What is rentvesting and is it better than buying a home? | Finder

Rentvesting

When you can't afford to buy the home you want, rentvesting is a good alternative. You keep renting and buy an affordable investment instead.

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Owning a home was once a cornerstone of the Great Australian Dream. However, thanks to skyrocketing property prices in many parts of the country the dream is starting to take a different shape for some buyers: rentvesting.

Instead of buying the property they want, rentvesters keep renting in an area they like living in. Then they buy a more affordable investment property somewhere else. They may never live there but they own a property and they're paying it off.

Here's how rentvesting works. Read on to learn if it's right for you

Rentvesting explained

Here's how rentvesting works. Say you want to buy a four-bedroom home in Sydney’s inner west, but the sale prices in the area mean these homes are out of your reach. The rentvesting solution to the problem would be to rent the ideal four-bedroom house where you want to live, and then buy a property in a suburb where prices are more affordable.

The property you buy can then be rented out to help cover your own rental payments and later sold for a capital gain. This strategy lets you have the lifestyle you want now, while at the same time building a property portfolio for the future.

As another example, let’s assume that buying your dream home leads to mortgage repayments of $4,000 a month. But if you rent a home in the same area, rental payments could be $2,200 a month, leaving you with $1,800 per month to invest.

Although the traditional belief that “rent money is dead money” is a sticking point for some people, rentvesting allows you to use renting as part of an effective overall investment strategy.

Sydney property market - rentvesting

Pros and cons of rentvesting

Pros

  • Enter the property market sooner. Rentvesting allows you to break into the property market sooner with a smaller deposit, as opposed to waiting several years until you are able to afford your dream home.
  • Live the lifestyle you want. If rental prices allow, you can live in your dream home now and not have to compromise on location or features, and you don’t have to worry about taking on the long-term commitment of a big mortgage.
  • Build wealth. Rentvesting allows you to start building your investment property portfolio, which can be used to generate wealth for you and your family in the future.
  • Save for your dream home. Owning an investment property allows you to save to buy your dream home.
  • Flexibility. When you’re renting, you can easily upgrade or downgrade to a different home if your circumstances change, for example if you lose your job or get a high-paying promotion, with no stamp duty expenses or legal costs to worry about.
  • Move around. If you’re not ready to put down permanent roots in a particular area, rentvesting gives you the freedom to move around and even travel the world if you wish.
  • Tax benefits. You can claim interest payments on your investment property loan as a tax deduction.
  • Choose where to invest. Where you want to live and the best place to buy an investment property often won’t be the same, so rentvesting allows you to be ruthless when it comes to choosing an investment.

Cons

  • Buying an investment first. Buying an investment property before purchasing your own home can seem counter-intuitive to many people.
  • Dead money. The old adage that “rent money is dead money” may be a deterrent for some people considering this approach.
  • You don’t own your home. As much as you may love your rental property, you don’t own it. This can be especially difficult if you form an emotional connection to a house but then the landlord wants you to move out.
  • You can’t make it your own. Although a rental property might be vastly improved by a renovation project or simply a fresh coat of paint, remember that it’s not yours to tinker with.

Buy or rent: Which is cheaper?

To get a better idea of whether it’s cheaper to buy or rentvest, let’s look at an example.

Buying

According to Domain Group’s March 2016 quarter house price report, the median house price in Sydney was $995,804. Rounding that down to $995,000 for easier calculations, let’s assume you have saved a 20% deposit of $199,000 — meaning you’ll need to take out a home loan of $796,000.

If you borrow that amount at an interest rate of 4.50% p.a. on a 25-year loan, your monthly repayment amount would be $4,424.43. The total cost over the life of the loan would be $1,327,327.96.

In the same quarter, the median unit price was $656,166 (let’s round that down to $655,000), so with a 20% deposit saved you would need to borrow $524,000. Once again assuming an interest rate of 4.50% p.a. on a 25-year loan, your monthly repayment amount would be $2,912.56 and the total cost over the life of the loan would be $873,768.66.

Renting

Now let’s compare that with the cost of renting a property and investing elsewhere. The Domain Rental Report for the 2016 March quarter revealed that the median weekly rent for houses in Sydney is $530, while units cost $520 a week to rent.

So assuming a house in Sydney costs $2,120 per month to rent, that’s more than $2,300 less than the monthly mortgage repayment on the average house. If you rent a unit for $2,080 per month, that’s still $820 less than the median monthly mortgage repayments.

HouseUnit
Median monthly mortgage repayment$4,424.43$2,912.56
Median monthly rent$2,120$2,080
Money left over to invest (per month)$2,304.43$832.56

Investing the difference

Finally, we need to compare those potential investment returns with the capital gains you might enjoy on your property in the future. In the ten years to December 2015, Sydney property prices increased by an average of 6% each year. Assuming the same increases were to occur across the next decade, in ten years’ time your $995,000 house could be worth $1,781,893 (a capital gain of $786,893) and your $655,000 unit could have risen in value to $1,173,005 (a capital gain of $518,005).

