Future Returns: Evaluating Investments in the High-End Rental Market
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Future Returns: Evaluating Investments in the High-End Rental Market

By ROB CSERNYIK
Wed, Feb 15, 2023 8:50amGrey Clock 3 min

Whether penthouses with breathtaking views, stately mansions surrounded by natural beauty, or vacation villas in sought-after destinations, luxury rental properties are an increasingly attractive investment.

Recent figures from London-based real estate firm Savills show that across 30 leading markets worldwide, average prime rental values increased by 5.9% in 2022.

“It is largely still a landlord’s market across the majority of our 30 global cities,” Savills research analyst Lucy Palk said in a video released with the report. “This is driven by lack of stock and pent-up demand.”

Owning rentals in the top 10% of the real estate market might offer investors a chance to diversify their portfolios with an asset that has no or little correlation to stock or bond markets.

It’s not without risks, however, says Jonathan Woloshin, a real estate and lodging analyst at UBS Wealth Management. But the risks are different than conventional markets, meaning investors should take emotion out of the process, and do their homework before taking the plunge.

It’s critical to define what segment of luxury you want to play in, says Woloshin. While there may be a property in the US$50 million range, for example, “there’s going to be a smaller subset of people who are going to be able to rent it.”

Though real estate is historically a safe investment, Woloshin wants potential landlords to hope for the best while planning for the worst.

Woloshin spoke to Penta about the critical questions investors need to ask before becoming a high-end landlord.

Avoid Emotional Decisions

There are some investors who view high-end rentals only as a source of cash flow and depreciation. But owning property has an emotional component.

Whenever clients indicate they want to purchase investment properties, he asks them questions designed to remove emotion from the decision. For example, what are the client’s near-, mid-, and long-term liquidity needs, and for how long do they expect to own the property?

“Everybody wants liquidity at the same time, which is always the wrong time,” Woloshin says. Even if investors can afford a cash purchase, it might be more advantageous to borrow to meet liquidity needs, particularly if interest rates are favourable.

His thought exercises extend to worst-case scenarios as well. Woloshin says investors need to determine if purchasing the property or experiencing a significant decline in the property value will significantly impact their lifestyle.

Prepare for Carrying and Management Costs

Whether investors are buying properties in the low seven figures or at the US$100 million level, “occupancy is either zero or 100,” Woloshin says. “There’s no in-between.” Therefore investors need to think long and hard about carrying costs when deciding if they wish to become landlords.

Single-family rental companies tell Woloshin the average time between tenants is typically 30 days—though this was for comparatively modest properties. Higher-end rentals may have condo boards or homeowner associations to deal with when changing tenants, which could extend this time horizon.

Investors will typically have to factor in the cost of hiring a property manager to oversee rent collection and maintenance for a percentage of rental income as well, Woloshin adds. Some high-end gated communities may have onsite management which can help reduce such expenses.

Consider a Post-Rental Future in the Family

Investing in a high-end rental property isn’t always a purely financial transaction. Woloshin says he’s encountered multiple investors who build or buy luxury properties to rent for several years, before keeping the home within the family. This second life could be as a retirement or vacation home, or it could be passed down to another generation as a primary residence. Renting out a desired property initially can help defray costs until the family is ready to use it.

If an individual is considering turning a high-end rental into a family home down the line (or even if it’s a strong possibility), then it’s necessary to“do a lot of research about where you think you want to be,” Woloshin says. This includes how easy or hard it is to travel to the property from a primary residence. He offers the example of the flight-time difference in traveling from the East Coast to Hawaii versus Utah—to local politics and regulations that investors are already taking into account.

Buying International Comes With Special Challenges

High-end international properties can offer particularly lucrative opportunities for investors. For instance, Savills reports that prime rents in Dubai, Lisbon, and Singapore all grew above 20% in 2022.

But Woloshin says one reason “so many investment dollars come to U.S. real estate is because of our property laws.” Circumstances vary between countries, so investors who want to invest abroad need to look closely into issues that may affect the integrity of their investment, from government stability, property laws and tax regimes to ensure any risks match with their comfort levels. It’s also essential to consider any potential legal, tax, and foreign exchange rate issues with repatriating earnings from international rentals.

Depending on the location, Woloshin adds that environmental risks may come into play. Investors looking at buying coastal property in the Caribbean, for instance, will want to consider issues like hurricane risk and the cost and availability of flood insurance.



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Judge Blocks Effort to Auction Graceland

Family of Elvis Presley was fighting the attempted sale, alleging fraud

By TALI ARBEL
Sun, May 26, 2024 2 min

A Tennessee judge on Wednesday blocked an allegedly fraudulent attempt to auction off Graceland, the former Memphis home of music legend Elvis Presley and a major tourist destination in the state.

Elvis’s granddaughter, actress Riley Keough , says a company that had planned a Thursday sale was fake and trying to defraud the trust that owns Graceland.

Judge JoeDae Jenkins in Chancery Court in Shelby County, Tenn., granted the injunction to stop the auction, according to a court clerk. The court had granted Keough a temporary restraining order on the sale last week.

The auction was initiated by an entity called Naussany Investments & Private Lending. It had filed a public notice for a foreclosure sale in Tennessee, alleging Lisa Marie Presley , Elvis’s only child, defaulted on a $3.8 million loan it made to her. The group said it now owns Graceland because Presley defaulted on the loan.

Presley, Keough’s mother, controlled the Graceland trust until her death in January 2023 . Keough then took over as trustee.

Lawyers for Keough said Naussany’s loan documents are forgeries, and the firm “appears to be a false entity created for the purpose of defrauding” the trust that owns Graceland, Presley’s heirs or any purchaser of Graceland.

Elvis Presley Enterprises, which manages Graceland, has also said Naussany’s claims were fraudulent. “There will be no foreclosure,” said Elvis Presley Enterprises spokeswoman Alicia Dean . “Graceland will continue to operate as it has for the past 42 years.”

Keough’s lawyer declined to comment.

Naussany Investments and Kurt Naussany, named in the complaint as acting on behalf of the entity, couldn’t be reached for comment. A phone number listed in the complaint didn’t work, and emails sent to associated addresses weren’t answered. The Wall Street Journal couldn’t separately find contact information for a Kurt Naussany. A lawyer for the entity couldn’t be identified.

The Graceland complex in Memphis, which includes an exhibition center and a 450-room hotel, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

Elvis bought the property in 1957, when he was 22 and an ascendant star. He died in 1977 at the age of 42 and is buried on the Graceland property. Graceland opened to the public in 1982.

Lisa Marie Presley’s mother, Priscilla Presley , reached a settlement in 2023 with Keough over who would control the trust. The settlement came after Priscilla Presley challenged a 2016 amendment to the trust filed by Lisa Marie Presley that removed her mother as trustee.

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