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Are Rental Properties Still a Good Investment in Australia?

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The Australian real estate market is on an upward trend, with house prices predicted to rise by 6-7% in 2024 and continuing to climb in the following years. This growth is reflected across all major cities, and even more so in places like Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. Over the past year, the market saw steady increases, with an annual growth rate of 5.42% nationwide.

Economic factors like steady cash rates and recent tax cuts are making properties more affordable and driving demand even higher. This increased demand leads to more people buying homes, however, the downside is this reduces the availability of rental properties and pushes more pressure onto the rental market. The current rental crisis is causing significant stress, with rents skyrocketing and many tenants struggling to make payments.

With rising property prices and fluctuating rental yields, is investing in rental properties still worth it? It’s the only logical thing to ask. Let’s dive deeper into why it can be and why it might not be.

Understanding investment properties

When you invest in property, you do it for a financial return. You either seek a steady passive income by renting it out to tenants or as an AirBnB, or to sell it for a larger price later on. In theory, owning and renting a piece of property is the perfect way to have a positive cashflow. There’s more than one type of property too.

  • Residential properties – Self-explanatory, you probably thought of that one first;
  • Commercial properties – Office buildings and retail spaces designed strictly for businesses;
  • Industrial properties – Warehouses and factories used for production and storage;
  • Mixed-use properties – A blend of residential, commercial, and sometimes industrial spaces.

If you’re a company, you aim for a property which you can rent to other businesses. On the other hand, if you’re an individual investor, like most of the property owners, you’d go with a residential property. But where should you buy a property? What area will bring the most benefits? Well, it always comes down to urban VS regional growth areas.

Urban areas

Living in the city has a lot of perks. Cities offer plenty of job opportunities, better amenities, and a large social scene. Needless to say, this makes them very attractive places to live in. Because so many people want to move to cities, the demand for housing is high, but there isn’t always enough to go around. This drives up investment property prices, making the market competitive and expensive. If you’re buying a property in a big city, expect to pay more upfront and take out larger loans, which means higher mortgage payments.

On the flip side, cities attract a wide variety of renters like professionals, students and families, which keeps the rental market steady. The convenience of living close to work, entertainment, and public transport makes city properties desirable; there’s no question about that. Plus, cities often get big infrastructure projects like new transport links and commercial developments that can boost property values even further. Although the initial cost is high, the potential for long-term gains and steady rental income can make investing in urban properties worthwhile.

Higher demand in cities often means you can charge higher rents from your tenants or AirBnB guests, which helps cover some of the expenses. Maintenance, management fees, and council rates might be more expensive in urban areas, but the strong potential for property value growth makes it a good investment. If you want your property’s value to increase over time and have a reliable stream of renters and thus a positive cash flow, city properties are a solid option.

Regional areas

In regional areas, the dynamics are quite different. Demand is often driven by factors like affordability and lifestyle choices, which are two perfectly good reasons. Some people prefer living outside the city for a quieter life or because it’s more affordable. These places might not have as many amenities right now, but they’re growing. With new roads, schools, and shops, more people will move in, slowly increasing property values.

Properties in regional areas generally have lower purchase prices, which means smaller loans and lower mortgage interest payments. Because rents in regional areas tend to be lower, it might not always cover the expenses, making negative gearing more likely. While some costs like property taxes and insurance premiums, can be lower, property management fees and maintenance can still add up. Regional areas may not experience the same level of capital growth as urban areas, though some regions with growing populations and infrastructure development have potential.

If you get in early, you could benefit from rising property values as the area develops. Plus, you might find more affordable properties and less competition from other buyers. However, the likelihood of negative gearing depends on whether the rental income can cover the expenses. They vary based on property prices, rent levels, and expenses in both areas.

Responsibilities of a property owner

Before you start thinking about that sweet passive income, you first need to know the responsibilities of becoming a landlord.

