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How to make your investment property cash flow positive

Take advantage of negative gearing with your investment property

Buying an investment property comes with a range of benefits, including rental income, potential capital gains and tax advantages that can be achieved through negative gearing.

Find out how to make your investment cash flow positive, the ins and outs of negative gearing and how to compare investment home loans.

How does a home loan fit into your negative gearing plans?

As interest repayments will make up the lion’s share of the costs of your investment property, you should try to minimise the interest rate you pay. The below example demonstrates how to retain the benefits of negative gearing while maintaining a positive cash flow.

Case study - Dimitri’s investment loan lesson

Dimitri has purchased a property in Sydney. He takes out an interest-only home loan of $400,000 at a rate of 5.50%p.a. His tenant moves in and pays $400 in rent each week.

Below is his current annual situation:

  • Annual rental income: $20,800 ($400 x 52)
  • Home loan repayments: $22,000
  • Strata costs and other fees: $2,000
  • Total cashflow position = - $3,200

Depreciation allowance: $4,000

= -$7,200 negatively geared

As you can see, Dimitri’s property is currently negatively geared and it is a negative cashflow property.

If Dimitri compared home loans and found himself one with a lower rate of 4.50%p.a, and continued interest-only repayments, the property would still be negatively geared. However, his property would be a positive cashflow property due to the lower interest repayments on his home loan.

  • Annual rental income: $20,800 ($400 x 52)
  • Home loan repayments: $18,000
  • Strata costs and other fees: $2,000
  • Total cashflow position = +$800

Depreciation allowance: $4000

= -$3,200 negatively geared

Dimitri can reduce his assessable income by $3,200 as a result. However, he will still be ahead by $800 a year rather than being out of pocket by $3,200 before depreciation is taken into account.

Dimitri is at least $2,040 better off as a result of the reduction to home loan interest, as the $4,000 in additional interest in the first scenario provides a maximum tax benefit of $1,960 if Dimitri is at the top tax rate of over $180k income (45% + Medicare 2% + budget repair levy 2%).

The benefit of negative gearing is tied to your income, so remember to consult your accountant before changing your investment strategy, as your tax situation could change.

Compare refinancing home loans

How can I compare investment property home loans?

As you can see in the example above, Dimitri can get the tax deductions which come with a negatively geared property alongside a property which pays him an income.

He might also get other benefits if he chooses the right loan. Here’s how to compare investment home loans before signing on the dotted line:

  • Interest rate. The key takeaway from the scenario above is that with a lower interest rate, you can benefit from increased income from your rental property, so you should carefully consider the interest rate of any home loan you’re looking at. When doing so, look at the comparison rate, as this will take into account the fees you’ll be paying and reflects the true cost of your loan.
  • Fees. Carefully review the fees of the home loan. If you’re comparing home loans, ensure that the fees aren’t too high, otherwise this may offset the benefit of a lower interest rate. In particular, look at the upfront costs: fees such as application, valuation and settlement charges. Also, see if the loan has any ongoing fees or fees for offset accounts or redraw facilities if you use these features.
  • Features. Home loans today come with a range of features which can help those looking to invest. These include 100% offset accounts, which are transaction accounts designed to help minimise the interest you pay when you leave funds in the account; interest-only options for as long as ten years, which remove the principal component of your loan repayments to reduce payments and increase tax savings; and the ability to split your rate between fixed and variable portions, so you can have more control over the costs of your repayments.

Home loan comparison

Compare some of the loans below to see how you might be able to save money by refinancing to a more competitive loan. By clicking the headings on the top of the table you can order home loans by interest rate, comparison rate, fees, maximum loan to value ratio (LVR), and monthly payment. Note that the monthly payment shown in the table will be for a principal and interest loan, and not an interest-only loan as shown in the scenario.

Note that the monthly payment shown in the table will be for a principal and interest loan, and not an interest-only loan as shown in the scenario.

