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What’s happening in the Australian property market?

If you’re considering investing in the Australian property market, then it’s important that you’re aware of current housing trends. From the ongoing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing interest rates and the housing crisis, navigating the evolving landscape of real estate in 2024 is best done with the help of property market experts.

In this blog, the Capital Properties team take a look at the key housing trends that have emerged over the past few years and what they mean for property investors across different states and territories.

At Capital Properties, we’re committed to helping ADF members invest their disposable income wisely to achieve long-term financial freedom. That means staying up-to-date with housing trends and navigating the property market to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.

Our free Capital Properties Discovery Session is a great place to examine current housing trends and start your well-informed property investment journey.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • The Australian property market is still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There was a 16% increase in capital-to-regional movement since 2019.
  • Property values in combined capital cities rose by 10.2% in over the last year.
  • Almost each state & territory experienced record high property values in early 2022 & even though they’ve since fallen, property prices in most areas are still higher than pre-pandemic.
  • High interest rates & rising living costs have put pressure on the property market.
  • Rental vacancies are at their lowest since 2018.
  • The national median rent is $600 per week.
  • The government’s promise to deliver 2 million new properties by 2029 is falling short of its target & shows no sign of relieving the housing crisis.

Keep reading >>

Post COVID housing trends – prioritising lifestyle

I know we all want to forget it ever happened, but the reality is that the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the Australian property market and we’re still feeling the effects.

In the early days of lockdowns Aussies sought out tree and sea-changes for a better work-life balance in unprecedented numbers. Access to remote work resulted in an increase in demand for larger homes with dedicated office spaces, outdoor areas, and proximity to essential amenities. We’ve talked about this in our blog “The big shift towards the ideal Australian Lifestyle”. Even now, the latest Regional Movers Index shows a 16% increase in capital-to-regional movement since 2019. But that trend doesn’t mean that cities are missing out, with an increase in value by 10.2% in property values over the last year in the combined capital cities.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in each state and territory.

State and territory housing trends:

– New South Wales (NSW) & Victoria 

The demand for city living stayed strong in Sydney and Melbourne, despite the challenges posed by high interest rates and the cost of living. NSW house prices grew to record highs in January 2022, climbing to 27% but have since fallen by 12%. Victoria hit its peak of 17.3% in February 2022 but has experienced a 9% fall. The current city market looks stable, but there’s an increased demand for more affordable housing options in outer suburbs and regional areas.

– Queensland 

Sunny Queensland had a huge surge in demand for lifestyle properties, particularly in coastal regions like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Brisbane experienced an overall growth of 42.7% in property values by June 2022 and only a 10.9% fall.

And this housing trend looks set to continue as Queensland continues to attract both owner-occupiers and investors seeking the ultimate Aussie lifestyle.

– South Australia, Tasmania & Northern Territory (NT) 

These regions have seen a mix of housing trends, with some areas experiencing significant growth due to the increased desire for space and relaxed lifestyle. However, some others struggled with affordability issues and limited supply. Adelaide had a growth of 44.7% in house values post pandemic and the market has remained strong with a fall of only 2.4%.

NT prices grew just over 31% during COVID with only a 2% fall, whereas Hobart saw a boom of 37.7% growth with a sharp fall of 12.9% in less than a year.

– Western Australia (WA)

Perth and other regional centres in WA experienced strong growth as remote work opportunities increased. The market peaked in July 2022 at 25.9% and has only dropped by 0.4%.

The state’s relative affordability compared to its eastern counterparts made it an attractive option for property investment. And a relatively high average salary in WA (approx. $1988 per week) means that the increased interest rates and cost of living seem to not have had the same detrimental effect as seen in other states.

High interest rates & the cost of living

The current high interest rates and rising cost of living have certainly put pressure on the property market, making affordability a concern for some potential investors. However, while these factors present challenges, they also create opportunities for many savvy investors.

With interest rates expected to stabilise in the coming months, it’s a great time for ADF members to explore property investment strategies that align with their long-term financial goals.

Rental prices

Although many homeowners are feeling the pinch and some prospective homebuyers might feel their dream of home ownership is getting further and further away, many renters are also having a tough time.

Right now, rental vacancies are at their lowest since 2018. Renters are battling in a highly competitive market, with the obvious outcome of increased rents.

Every Australian city has experienced an increase in the median price for rentals, for both units and houses. At the end of the March 2024 quarter, the national median rent advertised on realestate.com.au reached $600 per week. That’s an increase of 3.4% over the quarter and a 9.1% increase from the year prior. And with the current housing crisis, this shows no sign of letting up.

