to spend $350,000 or $950,000 on an investment property, the answer is always the same, and that is … it depends on the area in which you are investing.

At Equiti, we recommend that a property investor invests at a price point that is no greater than 15% above the median property price for that particular area on any one particular property.

This means that where an investor purchases a property in the +15% price range, they are seeking to capture a property within its market that has the potential for higher demand from potential tenants and buyers in the future.

This is, quite simply, a property that the majority of people can afford to buy or rent.

By avoiding the ‘cheaper’ or the more ‘expensive’ properties you are able to supply a product for the largest population percentile and therefore are able to achieve the greatest level of demand when choosing to rent or sell the investment property.

6. Average Rental Yield

It is not only capital growth that makes property investing a viable investment proposition. A regular and constant income stream can be derived from that property can assist to make a property a sound investment choice for many investors.

The rental income derived from a property is a cash flow tool that can be used to assist fund the property, pay down debt and eventually replace a portion of the investor’s personal income stream.

The rental yield is quite simply the annualised rental income expressed a percentage of the value of the property. For example:
On a $375,000 property, the weekly rental of $320 equates to an annual rental income of $16,640.

Calculated as a percentage, this equates to a rental yield of 4.4%.

This is an important percentage as not only does it contribute towards the Return On Investment, it also provides an indication for potential capital growth in the future.

An investor’s initial reaction would be to try to achieve an as high as possible rental yield, however, this may not always be what is best for the investor.

At Equiti, we believe that an area that has a high rental yield will, generally, have a lower capital growth rate and alternatively an area that has a low rental yield will, generally speaking, have a higher capital growth rate.

The reason for this, we believe, is that the property investment market is always striving to reach a state or equilibrium or balance.

When rental returns are high (that is, greater than a 5% rental yield) investors are willing to accept a less than average capital growth rate. On the other hand, when the rental yield is low (that is, less than a 3% rental yield) investors need to be compensated by achieving a greater than average capital growth rate.

The market always strives for balance and the investor needs to make a choice between a little more money now (higher rental yield & lower capital growth rate) or a lot more money later (lower rental yield & higher capital growth rate).

That is the reason why Equiti recommends a rental yield range which is commensurate with the local market, and the growth expectations of the investor.

While the appropriate yield is determined by local factors the balance between growth and yield needs to be balanced to reflect a cash flow income stream which can assist in the servicing and maintenance of the investment property.

Using ratios and numbers like this when assessing a property opportunity, enables an investor to make a logical decision without the interference of personal emotions clouding what represents a good or not-so-good investment decision.

7. Tax Effectiveness

It is quite possible to have two properties that are side-by-side, both acquired for the same amount of money and requiring the same initial investment to vary quite significantly in their week-to-week cash flow requirements.

It is generally accepted that a carefully selected investment property can represent a viable and tax effective investment if the right elements are taken into consideration when making a property selection. One such item that can make a significant difference to an investor is the level of claimable depreciation associated with a particular property.

The depreciation schedule itemises each and every item used to construct the property both internally and externally and places a value and a corresponding depreciable allowance on each and every item within that schedule.

In order to obtain a depreciation schedule on a particular property, a registered Quantity Surveyor puts together the detailed report and generally classifies all the items within the property into two broad categories:

    1. items categorised as fixtures and fittings, and
    2. items categorised as capital allowance.

Both these items have differing degrees of claimable depreciation and most certainly varies significantly depending upon factors such as the quality and type of fixtures and fittings used as well as the age of the property.

A properly analysed depreciation schedule will enable an investor who is attempting to reduce their level of tax liability to increase their level of tax deductions and therefore place a greater portion of their ‘tax dollars’ into funding the property and, as a result, reduce their level of personal cash flow requirements.

At Equiti, the level of depreciable allowance must be assessed prior to making a specific property recommendation to an investor.

8. Little Luxuries

There is one more element remaining to complete our 8 Property Selection Criteria and, unlike the preceding 7 elements, the final criteria cannot be quantified or calculated.

It is always said that an investor must make a logical decision when investing in property and not make an emotional one … and certainly, the preceding 7 elements ensure that this is the case where Equiti is making a property recommendation.

The 8th criterion, on the other hand, adds a slightly different spin on the property selection process and in actual fact, adds a real-life and emotional content into the property selection process.

Tenants today are faced with a multitude of options and choices, i.e. do we rent this property or do we rent that property? There are, however, certain elements that make a particular property unique and therefore more desirable to a prospective tenant.

At Equiti, we call these items ‘Little Luxuries’ and they quite simply represent any element that may give a particular property an edge over another when looking through the eyes of a potential tenant.

For example, if an investor was looking at acquiring a house and land package as their preferred investment choice, a Little Luxury could include:

    • an additional living area within the home, or
    • an air conditioning unit, or
    • an outdoor ‘alfresco’ dining area, or
    • an extra large garden.

If the preferred choice for an investor was a townhouse or unit, Little Luxuries could include features such as:

    • an on-site property manager or caretaker,
    • a security estate operated via a remote controlled entrance
    • open gardens or parklands with barbeque facilities,
    • a swimming pool, or
    • a gymnasium, or even
    • a tennis court.

These Little Luxuries are exactly as their name suggests and are explored and identified only after the property has satisfied all the preceding 7 criteria.

This is yet another way that Equiti gives its clients
an unfair advantage … every step of the way.

It is not only important to understand the reasons why Equiti has selected these 8 Residential Property Selection Criteria, but it is also important to notice the order in which these 8 criteria have been placed.

Priority has been given to the economics of the area FIRST
and then to the specific property criteria SECOND.

The reason for this relates to an old real estate belief that suggests that one should buy ‘the worst house in the best street’ indicating that it is not the physical house that increases in value, but rather, it is the land in the area that achieves and experiences capital growth.

We seek to isolate area’s that will support long term price growth, by reviewing the macro economic data available as it relates to economic development in each State and then the prospects for the local government area’s within that state.

Once we have isolated a local government area whose economic fundamentals meet our investment criteria, we then seek to identify suburbs within that local area.

Therefore, going from a macro to a micro level in the selection criteria would indicate a logical process by which one should select a specific property as an investor.

Once a suitable area has been identified, it is then important to select a property within that area that will represent both a logical and tax effective investment opportunity.

This is the process by which an accredited Equiti property consultant makes a specific property recommendation.