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non-bank lender

Why choose a non-bank lender?

Whether you’re looking to grow or refinance your portfolio, non-bank lenders could be the best choice for your wealth creation journey.

A common misbelief is that non-bank lenders are tied to the strict rules that apply to more traditional finance lenders, but the truth is that non-bank lenders have the same obligations as the more conventional lenders.

Non-bank lenders are able to provide a much more personalised service to customers, often allowing customers to deal directly with the broker as opposed to the support staff at a bank. Non-bank lenders are also more likely to listen to the individual story of every borrower, rather than purely making assumptions as many conventional lenders do.

Many people are surprised to discover that non-bank lenders are very competitive on rates in the investment space and are able to help borrowers when their current lender is not willing to provide finance for them.

Given that speed to market is currently key for property investors looking to pounce on a purchase, conventional lenders are becoming less enticing for borrowers.

In fact, stories of people missing out on a great deal because of lengthy turnaround times are becoming more and more common.

Momentum Intelligence’s Broker Pulse survey for March 2021 found that CBA’s average turnaround for broker-lodged loans was 12.7 days; NAB’s was 9.4 days; Westpac’s was 13.7 days; and ANZ’s was 16.4 days (business days). These are generally the best case scenario for simple applications whereas it can often take twice as long for self-employed applicants.

This is where non-bank lenders can provide a helping hand within a few business days at competitive rates. Endeavor Finance work with a number of non-bank lenders from around the country to secure the best loans for our customers.

 

If you are after a second opinion or want to know more about the non-bank lenders available, speak to Adam or Llewe at Endeavor Finance. Call 03 5434 7690.

Chasing yield in a low interest rate world

Low interest rates and unsettled sharemarkets make the chase for yield a challenging prospect. Yield is important, particularly for those approaching or already in the retirement phase as maintaining capital and enjoying a steady income stream are the two key factors to provide for comfort in the years ahead.

But how can you get a decent return when the cash rate is only 1.5% and the interest rate on many traditional fixed interest investments is not much better?

According to Canstar, fixed term deposits are offering an average of 2.69% for one year and 2.87% for five years.i While it is above the inflation rate of 1%, it’s still modest.ii

Of course, there are other conservative investments such as government bonds but even these offer only low returns. According to Bloomberg, 2-year government bonds have a yield of 1.59%, five-year 1.74% and 10-year 2.11%.iii

Corporate bonds

Corporate bonds generally offer better returns than government bonds, term deposits or cash because they carry a higher risk. With corporate bonds, you are lending money to a business in return for interest payments compared with shares where you become a part owner of the company. You can buy the bonds via a prospectus, but these days many are traded on the ASX.

You can currently get yields of around 2.75% for high quality, lower risk corporate bonds, however if you already have exposure to company shares on the market, then adding corporate bonds to your portfolio may reduce your level of diversification.

It is also worth considering investments such as hybrids, which have characteristics of bonds and shares, hence the name. You can currently get a yield of up to 6% in hybrid issues from household name companies including the major banks, ultilities, retailers and insurers.

As an alternative to selecting individual bond issues, a professionally-managed bond fund offers the opportunity to invest in a diversified portfolio of corporate and government bonds and cash.

Good returns from shares

Shares continue to be attractive for investors looking for regular income. The average dividend yield for listed companies is 4.2%; with capital growth, total returns are above 9%. In the latest reporting season some $24 billion was paid out in dividends from Australian listed shares.iv

One key advantage of shares is dividend imputation, where you may actually end up with a cash rebate on the tax that has already been paid by the company.

Stocks such as banks and telcos are often viewed as good sources of yield although concentrating your investments in one or two sectors reduces diversification and increases risk.

Similarly, focusing exclusively on yield may mean that your portfolio is not as diversified as it should be.

Property options

Residential investment property has featured as a major source of investment returns in recent years, but with house prices high and rents tightening the yield has been falling. Add to this the lumpiness of an investment in property – you can’t just sell the kitchen if you need quick cash – and property may carry increasing risk.

Commercial property may be a better option given that in the year to March the average annual return was 14%.v

As an alternative to direct property, listed Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) invest in a diversified property portfolio and can be bought and sold on the sharemarket. Since March they have performed quite strongly.v

The hunt for a decent yield in a low interest world is likely to be a feature of investment markets for some time. But your investments, and particularly those that constitute your retirement strategy, should be a long-term plan. Chopping and changing asset classes to try and get a good yield can prove costly.

Call us to discuss the best income-producing investments for your needs.

i www.canstar.com.au/term-deposits/the-current-term-deposit-environment/

ii www.tradingeconomics.com/australia/inflation-cpi

iii www.bloomberg.com/markets/rates-bonds/government-bonds/australia

iv www.commsec.com.au/content/dam/EN/ReportingSeason/August2016/ CommSec_Reporting_Season_August2016_Dividend-windfall-24billion-to-be-paid-out.pdf

v www.afr.com/real-estate/commercial/investment/commercial-property-the-top-investment- in-the-year-to-march-20160517-goxj63

Homing in on retirement

Pick an Australian, any Australian, and chances are they dream of buying a home or upgrading the one they already own. There’s the emotional satisfaction of knowing you own the roof over your head, the freedom to rip up carpets and keep a pet, and the stability it offers as you raise a family. But home ownership also has a role to play in retirement planning.