Navigating the housing crisis

With Australia’s population continuing to grow at a rapid pace, there’s no sign of relief for housing shortages and low rental stock. The national population increased by a record 659,795 people from September 2022 to the same month in 2023.

548,770 individuals migrated here from overseas, so as they’re unlikely to own their own property, they’ll be relying on rental accommodation – at least for the short term. Even the Federal Government’s Housing Accord goal to build 1.2 million new properties over five financial years from mid 2024 is looking like it’s too little, too late. In fact, Australia needs to approve about 80,000 more homes every year in order to meet the new dwellings target and we’re falling woefully behind. This chronic housing shortage is likely to keep driving up property prices and rents throughout 2024.

Again, this presents both challenges and opportunities for potential property investors. By leveraging expert advice and focusing on emerging growth areas, investors can navigate the housing crisis and continue to build a robust property portfolio.

What’s next for the Australian Property Market?

Economists and property experts will all have varying opinions on what the current housing trends means for the future of the Australian property market. From predictions of the market stabilising – along with interest rates, to the possibility of a surge in the market due to ongoing demand and supply, the team at Capital Properties will be keeping our fingers on the pulse of the housing market.

As always, the Capital Properties team are here to support ADF members to become informed investors by providing expert advice, personalised strategies, and access to premium investment opportunities across Australia.

The best place to start is our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session which will help you identify what you need to start investing and give you an idea of what we bring to the table as property investment specialists. Then our follow up Strategy Sessions will help you create a plan to find your perfect investment and work towards achieving your goals.

You can also click the following links to access our monthly Australian Property Market Report and our free online Property Investment Tools and Apps.

How to help you choose the right Property Manager

Find yourself a Property Manager who’ll save you time, money and your sanity!

Why you need a good Property Manager

We know this isn’t the first time you’ve heard us recommend the services of a Property Manager. In fact, we always recommend you get a Property Investment A-team around you once you start investing. But the question of why you need a good Property Manager still comes up in conversations with our Clients.

The thing with ADF members is we’re great at thinking we can do it all ourselves. We know property investment is an excellent way to secure our financial future and we know managing expenses is crucial. So, the temptation to DIY property management is understandable. But managing a property can be challenging, especially when you’re leading an already hectic lifestyle due to your service commitments. Tenants can be demanding, and even ‘easy’ tenants require ongoing management. That’s where a professional Property Manager can be worth their weight in gold. The right Property Manager will make sure your investment prospers while you get on with work, life and everything else.

Our Capital Properties team is dedicated to helping you invest without stress. If you haven’t been already, we invite you to our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session to learn the tricks of the trade for hassle-free investing.
If you’re ready to take the next step, our Property Investment Tools & Apps and essential resources from our Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program will help you get there.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • The right Property Manager is crucial to the success of your investment.
  • Property Managers are responsible for screening & managing tenants, daily admin, property maintenance, managing disputes, mitigating risk & keeping on top of finances.
  • Choosing the right Property Manager with Capital Properties means you get a Property Manager who offers:

– Personalised service
– Experience & expertise
– Great value for money
– Ongoing support & advice

Keep reading >>

What does a good Property Manager do?

A good Property Manager plays a vital role in ensuring your property is looked after properly and remains profitable. Here’s some of what the role entails:

– Tenant screening

The most obvious task a Property Manager undertakes is the screening of potential tenants to ensure they’re the right fit for your investment property. That means they’ll check tenants’ references for rental history, making sure they’re likely to pay rent on time and aren’t liable to damage your investment. If you have a moment, you can read our earlier blog ‘How to find quality tenants’.

– Tenant management

Unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop once you’ve got tenants in place. A thorough lease agreement is necessary to ensure the rules of tenancy are set out clearly. It’s also necessary to undertake regular property checks and deal with any maintenance issues that pop up. Then there’s rent collection, including any additional agreed fees. To make sure all of this goes smoothly, you’ll need regular communication to avoid any risk of rental arrears or disputes.

– Administration

It’s always surprising how much admin is required to deal with tenant queries and manage property maintenance. The right Property Manager will handle all the day-to-day admin, so you don’t have to get bogged down with it.

– Property maintenance

Regular property inspections are essential to ensure your investment stays in good condition. A good Property Manager will conduct routine inspections to identify and correct any maintenance issues early on as well as making sure your property complies with the latest regulations.