But let’s consider what would happen if you decided to rent a house in Sydney for $2,120 per month, and use the remaining funds in your monthly budget to purchase a unit as an investment property. With more than $2,300 available to spend on your mortgage each month, you could easily afford to buy a $500,000 investment property (assuming that you have a $100,000 deposit saved and you take out a $400,000 loan).

Now let’s make another assumption: because you’re unconstrained by the need to buy somewhere you want to live, you’re able to choose an investment property in a prime location and enjoy larger than average capital gains. So instead of increasing at the city-wide average of 6% a year, over the next ten years your investment rises in value 8% annually. Once a decade has passed, your $500,000 investment has appreciated to be worth $1,079,462 – a capital gain of more than 130%.

So not only have you been able to live in your dream home for the past decade, but you now also own an investment property worth more than $1 million. Although your investment property may not have reached the same value as the home you could have bought and lived in, you’ve enjoyed a significantly better return on your investment and are now well placed to buy your dream home.

Buying a homeRentvesting
Monthly spend$4,424.43 (mortgage repayments)$4,343.33 ($2,120 rent + $2,223.33 mortgage repayments on investment property)
Property purchase price$995,000$500,000
Property value after 10 years$1,781,893$1,079,462
Capital gain$786,893 (79%)$679,462 (136%)

It’s important to point out that there are a huge range of variables that could affect the above equations, such as differences in sale and rental prices between suburbs and the assumption that property prices will perform similarly in the next ten years as they have in the past.

Nonetheless, these calculations should help you form a clearer idea of the potential benefits of rentvesting.

How to decide on the right approach for you

Taking all these calculations into consideration, should you rent or buy? Unfortunately, there’s no stock-standard answer to this question. Instead, the right approach for you will depend on your personal circumstances.

Before you choose to buy a home or rent and invest, make sure you can afford both strategies. Just because an investment property is cheaper than your dream home doesn’t necessarily mean that you can afford it, and just because renting feels like throwing away money doesn’t automatically mean you should mortgage yourself to the hilt.

There are plenty of handy rent vs buy calculators online to help you work out the costs involved in each approach, while you can also access a wealth of information about property purchase prices and rental rates. Before deciding on either approach, you could also benefit greatly by seeking out expert advice from a mortgage broker.

In the end, there are pros and cons to both buying and rentvesting, so you’ll need to consider your own financial circumstances before deciding which option is right for you.

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Compare investment loan rates

Data updated regularly
$
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.54%
2.54%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$596.91
Investors with large 40% deposits or equity can get this low variable rate. A competitive option for investors looking to refinance.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.74%
2.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$612.67
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
2.28%
3.15%
$0
$375 p.a.
80%
$576.78
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for three years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 10% deposits.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.39%
2.41%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$585.25
This investment loan keeps fees low, has a sharp interest rate and comes with a 100% offset account. This loan is not available for construction.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.38%
3.72%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
$584.48
$2,000 refinance cashback
Competitive fixed rate for home buyers.Available with a 10% deposit.$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
If you have an owner occupier loan with loans.com.au you can also get this very low rate variable mortgage for your investment property. Principal and interest repayments. Add an offset account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.64%
2.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$604.76
A competitive investor variable rate that falls as you build equity.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
2.29%
2.29%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$577.55
A competitive 3 year investor rate with principal and interest repayments. Optional offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$566.11
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
ME Flexible Home Loan With Member Package
2.98%
3.43%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$631.88
Package loan for investors making principal-and-interest repayments. Low fees and 20% deposit required.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.24%
2.27%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
$573.72
If you're an investor with a 20% deposit saved you can get this low rate mortgage. Not available for construction.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.59%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$600.83
Athena's refinance offer for investors and owner occupiers.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.49%
3.36%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
90%
$593.01
NSW and ACT customers only. A 3 years fixed rate investor which allows extra repayments to be made.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
3.14%
3.01%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$644.87
Pay interest only repayments with this special offer for investors.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.87%
2.9%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$623.03
Competitive variable investor mortgage to fund your property portfolio. You can add a 100% offset account for just $10 a month.Not available for construction purposes.
ME Basic Home Loan
3.28%
3.3%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$656.36
A no frills home loan for investors.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$577.55
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed
2.64%
4.86%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$604.76
Lock in the rate on your investment loan with one year. Requires a 20% deposit.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.49%
2.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Lock in a 5 year fixed rate on your investment loan and pay no ongoing fees.
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DsalApril 4, 2017

    If I buy a property, rent it out for a while whilst renting another property myself, then later move in to my property, what are the tax implications? Will I be subject to CGT for the investment period of the owned property? How is it calculated if I don’t sell until a number of years later? Anything else I should consider?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayApril 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Dsal,

      Thank you for your question and for contacting finder.com.au – we are a financial comparison website and general information service, we are not mortgage specialists so can only offer general advice.

      Basically, in your case, the CGT you’ll pay will be worked out by comparing the number of days you lived in the property to the number of days you rented the property. You’ll also be partially exempt from capital gains tax. You can find more details about CGT on our guide to selling properties and capital gains tax.

      If you need further advice on CGT, you can also speak to a property tax specialist.

      Cheers,
      May

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