IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO BUY A RENTAL PROPERTY?

Oct 1, 2020
older couple planning

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Are you thinking about buying a rental property but not sure if now is the right time to dive in?  

There’s nothing like a worldwide pandemic to give you wobbly legs at the thought of making a big financial investment! It may seem like a precarious time to buy a rental property due to Covid-19 and political uncertainty around landlord requirements. However, there are other drivers which may indicate that it is a good time to enter the property market or expand your portfolio.  Let’s take a closer look! 


The Housing Market

Despite the economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19, the New Zealand property market is still growing. International migration has decreased, however Kiwis are returning to and staying in Aotearoa in record numbers

According to the REINZ, in August median house prices across New Zealand increased by 16.4 percent. Furthermore, every region in the country has experienced an annual increase in median house prices.  There are still housing supply issues which is hot on the political agenda and demand for rentals are said to be strong. 

Interest Rates

The amount at which home loan interest rates are set is influenced by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Official Cash Rate. As of September 2020, the Official Cash Rate was held at an all-time low of 0.25 percent.  These modest home loan interest rates make it a more affordable time to borrow funds. Consequently, term deposit rates are decidedly slim… 

LVR Ratio Restrictions

 In addition to low-interest rates, you currently will need to use less of your hard-earned savings to buy an investment property.  

Pre-Covid-19, the loan-to-value ratio (LVR), or the size of the deposit that lenders require you to provide in order to buy an investment property, sat at around 30 percent. In response to Covid-19, these LVR restrictions were removed for one year in an attempt to make it easier for households and businesses to buy property. LVR seems to be regularly adjusted, but (as of 2024) watch for Debt-To-Income ratios (DTIs) being introduced.

Legal Requirements for Landlords

Something to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing an investment property is any new and ongoing legal requirements on landlords

For example, the new healthy homes standards have been introduced for rental properties in New Zealand, to ensure tenants have access to warm, dry and safe homes.  These standards set specific and minimum requirements, including heating and insulation for rental properties. This means any property you purchase will either need to be up to specification when you buy it, or investment will need to be made to get it ready for tenants.

Final Thoughts

In reality, the decision on whether now is the right time to buy is always going to be ‘as long as a piece of string’. There are always going to be risks and potential threats.

However, lower interest rates, the temporary removal of LVR restrictions and ongoing demand in the housing market make it an attractive time to buy a rental property. Ultimately, the decision of buying a rental property needs to be right for your situation. Doing your research and seeking expert advice is going to help you make informed, long-term financial decisions that are right for you.  

Engage with us at EpsomTax.com to learn more about how you can minimise tax when investing in a rental property.  

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