– Tenant disputes

It’s not unusual for issues to arise between you and your tenants. Most problems will fall within the daily admin, however some might need more time and experience to deal with. For example, non-payment of rent, negotiating a rent increase, or handling unreasonable requests from your tenants. The right Property Manager will handle tenant complaints and try to find a mutually beneficial resolution. If the worst happens and you can’t find a resolution, the Property Manager can take action to legally evict the tenants.

– Managing risk

Another thing your Property Manager is essential for, is being able to identify any potential risks and taking proactive measures to mitigate them. That includes making sure your property is compliant with local, state and federal laws. They’ll also make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place, and they’ll select low-risk tenants to protect you and your investment.

– Keeping on top of property finances

Property Managers will help you determine the ideal rent price to make sure your investment is profitable while also staying competitive to attract good tenants. They’ll keep records of all financial transactions, helping you to stay on top of your property’s expenses and gross income.

Choosing the right Property Manager with Capital Properties
At Capital Properties, we understand the unique challenges ADF members face when investing in property. We’re committed to helping you navigate these challenges and make sure your investment journey is stress-free. Here’s how we help you choose the right Property Manager:

– Personalised service

We listen to what you need and offer solutions that are tailored to your requirements. Our Property Managers will manage as much or little as you’re comfortable with and will help you decide if you need regular updates or periodic reports to keep you informed at every stage.

– Experience and expertise

We partner with experienced Property Managers who have a wealth of knowledge in the real estate industry and local rental markets. They understand the busy lives of ADF members and do everything they can to make your investment work for you while you get on with your life.

– A great investment

Capital Properties recommends Property Managers who provide cost-effective property management solutions to make sure you maximise your returns. Our Property Managers minimise unnecessary costs but will strive to maintain full tenancy, regular property maintenance and ultimately increase the value of your investment.

– Ongoing support and advice

With the right Property Manager, their support won’t end once your property is tenanted. They’ll offer ongoing support and guidance, assisting you with any queries or concerns you may have throughout your investment journey.

Choosing the right Property Manager is crucial to the success of your investment. At Capital Properties, we’re dedicated to helping ADF members like you find the right Property Manager to manage your investment effectively.

It’s our mission to help you make informed decisions and achieve long-term financial freedom. Get in touch today to learn more about our property management services tailored for Defence personnel.

And while you’re here,  check out the Capital Properties Switched-On Strategy Series and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program.

**Please Read Carefully**

OFFICE/MEETING ROOM FOR LEASE COOLUM BEACH

Coolum Beach Industrial Park

Are you a service-based business located in Coolum Beach or surrounding suburbs? We have some additional space which could be suitable for 1 – 2 person teams, who are service based businesses that currently work from home and require a little more space or a professional space to conduct meetings.

  • Trendy warehouse fit-out
  • Great location, easy to find
  • Office dimensions 4.5m x 3.6m
  • Office/Meeting Room is airconditioned
  • Power & internet included
  • Private waiting/reception area
  • Price $250p/w + GST

Inspections by appointment only, a pre-lease questionnaire is to be completed prior to any inspections. All completed pre-lease questionnaires & enquires to be directed to [email protected]

Download a copy of the Pre-Lease Questionnaire: Pre-Lease Application Questionnaire

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Make the most out of the silly season and book your end/start-of-year review with the Capital Properties team

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a moment to reflect on your property investment strategy with Capital Properties? As the year draws to an end and a new one about to begin, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your property investments, set new goals, and make any necessary adjustments so you can hit the ground running in 2024.

In this blog post, we invite you to join us for an end/start-of-year review to help secure your financial future for the years to come. So, grab a cold one and let’s explore why a property investment check-up is the best way to close out your year.

The Capital Properties team live and breathe property investment for ADF members, and it’s our mission to make sure we help you achieve your property investment goals to reach future financial security. Our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session is a great place to start, and we have tools and strategies to help you every step of the way.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • Capital Properties clients use proven property investment strategies to weather the storms and make the most of the opportunities in the Australian Property Market.
  • An end-of-year review will make sure you stay on the path to financial success. The review covers:
    • Lifestyle and financial goals
    • Assessment of current property portfolio
    • Optimisation of property investment strategy
    • New opportunities identified
    • Prep for tax season
  • We’ll also cover latest property data, market analysis, research as well as your cash flow position and explore the options available to you, whether you’re ready to grow your portfolio, or make changes to get you closer to that point.
  • Book your end-of-year review now so you can hit the ground running in 2024.

