To Sell or Not To Sell...that is the question

By Jo Chivers
Even before you start looking for your development site, you’ll need to clarify one thing.  Are you developing to sell or to hold?
To answer this question, you may need to answer another...
Is your strategy short or long term?  If it is short term, then selling may meet your needs to make a quick return on your investment. If you have a long term strategy to build up a property portfolio, then holding will be the way to go.
There are several factors that will influence your decision:
Your development is in an awesome location but in a poor rental market.  An example of this may be a coastal area where there may be higher demand from owner occupiers wanting to purchase low maintenance property to retire to. In this case you may sell to realise your profits as holding would not be viable due to low rental returns.
If you complete your development and the market is in an upswing with high demand, then you may get a higher than anticipated sales price. So this may influence you to sell. But if the market is down and there is an oversupply of property, but a tight rental market, then holding may make sense.
Interest Rates
An important factor in calculating holding costs is interest. If interest rates are around 5.75% as they are now yet the rental yield is around 8% in the area you’re developing in, then holding the properties makes good sense. You may look at fixing rates for a few years, to take the risk of rates rising out of the scenario. 
You need to discuss your personal and/or company tax situation with your accountant before starting to develop property. There is capital gains tax to consider when selling as well as GST implications when selling brand new dwellings. These alone may sway you to hold. You also need to check on land tax to see if this will affect you if you decide to hold. 
Most of Property Bloom clients develop to hold.  This is because they choose to access the equity – which is created through the development process - through refinancing on completion.  This means they don’t have selling costs like agents selling commission, capital gains tax and GST.   Once refinanced, they can pull some equity out of the development if they choose.
Another deciding factor in holding is in the areas of the Hunter Region we develop in, we are getting very strong rental returns. We find that we can maximise the rent because the villas are new. Tenants do pay a premium to live in a new dwelling.  The gross yield on completion can be as high as 9%. The yield does also depend on the size of the development.  A three villa project will have a higher yield than a dual occupancy.  
Another reason our clients hold is take advantage of the high depreciation benefits they receive on the new dwellings.  On a typical dual occupancy, our clients are receiving around $17,000 in year one (based on Diminishing Value method). If you are paying lots of tax, then this is definitely one of the rewards of holding.
The final reason Property Bloom clients hold is because they want to build up a retirement fund and take advantage of future capital gains. In the suburbs we develop in, there is high potential for capital growth because of many factors including increased population, projected housing demand in the council’s Regional Strategy, spend on infrastructure and the benefits that the coal mining, health, tourism and wine growing industries bring to these towns
The long term growth figures are currently around 8%.  So if a client can create around say $80,000-$120,000 in equity through the development process AND then holds for ten years, they stand to receive solid capital growth.  The future value of their development will be considerable.  Whatever your strategy, make sure you put down a solid plan that you feel comfortable with and set up a professional team to help you achieve your goals.  

“I was bitten by the property bug, there was no turning back.”

Jo Chivers proves that women can indeed have it all- a career that you are passionate about and a family.  While all of this sounds great, it does require hard work, dedication, perseverance and a bit of risk-taking.

Jo’s love of property development inspired her to leave her corporate career and pursue her true passion. After educating herself in property investing, she started building up her own property portfolio. After purchasing a few blue chip properties in Sydney, she soon realised how negatively geared they were and began researching outside of Sydney. She discovered a more affordable, large region of NSW where she completed her first property development.  Soon her friends were asking her to find them sites and manage their developments. 

She realised there was a need for an all encompassing project management service and her business Property Bloom™ was born.  Ten years down the track, she has developed over 60 properties for clients, creating literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and high end yields.

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