Initial costs

Before you even start earning rental income, there are significant initial costs to consider:

  • Down payments – Typically, you’ll need a substantial amount of money upfront, often 20% of the property price, just to secure a mortgage;
  • Stamp duty – This is a government tax on property transactions, which can be a considerable expense depending on the property’s location and value;
  • Legal fees – You’ll need to budget for conveyancing and other legal costs associated with the purchase;
  • Renovation and maintenance costs – Initial renovations can make your investment property more appealing to potential tenants, and when you fix broken items right away, you save yourself headaches down the line.

Ongoing expenses VS Income potential

Once you’ve navigated the initial costs, you’ll need to manage the ongoing expenses of actually being a landlord:

Mortgage repayments

Your biggest regular expense. These payments affect how much money you have available each month and your overall financial health. The rent you receive from tenants needs to be enough to cover the mortgage payments. Only then can you maintain a steady profit and gradually build equity in your property. Otherwise, it’s a money pit which is the exact opposite of why you bought a property to begin with.

Expected rental yield

This is an important measure of how well your investment property is performing financially. To calculate it, divide the property’s annual rental income by its purchase price and convert that number to a percentage. For example, if you buy an apartment for $500,000 and you rent it out for about $2,000 a month. You get a $25,000 in annual rental income. Then the rental yield would be 4.8%. A high rental yield means the property is likely a good investment, as it generates a lot of income compared to its cost. However, you should also consider ongoing expenses like maintenance, management fees, and vacancies to make sure the property remains profitable over time.

Property management fees

Hiring a property manager can be a wise investment that saves you significant time and stress. They find tenants through whatever means necessary, collect rent and handle the turnover process. They’re also responsible for maintenance and repairs and hire whatever specialist is needed be it gardeners, window cleaners and handymen for odd repairs. Since they handle tenant turn-over, property managers also hire end of tenancy cleaning. All of those duties in just one person do not come cheap, though.

At this point, many people will wonder “are investment properties worth it”. Well, the answer is not, if ever, straightforward.

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Weighting down your pros and cons

You need to be frank with yourself and your goal of purchasing a property. Ask yourself:

  • What will you do with the extra money?
  • Are you looking to build up assets to retire early?
  • Do you want to maintain a high income and increase your expenditure?
  • Are you planning to upgrade to a nicer house to live in?
  • Are you considering having kids and want to secure their future?

Reflecting on these questions can help you determine if investing in a rental property and becoming a landlord is the path you want to take. Many people wonder “is renting a waste of money” and for good reasons, the ups are as significant as the downs.


  • Long-term growth potential – Property prices tend to go up over time, and there will always be a demand for housing. If you buy in a good location, your property could end up being worth a lot more than what you paid for it;
  • Steady income – Renting out your property can give you a nice income boost. With a good, low-cost loan, the rent can cover your bills and even provide some extra cash;
  • Easier than the stock market – Real estate can be simpler and more straightforward than the stock market. You’re dealing with physical properties you can see and touch, which makes it feel more tangible and less intimidating;
  • Tax perks – Property investors can often get tax deductions for expenses like maintenance, management fees, mortgage interest, and depreciation. These deductions can lower your taxable income and boost your overall returns.


  • Market ups and downs – Like any investment, property values can go up and down. This means the worth of your investment can fluctuate too;
  • Tenant troubles – Dealing with tenants can sometimes be a hassle. Late payments, property damage, and long vacancies will affect your ability to pay the mortgage;
  • Ongoing expenses – Repairs, upkeep, and management fees, just to name a few. Unexpected expenses can also pop up too, and you know you’re the one who has to cover them;
  • Hard to sell quickly – It takes time to sell a property. So, you can’t always get your money quickly if you need it. Plus, if interest rates go up, your loan repayments can increase. The result is that your investment is now more expensive than you initially planned.


  • Before investment, research the market. Consider your financial goals and capabilities;
  • Urban areas offer high demand and potential for long-term gains. Regional areas provide affordability and potential for growth.
  • When you invest in property, you have a passive income and tax perks. The downside is market fluctuations, potential tenant troubles and ongoing expenses.

Have you invested in the Australian real estate market? What has your experience been like? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

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