Keep reading >>

Looking back to look forward

Before we welcome in the new year, it’s only natural to look back at the past one and reflect on the successes and challenges we’ve faced. In 2023, Australian Defence Force (ADF) property investors encountered plenty of opportunities and challenges in the Australian property market. From the highs of unprecedented rental demand in some areas and attractive government initiatives, to the lows of building supply issues and soaring interest rates, we’ve had a hell of a ride.

Capital Properties clients have used our proven property investment strategies to weather the storms and stay ahead of the game with growing portfolios and strong capital growth across all their investments. And we want to see you continue to succeed in 2024 and beyond. That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of a Capital Properties end-of-year review and make sure you stay on the path to financial success.

Why an end-of year review?

The comprehensive Capital Properties end-of-year review will allow you to:

  1. Review your lifestyle and financial goals

It’s easy to get busy and bogged down in the craziness of day-to-day life, especially if they involve training, exercises, and deployments. So, it’s important to speak to someone with an objective view to make sure you are still in line with your goals.

  1. Assess your current property portfolio

Together we can analyse your current property investment(s), assess their performance, and make sure they still align with your financial and lifestyle objectives.

  1. Optimise your property investment strategy

We’ll make sure you stay on track by working with you to optimise your property investment strategy to maximise returns and minimise risks.

  1. Identify new opportunities

The Australian property market is constantly evolving. The Capital Properties experts will help you discover new opportunities that may be worth exploring in the coming year.

  1. Prepare for tax season

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), 9 out of 10 rental property investors make errors in their tax returns, especially when it comes to interest deductions. The Capital Properties team can help you ensure your investments are structured in a tax-efficient manner to avoid facing the wrath of the ATO when it comes to tax time.

What does the end/start-of year review cover?

As well as making sure you have a clear vision of your goals and the strategy you need to get you there, our end of year review will cover some essentials such as:

  1. Latest property data and research

We’ll re-evaluate your investment property(s) cash flow position and comparative market analysis, including:

  • RPdata suburb and statistics reports for each property
  • Residex suburb reports
  • The latest Forecast ID demographic reports
  • Desktop and full valuations
  • Rental manager feedback and reviews
  • Vacancy rates
  1. Strategy development

We’ll look at the options available to you, whether you’re ready to grow your portfolio, or make changes to get you closer to that point. Our finance team will confirm your new borrowing capacity and discuss the next steps. If it suits you better, we can do all, or most of this, over the phone. Your options might include:

  • Option A. Capacity for a new purchase – If you’re in the position to explore your next property investment opportunity, we’ll help you get the ball rolling.
  • Option B. Increasing capacity – If you’re not ready for your next investment just yet we’ll share tips that will increase your capacity and help you get closer to your goals.

Option C. Consolidation – We can help you work out if you should consolidate your finance, find better interest rates, and reduce your investment/personal debt.

What’s next?

We know that the unique demands of Defence life mean you don’t always have time to stay updated and make sure your investment(s) is working the hardest for you. We created the Pinnacle Support Program to make sure you’re supported the whole way through your property investment journey. And we believe the end of the year is the perfect time to evaluate your property investments and set the course for the year ahead.

It’s also a chance for us to say thank you for your continued trust in our team. Your support is greatly valued, and we look forward to celebrating your successes in the years to come.

Get in touch now to book your end-of-year review and make sure you’re still on track to reach your financial and lifestyle goals.

If you’ve got some time, you can check out our FREE Property Investor Tools and Apps and download a copy of our book, Property Investment SOP  – essential reading for all property investors and first home buyers.

Are you ready to take your property investment journey to the next level?

At Capital Properties, we understand that achieving success in property investment requires a strategic approach. That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to the Capital Properties Property Investment Planner.

This 4-in-1 planner is designed to help you reach your goals of successful property investment for future financial security so you can create the life you dream of.

Invest in your future with the Capital Properties Property Investor Planner, the best 4-in-1 planner for property investors in Australia! Then come along to our FREE Capital Properties  Discovery Session where we’ll help you put these plans into action.

Our Property Investment Tools & Apps and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program will support you every step of the way.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • As ex-ADF members, Capital Properties understand the barriers and opportunities ADF members face when it comes to property investment.
  • The Capital Properties Property Investment Planner was created by Capital Properties founder, Marcus Westnedge.
  • The user-friendly planner has tools, tips, and strategies to help you stay focused & learn to prioritise goals & tasks.
  • This is Australia’s best property investment planner with daily inspiration, mindset evaluation, hourly schedule, personalised goal setting, and there’s nothing stopping you from starting right now!

