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

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.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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RBA Governor explains the rate rises we had to have

Philip Lowe’s comments come amid property industry concerns about pressures on mortgage holders and rising rents

Wed, Jun 7, 2023 2 min

Leaders in Australia’s property industry are calling on the RBA to hit the pause button on further interest rate rises following yesterday’s announcement to raise the cash rate to 4.1 percent.

CEO of the REINSW, Tim McKibbin, said it was time to let the 12 interest rate rises since May last year take effect.

“The REINSW would like to see the RBA hit pause and allow the 12 rate rises to date work their way through the economy. Property prices have rebounded because of supply and demand. I think that will continue with the rate rise,” said Mr McKibbin.  

The Real Estate Institute of Australia  today released its Housing Affordability Report for the March 2023 quarter which showed that in NSW, the proportion of family income required to meet the average loan repayments has risen to 55 percent, up from 44.5 percent a year ago.

Chief economist at Ray White, Nerida Conisbee, said while this latest increase would probably not push Australia into a recession, it had major implications for the housing market and the needs of ordinary Australians.

“As more countries head into recession, at this point, it does look like the RBA’s “narrow path” will get us through while taming inflation,” she said. 

“In the meantime however, it is creating a headache for renters, buyers and new housing supply that is going to take many years to resolve. 

“And every interest rate rise is extending that pain.”

In a speech to guests at Morgan Stanley’s Australia Summit released today, Governor Philip Lowe addressed the RBA board’s ‘narrow path’ approach, navigating continued economic growth while pushing inflation from its current level of 6.8 percent down to a more acceptable level of 2 to 3 percent.

“It is still possible to navigate this path and our ambition is to do so,” Mr Lowe said. “But it is a narrow path and likely to be a bumpy one, with risks on both sides.”

However, he said the alternative is persistent high inflation, which would do the national economy more damage in the longer term.

“If inflation stays high for too long, it will become ingrained in people’s expectations and high inflation will then be self-perpetuating,” he said. “As the historical experiences shows, the inevitable result of this would be even higher interest rates and, at some point, a larger increase in unemployment to get rid of the ingrained inflation. 

“The Board’s priority is to do what it can to avoid this.”

While acknowledging that another rate rise would adversely affect many households, Mr Lowe said it was unavoidable if inflation was to be tamed.

“It is certainly true that if the Board had not lifted interest rates as it has done, some households would have avoided, for a short period, the financial pressures that come with higher mortgage rates,” he said. 

“But this short-term gain would have been at a much higher medium-term cost. If we had not tightened monetary policy, the cost of living would be higher for longer. This would hurt all Australians and the functioning of our economy and would ultimately require even higher interest rates to bring inflation back down. 

“So, as difficult as it is, the rise in interest rates is necessary to bring inflation back to target in a reasonable timeframe.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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