For most of us, the long-term goal is to retire with a home fully paid for and enough investments both inside and outside superannuation to support a comfortable lifestyle. What is less well understood is that the better you manage your mortgage and other debts along the way, the more money you will have for income-producing investments to fund your dream retirement.

Spending too much on renovations or buying in the wrong location are common mistakes that may potentially reduce your retirement income. Moving is costly and if a renovation doesn’t add value then it is money that can’t be recouped if you decide to downsize later in life.

The right loan
The loan you choose can also make a big difference to your retirement nest egg. Interest rates may be at historic lows, but there are big difference in the rates available from different lenders so it pays to shop around. If you already have a mortgage, ask your lender for a better deal. More often than not they will reduce your interest rate to keep your business, which saves you the cost of refinancing.

It also pays to think about the type of loan you choose. While interest-only loans often make sense for investors, they can be an expensive choice for owner-occupiers even though on the face of it they appear more affordable.

The catch with this type of loan is that without any repayment of the loan principal, interest-only borrowers are continually paying interest on the full amount of the loan.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recently crunched the numbers and found that on a $500,000 loan at 6 per cent, making interest-only payments for just five years can add $37,000 to the long-term cost of the loan.

Once again, that money could be earning compound interest in super and bankroll some memorable travel experiences in retirement.

Tax efficiency
Tax also has a role to play when it comes to managing your housing debt for the best retirement outcome. While your family home is generally exempt from capital gains tax, the favourable tax treatment of the family home does not extend to your home loan.

Unlike investment loans, your mortgage is not tax deductible so paying down the mortgage and freeing up money for investment is an important step in your retirement planning. However, the best place for your surplus cash may depend to some extent on your marginal tax rate.

For people on high marginal tax rates, salary sacrificing into super may be more effective than paying down debt. That’s because pre-tax contributions are generally taxed at just 15 per cent rather than your marginal rate. This strategy is even more effective when investment returns are higher than home loan interest rates.

For people in lower tax brackets it is generally preferable to pay down debt first and reduce interest costs.

Home and hosed
The closer you get to retirement the more important it is to be debt free, especially if your resources are limited.

Unless you rent out a room or enter into a reverse mortgage – a product that has never really taken off in Australia – your home won’t produce any income in retirement. So a balance needs to be struck between the amount of money you sink into your home and the amount you direct into income-producing investments.

If you would like to take a more holistic approach to your retirement planning, including the role of your family home, give us a call.

Why choose a finance broker over a bank?

It’s a question that most people ask when needing a loan – finance broker or bank?

If you’re on the market for a loan chances are you currently bank somewhere and have been a loyal customer for 10+ years. They are the first place that comes to mind when you need a loan. They’re easy to talk to, know your history and have your trust. They’ll get you the best deal, right?

Wrong. Just because you have a ‘relationship’ with your bank doesn’t mean they have the best market rate and fees compared to other banks. Sure they’ll try their best to get you attractive rates available within the company, but their best might be higher than a bank two streets across.

This is where a finance broker comes in handy. A finance broker is your secret weapon. There are a number of reasons why it’s worth choosing a finance broker, here are a few:

Time

Going through the process of a loan can be tiring and frustrating. A finance broker is there to do all the work for you and present it in an easy-to-understand way.

Variety

Finance brokers are associated with a number of financial institutions and will explore a variety of options to find what is the most suitable for your unique situation.

Knowledge

Finance brokers do one thing – loans. They deal with banks daily and are aware of the latest market rates and fees between banks. They know what needs to be done to get the ball rolling and will help with all paperwork and applications.

Funds

Brokers don’t just look at the now, they consider where you will be in five years and whether this loan will still be the right one for you. That includes lower fees, lower rates and special features.

 

A loan can be one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make so it’s worthwhile getting professional advice when trying to find a lending solution. Let us help you on the journey. Get in touch today.

Using tax for effective property investing

With Australian property remaining expensive and banks tightening their lending criteria, investors need to ensure their property investments are a financial success.

A key element is maximising the taxation benefits flowing from your investment. This includes correctly structuring the loan and ensuring your deduction claims don’t fall foul of the tax man.
Getting the structure right

As with any investment, having the correct ownership structure for a property asset is vital and can make a big difference to your tax benefits. For example, couples negatively gearing their investment property loan usually find it best to have a larger ownership percentage in the name of the higher income earner.

On the other hand, with a positively geared property, it may be better to have the lower income earner holding a larger ownership percentage. If the property is held jointly, all rental income and losses must be split in line with the ownership percentages and detailed records maintained to substantiate all claims for tax deductions.