Keep reading >>

Designed by ADF Investors, for ADF Investors

The Capital Properties Property Investment Planner was developed by seasoned property investors who understand the challenges and opportunities in the Australian property market, as well as the barriers and opportunities you’ll experience as ADF members.

Marcus Westnedge, the founder and director of Capital Properties, brings a wealth of experience to the world of property investment. He joined the Royal Australian Navy at 17, bought his first property at 19, and built a multimillion-dollar portfolio before leaving the Navy.

He created a 7 step to successful property investment strategy that’s helped thousands of ADF members get on top of their financial literacy and use their disposable income to build generational wealth.

And because Marcus is passionate about helping others achieve property investment success, he’s developed this unique Property Investment Planner to get you started.

What makes this Property Investment planner the best?

It’s not just another generic planner; it’s a roadmap to help you navigate every step of property investment.

This comprehensive planner is packed with tools, tips, and strategies to make sure you stay focused and learn to prioritise goals and tasks like a seasoned property investor. It covers everything you need, including:

  1. Building better habits: Success in property investment starts with cultivating the right habits. Our planner provides insights and exercises to help you stay focused.
  2. Increase productivity: We’ll show you how to maximize your productivity, so you can make the most of your time and resources.
  3. The ‘Well-Formed Outcome’: Learn this specialised goal-setting technique to create a plan of attack and hit each of your targets.
  4. Self-evaluation for success:  Self-awareness is key to successfully setting goals, tracking progress and making necessary adjustments.
  5. Yearly ‘mind map’: A visual mind map helps you maintain clarity and focus on your property investment goals and plans for the year ahead.
  6. Annual budget template: Get a handle on your finances with our accurate annual budget template. Know where your money’s going and plan accordingly.
  7. ‘Personal Action Sheet’ and ‘Personal Action Plan’: Monitor your progress toward your goals with our monthly templates.
  8. Weekly strategy planning:  Consistency is key. Our weekly strategy planning templates make it easy to stay on track.
  9. Daily ‘to-do’ lists: Get stuff done. Each day will bring you closer to your investment goals.

How the Capital Properties Property Investment Planner helps you stay on course

Like every well-executed plan, you need to measure what matters. That’s why our planner is designed to prevent procrastination and keep you focused on your end goal. Here’s why it’s your key to success:

  1. Daily inspiration: You’ll find a dose of inspiration to keep you motivated every day.
  2. Mindset evaluation: Discover what a winning mindset looks like and adjust yours for success.
  3. Hourly schedule: Keep track of your daily activities and create healthy habits that’ll keep you accountable.
  4. Personalised goal setting: Define what success looks like to you. What are your career, financial, and personal goals? Think about family time, spiritual growth, recreation, and your long-term goals.
  5. User friendly: We’re all about helping you achieve success in property investment, so our planner is easy to use and gets you there faster.
  6. Undated: You can start using it right now, no need to wait for a specific date.

Your journey to property investment success starts here. With our Switched-On Strategy Series and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program you’ll have the full support of our experienced team.

So, make the first move and make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity to take control of your property investment future. Purchase your copy of the Capital Properties Property Investment Planner today and set yourself on the path to success.

 

(I’d be assuming you’d have a good understanding! But just in case) Who and what is DHA?

Defence Housing Australia (DHA) was established in 1988 to provide housing and related services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families. This includes all members of the Defence Force, Officers and employees of the Department of Defence as well as anyone that’s contracted to provide goods or services to the ADF and their families.

DHA operates as a corporate Commonwealth entity and is one of nine Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) that has a Services Agreement with the Department of Defence. The DHA is represented in the Government by two Shareholder Ministers: the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel.

DHA is one of the largest property managers in Australia, with approximately 18,500 properties under management. About 70% of Defence housing is owned by property investors.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into DHA and answer the question “how does DHA stack up?” and more importantly, is DHA a good investment strategy for you?

The Capital Properties team are passionate about empowering you to develop the best investment strategy for your situation. Whether you’re just starting out, or growing your portfolio, our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session will help you achieve your property investment goals for future financial security.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • Defence Hosing Australia (DHA) provides housing and related services to ADF members and their families throughout Australia.
  • DHA is one of the largest property managers in Australia.
  • About 70% of Defence housing is owned by property investors.
  • DHA generates more than $1 billion of revenue per year.
  • ADF members have several housing options: Service Residence, Members Choice Accommodation, Living-in accommodation, & Rental Assistance.
  • DHA leases city apartments, townhouses & free-standing houses.

