Census reveals 2.5m rental properties

By Paul Bennion, Managing Director of DEPPRO

The recent release of data from the 2016 Census revealed some very significant information regarding the importance of the property investment market in Australia.

For example, the Census found that in 2016 there were 2,561,302 rental properties in Australia and they accounted for 30.9% of all occupied private dwellings. So nearly one in three occupied private dwellings in Australia are now rented.

This was an increase of 263,844 in the number of rental dwellings compared to the 2011 Census when they accounted for 29.6% of all occupied private dwellings.

These figures highlight the fact that the rental market in Australia continues to grow which is overall good news for property investors.

Another significant trend identified by the 2016 was the continued shift towards higher density housing.

It found that proportion of separate houses in Australia fell from 75.6% in 2011 to 72.9% in 2016. In contrast, one of the biggest growth areas in housing was in higher density homes such as semi-detached and town houses with more than 1 million of these homes now in Australia. These type of high density homes now account for 12.9% of the total housing stock compared to 9.9% in 2011.

Property investors throughout Australia have been capitalizing on this trend towards smaller homes by purchasing higher density homes such as apartments and town houses in greater numbers over recent years. This is because the rental demand for these type of higher density homes is growing due to these changing demographic dynamics.

Anyone who is considering buying an apartment or higher density home for investment purposes should consider that the peak sales activity for these homes tends to be around the start of the new financial year.

This trend is underlined by the fact that more than 60% of the property depreciation reports which DEPPRO prepares are during the months from June to September.

However, the number of depreciation reports DEPPRO undertake for investors who purchase an apartment, for example, tends to peak during July and August because many people decide to buy an apartment for investment purpose after visiting their accountant at the start of the new tax year.

Completing their tax returns focuses their mind on the tax advantages relating to owning a property such as negative gearing and depreciation.

While there are many issues concerning the depreciation entitlements on properties, in most cases, strata style homes such as new apartments provide a higher rate of depreciation than houses - all being equal.

Buying a new apartment, for example, can provide a taxpayer with considerable depreciation benefits because of the significant tax benefits they offer through depreciation.

Some DEPPRO clients are achieving that tax benefits obtained through depreciation can be equivalent to 60% of the total purchase price of the property. In some cases, these generous tax benefits can total $300,000 based on a purchase price of $500,000

A key part of ensuring that the investor obtains their full tax benefits is to have a professional depreciation company prepare a comprehensive depreciation schedule the cost of which can be tax deductible.