Rates last updated September 24th, 2018
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.64%
3.65%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a very low interest rate and pay fewer fees. Enjoy a fast online application process and add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.59%
3.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. Available with just a 10% deposit.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A simple mortgage with a competitive interest rate and no application or monthly fees. Borrow up to $2 million from a convenient online lender.
3.54%
3.57%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable interest rate product aimed at refinancers looking to switch to a lower rate.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive interest rate and low fees. Available with a 10% deposit. Partial offset account attached (offset up to $15,000).
3.87%
3.91%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get Velocity Frequent Flyer Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus the option to make up to $10,000 a year in extra repayments.
3.49%
4.57%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A basic variable home loan that offers a competitive interest rate with no application fees and no ongoing fees.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
3.79%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access an offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees on this special variable rate for owner-occupiers.
3.64%
3.65%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Fast, 100% online application process. Very limited fees. Optional offset account (with fee).
3.68%
3.82%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get double Velocity Frequent Flyer Points with this mortgage to spend on flights and more (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements). Redraw facility available on this variable rate home loan. Competitive interest rate.
3.69%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Keep your LVR at 70% or below and enjoy a special discounted rate. Also, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.74%
4.13%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Get a sharp rate plus package discounts and a 100% offset account.
3.69%
4.12%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Unlock a range of savings with this competitive package home loan offer. Offset account and redraw facility included.
3.64%
3.78%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Earn double Velocity Frequent Flyer Points on your mortgage for a limited time (subject to eligibility requirements). Plus, access a 100% offset account to save on interest.
3.79%
3.82%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A variable investor mortgage with a high borrowing amount so you can fund a large purchase.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a competitive rate, save on fees and access a 100% offset account plus redraw facility. $900 cashback offer.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic owner-occupier home loan with a low variable rate that requires a 20% deposit.
3.68%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low interest rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.75%
4.00%
$0
$248 p.a.
70%
Borrowers with a 30% deposit can get this competitive rate.
3.70%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Get a discount for keeping your LVR at 70% or below with this innovative online lender.
3.88%
4.40%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Lock in a very competitive 2 year rate and get package discounts on your credit card and offset account.
3.77%
3.81%
$695
$0 p.a.
95%
A simplified mortgage with a low interest rate and a redraw facility.
3.75%
3.75%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get a flexible loan with the ability to split up to 6 times.
3.84%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a free redraw facility with this innovative online lender.
3.59%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Apply online and get fast approval for this fixed rate, low-fee loan with redraw facilities. Add a 100% offset account for a small fee.
3.72%
4.10%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan. Bonus $1,500 cashback for refinancers.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A low deposit mortgage with a competitive rate and plenty of flexibility. QLD residents only. Eligible borrowers can get a 15% discount on home and contents insurance for the life of their loan.
3.72%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Save on interest by taking advantage of a 100% offset account along with no ongoing fees or application fees.
3.85%
3.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees with Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan. Split and redraw facilities included.
3.67%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A great interest rate home loan offer with unlimited redraw and unlimited extra payments.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Pay no deposit or LMI and get a discounted rate with this family pledge loan. Requires a family member to act as guarantor. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.69%
4.08%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
3.71%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A variable rate home loan that has a lot of flexible features. This loan has a 100% offset account.
4.13%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors.
3.89%
3.94%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying, and pay no application fee.
3.77%
3.79%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Buy your home with just a 10% deposit, few fees and a reasonable interest rate.
3.93%
3.94%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low-fee line of credit loan from an online lender. Unlock the equity in your home and make interest-only repayments with a competitive rate.
3.99%
4.86%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access a fee-free 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.69%
4.54%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A fixed rate loan with a 100% offset account and the option to make additional repayments. Loans over $150k receive a discounted rate. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule.
3.89%
3.91%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This variable rate loan keeps the features simple and fees low. This loan is offered by a 100% online lender.
3.89%
4.94%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying and pay no application or ongoing fees.
4.14%
4.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fees and access a fee-free redraw facility with this fixed rate loan.

Compare up to 4 providers

Three things you should know about negative gearing with Brenton Tong

Brenton Tong

  • Brenton Tong is Head of Strategy at Financial Spectrum.
  • He's an expert in financial planning, estate planning, funds management, and insurance.
  • Financial Spectrum is a boutique fee-based financial planning firm, which means they don't take commissions.

What are your tips for borrowers looking to reap negative gearing benefits?

Make sure you do your numbers first – as the old saying goes, measure twice, cut once. Be conservative and if you're unsure, ask for help. It's important that you have an understanding of the basic rules of tax. For example, if you're using equity rather than savings, make sure you borrow everything, including the fees and charges – it's often tempting to put savings into an investment to make it perform better, but putting savings into non-deductible debt is always going to be better.

Also, get a quantity surveyor's report for your property – don't guess on depreciation. You'll either miss out on valuable deductions or overstate them and not be able to justify them to the ATO.

What should new property investors consider before entering in the property market?

Be prepared for what we call the two months of pain. If the total cost of getting into an investment property is, say,
$60,000, then make sure you've got that plus the first two months mortgage payments – plus the ability to save more. It is very rare that you buy an investment property and the rental payments instantly cover the cost of your mortgage. It's more likely, especially
if it's a new property, that you'll take a few weeks to find a tenant, you'll have a few out of pocket expenses and the first mortgage payment will hit before you've had an income.

Ultimately, it's about making sure that the property that you're buying is affordable both in the short and long term. Consider if you have any changes in circumstances coming up.

An example may be if you're relying on two incomes to afford the investment property, but you're also considering starting a family and will therefore lose one income and have additional costs. While you might be able to afford it when you buy it, you may face cash flow challenges in the near future.

Make sure you do your numbers first – as the old saying goes, measure twice, cut once. Be conservative and if you're unsure, ask for help.

How can investors decide whether or not property is a good investment?

It all comes down to your overall long term strategy and what you're trying to achieve. You need to have the time frame
to hang onto the asset in case it does not perform the way that you want it to, and you need to be prepared to handle the risks (both financially and emotionally) of things like rising interest rates, losing a tenant and a possible decline in value which could
see your deposit wiped out. Investing and gearing into property is an excellent investment choice for the right people, and many people have profited greatly from it, but it's not without it's risks.


If you’re investing in a property, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time carefully studying the market to find a property worthy of your time and money. This is why it’s crucial to ensure your property is financed by a home loan which is low cost, while providing features you can benefit from. Start a comparison of home loans today and you may reap savings.

Ready to invest? Compare investment loans here

Marc Terrano

Marc Terrano is a Lead Publisher at finder. He's been writing and publishing personal finance content for over five years and loves to help Australians get a better deal.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    VinceNovember 17, 2014

    I have approx 850k of equity across 2 properties and want to purchase another investment property. Because I have a low income, 50k banks won’t lend me money.
    How can I get all this equity working for me.

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyNovember 17, 2014Staff

      Hi Vince,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately we can only provide general advice regarding investment. You may want to consider speaking to a mortgage broker to see if they can help you find a lender who will let you release your equity.

      All the best,
      Shirley

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