There are pros and cons of investing in DHA:

Pros of DHA investing:

  • Long-term lease options with guaranteed rental income
  • One service fee covers property inspections, annual rental adjustment, tenant management & property maintenance.
  • Monthly statements & online property management.
  • End of lease cleaning with appliance checks.

Cons of DHA investing:

  • Must buy/build in specific locations within 30kms of defence bases.
  • DHA have higher property management fees than other managers.
  • Restricted on rental rates/lease agreements.
  • DHA properties are sold at market value so you may not get maximum value if selling mid-lease.

Keep reading >>

DHA’s mission

DHA’s main mission is to “provide adequate and suitable housing and related services.” So, what does that mean exactly? Simply put, DHA works with the Australian Federal Government to administer Defence housing policy and provide housing and related services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families.

These services include:

  • Providing a property portfolio and managing and maintaining ADF housing.
  • DHA Housing Consultants help ADF members to find housing solutions throughout Australia.
  • Assist with bookings and allocations.
  • Manage allowance payments for ADF members in rental accommodation.
  • Meet Defence housing demands by building and purchasing properties.
  • Redevelopment of existing properties to meet Defence standards.

DHA’s commitment to shareholders

DHA doesn’t receive funding from the Federal Budget, but instead makes money from commercial rent, fees, and charges from Defence services, as well as sales and lease of property investments. Older properties that don’t meet current Defence standards, or excess land is occasionally sold to create revenue. Overall, DHA generates more than $1 billion of revenue per year. These profits allow payments of dividends to the Australian Government (based on 60% of net profit after tax).

DHA services to Defence

The Department of Defence is responsible for determining pay conditions for ADF members, including entitlement to subsidised housing. ADF members who don’t own a suitable home in their posting location are often eligible for housing assistance. There are several housing options available to ADF members and their families:

  • Service Residence (SR)

A Service Residence (SR) is a subsidised house or apartment that Defence provides to eligible ADF members who have Accompanied Resident Family (ARF) in a housing benefit location near Defence bases and offices throughout Australia. ADF members who don’t have a resident family (MBR) and members who have unaccompanied resident family (URF) might be eligible to live in a surplus Service Residence.

  • Member choice accommodation (MCA)

Member choice accommodation (MCA) are off-base rental properties and are available in most housing benefit areas, located close to base or city centres. These properties have 24-hour maintenance services, can be reserved without inspection and don’t require bonds or fixed term leases. The rent is automatically deducted from ADF pay.

  • Living-in accommodation (LIA)

Living in accommodation (LIA) are rooms that are allocated when the Defence member is in transit and needs a room for a short stay. There are 5 levels of LIA accommodation, usually single rooms with either shared bathroom or ensuite.

  • Rent Allowance

Rent allowance subsidises the cost of renting a property in the private rental market. ADF members are responsible for finding a suitable rental property, and signing the lease/paying the bond etc. They will then be paid a fortnightly Rent Allowance subsidy through the Defence pay system.

What are the DHA property requirements?

DHA seeks different types of properties depending on locations, e.g. city apartments, townhouses or free standing dwellings or townhouses. Each of these properties have certain criteria. For example, a free-standing property must:

  • Be within 30kms of a Defence base.
  • Have at least 3 bedrooms with WIRs – at least one with ensuite.
  • Must have a fully functional kitchen, dining area/room, lounge room and laundry.
  • Bathroom with separate shower and bath and separate toilet.
  • Lock-up garage.
  • Fully enclosed rear yard.

Location of DHA properties

  • ACT – Canberra & Queanbeyan
  • NSW – Glenbrook, Newcastle, Nowra, Sydney, Richmond & Wagga Wagga
  • NT – Darwin
  • QLD – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Ipswich, Toowoomba & Townsville
  • VIC – Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne& Wodonga
  • WA – Perth & Rockingham
  • SA – Lefevre Peninsula, Campbelltown, Vale Park, Hewett & Adelaide Hills

Note, property criteria and locations are subject to change. See full DHA eligibility criteria here.

Is investing in DHA a good idea?

OK, now that we know how it all works, let’s investigate how does DHA stack up from an investment point of view? At Capital Properties, we know property investment is a great way to turn your disposable income into future financial

freedom. Our mission is to help you – Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and Navy recruits get on top of financial literacy and make the most of property investment opportunities to secure your financial goals.