Also consider whether either partner expects a career change that will affect their future income, as changing ownership structures down the track can be costly.
Managing the loan

Once the investment property loan is set up, there are more tax issues to consider. Property investors can only legally claim a tax deduction to the extent the borrowed funds are used for income producing purposes, regardless of the security offered to obtain the loan.

In cases where the loan monies are used for both private and income producing purposes (such as a property partly used for rental and partly as your home), you must split all expenses into deductible and non-deductible amounts.
Watch your deductions

Many property investors focus on tax deductions, but care is required as the rules are complex. For example, if you make extra repayments on your investment loan and then use the redraw facility to obtain money for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for the interest attributable to that money.

Normal tax deductions for a rental property include the cost of advertising for tenants, professional property management, interest, council rates, land tax and strata fees, building and landlord insurance, pest control and accounting fees. These costs, however, can only be claimed when the property is tenanted or available for rent.

Other points to watch include claiming a deduction for loan establishment fees. This must be spread over the term of the loan or a five-year period, whichever is shorter. If you claim travel expenses for inspections, the main purpose of the trip must be to visit the property; if there is a private portion all expenses must be split.
Depreciation or capital works?

Claims for depreciation, or the decline in value of assets with a limited effective life (such as freestanding furniture, washing machines and TVs), can be made each year, but deductions for any capital works must be spread over 40 years. Capital works include improvements or alterations such as removing an internal wall or replacing capital equipment such as old kitchen cupboards.

Investors need to be careful when claiming for the cost of repairs to their property. These are immediately deductible, but improvements such as replacing a damaged laminated kitchen bench top with a granite one must be claimed as capital works expenditure.
Check your CGT

CGT is another tricky tax area, but the key to minimising your bill is to ensure you identify all legitimate expenses that contribute to the cost base of the property used to calculate any capital gain.

The cost base includes the price paid for the property plus buying and selling costs like stamp duty, legal fees and the agent’s commission. Rental properties owned for more than 12 months attract a 50 per cent discount on any capital gain.

To ensure you are making the most of the tax rules relating to your investment property, call our office today on 03 5434 7690.

Property: Rent, buy or invest?

Buying a home has been heralded as the way to get ahead for generations of Australians. But with housing affordability a rising concern for would-be first home buyers and their parents, many younger Australians are beginning to weigh up whether it’s better to buy, rent or invest in residential property.

Despite record low interest rates, getting a foot on the property ladder has become increasingly difficult.

Against this backdrop, it’s hardly surprising that the proportion of first home buyers has fallen to less than 14% of all home buyers, the lowest level in more than a decade.ii

As the numbers of first home buyers fall, many younger Australians are focusing on buying an investment property instead. A recent survey by Mortgage Choice found 50.8% of investors who purchased a first investment property were 34 or younger, up from just 33.8% three years ago.iii

So which is best – buy, rent or invest?
Home sweet home

One of the best arguments for buying a home is that it forces you to save. Most of us find it difficult to save money today for long-term goals, but that is what paying the mortgage forces us to do. The pay-off is eventual ownership of an asset that enjoys favourable tax treatment when you sell or when seeking eligibility for the age pension and other means-tested benefits in retirement.

Unlike rents, which rise along with the cost of living, mortgage payments are fixed to the initial cost of the property and tend to fall relative to rents for similar properties over time.

Buying also provides the security of being your own landlord and the flexibility to renovate. After building up equity in your home you may choose to borrow against it to kick-start an investment portfolio.

On the downside, saving for a home deposit and transaction costs is a major hurdle for first timers. Ongoing costs for rates, maintenance and insurance can also be significant. While mortgage interest rates are currently at record lows, buyers also need to factor in the possibility of higher rates over the term of the loan.
When renting makes sense

Renting has the potential to free up money to invest in assets with a higher return than residential property. For this strategy to work, your rent must be less than you would otherwise spend on mortgage repayments. You also need the discipline to invest the savings if you want to get ahead.

Renting rather than buying can be a profitable strategy when other asset classes provide higher returns. Yet over the past 10 years residential property has been the best-performing asset class with an average annual return of 8% a year compared with 5.5% for Australian shares. iv

While this is no guarantee of future performance, it helps explain why many would-be first home buyers are taking a new approach to the old rent or buy equation.
The middle way

First time buyers often find they can’t afford to buy in an area where they want to live. So to get a foot on the property ladder they continue living in rental accommodation – or at home with Mum and Dad – and purchasing an investment property.

The advantage of this strategy is that your tenants help pay off the mortgage. And unlike a home you live in, costs such as mortgage interest, repairs, rates and insurance are tax deductible.

At the end of the day, the decision to buy, rent or invest will depend on your personal financial situation, the state of the housing and rental markets, the returns available on other investments and lifestyle. The important thing is to have a long-term housing strategy that won’t disadvantage you in later life.

If you or your children are weighing up whether to buy, rent or invest in property, give us a call on 03 5434 7690 to discuss the options in the context of your overall investment strategy.

 
ABS Housing Finance Australia, May 2016, 5609.0
ii Mortgage Choice, 2016 Investor Survey,17 June 2016
iii ASX Russell Investments 2016 Long-term Investing Report