Investing in DHA certainly has an appeal. It defines your market and ideal property for you, making those decisions of where to invest a little easier. It offers a secure rental yield, almost guaranteeing a long-term income. But like all investments, it’s important to explore each of the advantages and disadvantages before you make an investment decision. Let’s explore the pros and cons of investing in DHA in greater detail…

Pros of leasing to DHA

  • In some cases, DHA will commit to lease before you build or buy.
  • Long-term leases (usually 3, 6, 9 to 12 years), with a possibility of extension.
  • Guaranteed rental income – paid in advance from the date of settlement and even when the property is vacant.
  • DHA finds and manages tenants, making it easier for time-poor investors.
  • Service agreements with only one service fee.
  • DHA provides regular property inspections and annual rental adjustment in line with market valuations.
  • Carries out property maintenance including most non-structural repairs.
  • Regular independent rent reviews.
  • Provides monthly statements and access to online property management software.
  • End of lease cleaning with appliance checks.
  • Somewhat predictable capital gains as DHA selects properties based on local amenities/access to transport etc.

Cons of DHA property investment

The main argument we regularly hear against DHA property investment is that although the monthly yield is reliable, there’s often less opportunity for capital growth, particularly in regional areas. Let’s look at other potential cons:

  • You’re limited to purchasing/building in specific locations within 30kms of defence bases.
  • DHA have high property fees at 16.5% (or 13% for townhouses) compared to most property managers (approx. 4-10%).
  • Owner is still responsible for outgoing costs such as council, water and strata rates, land tax, insurance, termite inspections and some repairs and maintenance.
  • Limited control over rental rates.
  • Lease agreements include a variable extension period, potentially adding another 3 years to the lease (at DHA’s discretion).
  • Being locked into long-term lease, and tenants means it’s trickier to sell mid-lease.
  • Also, because of the long-term lease, the property can only be sold to investors and not owner-occupiers, limiting your buyers. This makes some banks reluctant to lend money for DHA investments.
  • There may also be restrictions on marketing the property, so it could take longer to sell.
  • DHA properties are sold at market value, which means the price is fixed and non-negotiable. So, you can’t negotiate lower when you buy, and you might not get maximum value if you sell mid-lease.

How does DHA stack up for you?

Investing in DHA has its merits, offering a stable income, long-term lease agreements with less stress about managing tenants and vacancies. However, it does come with potential downsides, like high property management fees, limited control over rental rates and potentially lower capital gains.

Like all property investments, whether it’s the right move for you, or not, depends entirely on your individual situation, including your risk tolerances and ultimate investment goals.

At Capital Properties, we’ll help you develop a property investment strategy that suits your circumstances. As former ADF members ourselves we know DHA investing inside and out and can help you make decisions based on our years of experience and market knowledge. Start by booking into our free Discovery Sessions.

And while you’re here, check out our FREE Property Investor Tools and Apps and download a copy of our book, Property Investment SOP  – essential reading for all property investors and first home buyers.

About this project

I’d been keeping an eye on these commercial sheds for a while as we’d often drive past on the way to school drop off.

My idea was to convert an Industrial Warehouse (concrete tilt slab construction) into office space!

These are the stages of the build so far, if you have any questions about this project email [email protected]

As part of our 2024 expansion, the Capital Properties Team is going back to the office!

Stage 1.

Installation of ‘corflute’ to protect the concrete polish.

Stage1v1

Stage 2.

Delivery of the flooring supports & Frames.

Stage2v1

Stage 3.

Mezzanine floor construction.

Stage3v1

Stage3.1v1

Stage 4.

Frame construction.

Stage4.1v1

Stage4v1

Stage 5.

Air Conditioning install.

Ac Install (1)

Ac Install (2)

Stage 6.

Air Conditioning frame & Ground Floor ceiling frame & ceiling battens.

 

Insulation (1)

Hallway Frame

Stage 7.

Insulation Install.

Insulation (4)

Insulation (7)

Stage 8.

Plaster Board install.

Plasterboard (1)

 

More to come soon, stay tuned…

Renovating your home or investment property for maximum return

Renovating your home or investment property before putting it on the market is a savvy strategy to maximise the return on your investment. A pre-sale renovation can significantly increase the property’s sale value, attract a wider range of buyers, leave less room for buyer negotiations, and ultimately lead to faster and more profitable sale.

In this blog post, the experts at Capital Properties explain why planning your pre-sale renovation is worth the effort and we’ll provide you with practical tips for budgeting and planning a successful renovation project.

Capital Properties FREE Discovery Session will help you with your next stage in property investment. Whether you’re just getting started or planning to renovate your investment property so that you can move onto the next project – we’ve got you.

Our Property Investment Tools & Apps and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program will support you every step of your property investment journey.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • A pre-sale renovation can increase the property’s sale value, attract more buyers, save on negotiations, and result in a faster, more profitable sale.
  • Determine your budget by comparing local property sales price and how much value you can add with renovations.
  • Carry out a property assessment & create a checklist of work. Start with the biggest jobs, e.g., structural issues, then landscaping and consider any layout changes and electrical/heating upgrades.
  • Next, complete cosmetic repairs and consider professional styling.
  • Finally, think about where else you might be able to add value to attract your ideal buyer.

Keep reading >>

Is renovating your investment property really worth it?

In most cases, yes, renovating your investment property makes good business sense. We’ll cover the main reasons here:

  • Higher property valuation

We’ve discussed this before in our blog post “How to get a better valuation on your property”. A higher property valuation will strongly influence the sale price of your property before it even comes to market.

  • Maximise sale price

It’s important to look objectively at your property before you go to sell it. If you notice that some improvements need to be made, then so will your buyers. Some buyers will be put off by the work that needs to be done and others might question the value of the property and use it as a tool to negotiate a lower price. By making some calculated improvements (see below), you can set a higher asking price for more profit.

  • Speed of sale

A move-in-ready investment property is more likely to stand out in a competitive real estate market and sell faster. With less time on the market, you’ll also reduce holding costs such as mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance.

  • Better range of buyers

A well-renovated investment property with modern amenities will appeal to a broader range of buyers, from first-time homeowners to experienced investors.

  • Less negotiations

Humans are hard-wired to spot problems. And if we find one, we’ll look for more. There are few things more annoying than a buyer coming to you with a list of snags they want addressed before they’ll make an offer. It’s far better to sort out any issues pre-sale to avoid the need for negotiations. Buyers are usually more willing to pay a premium for a property that requires less attention or repairs, giving you more control over the selling process.

On the flip side however, there are some cons to carrying out a renovation. Of course, you’ll have to cover the costs for the renos, and you may lose some rent while you revamp – so sticking to a schedule is vital.  Plus, there are some tax implications. Although you will be able to claim some of the construction costs through capital works deductions, you can’t claim renovations as an immediate tax deduction. Plus, there’s some potential depreciation value loss from getting rid of old appliances. Learn more about this in our blog post “Tax depreciation reports 101.

We’ll explain how careful planning of your pre-sale reno will help you mitigate these downsides.

Setting your pre-sale renovation budget

Planning your pre-sale renovation might seem daunting at first. That old adage of spending money to make more sounds great in theory, but there’s always the question of whether you’ll be compensated with the return of investment (ROI).

The first step to planning your pre-sale renovation is to set your budget.  Only then can you develop a plan that will maximise your property pre-sale renovations.

Research the local real estate market conditions. What are comparable properties selling for? What’s the difference in costs between fully renovated properties and unrenovated homes? Ask your local real estate agent for their opinion; for example, should you consider adding an extra room, e.g. converting a study into a bedroom for a family property, or adding an external study to facilitate work-from-home? How much has your property increased in value since you purchased it?

At the end of this research, you should have a figure of how much value you can add with renovations and know when to draw the line so that you don’t over-capitalise. The next step is to research renovation costs and get quotes for the work. To do this you’ll need to carry out a property renovation assessment.

Property renovation assessment

Walk around the property – with your real estate agent if possible – and make a list of anything that needs attention. Whether it’s outdated fixtures, worn-out flooring, overgrown landscaping or cosmetic improvements that’ll boost the property’s appeal.

Prioritise the key areas that make the biggest impact on the buyer, i.e., kitchens, bathrooms, and flooring. As an ADF member it’s unlikely you’ll have the time to carry out the renovations yourself, so the next step is to get quotes from a few different contractors to ensure competitive costs. Just bear in mind that although price is important, you need to make sure the contractor has a reputation for quality, experience and delivering the project on time.

Planning your pre-sale renovation 

We strongly suggest that you appoint a project manager to create a project plan and oversee the renovations. It’s possible that you may need painters, carpenters, builders, landscapers, gardeners, stylists etc on site, so create a timeline so that everyone understands what’s happening and when. It makes sense to start by tackling the biggest/messiest problems first. Here’s where we’d start:

Fix any structural issues, e.g., repair the roof, stabilise walls and fix leaks.

Begin landscaping/clearing and planting early so that it’ll look great when it comes to market.

Next look at whether the layout could be improved. For example, consider knocking a wall through to make a larger, open plan living/kitchen area that will appeal to families and add more value to the property.

  • Upgrade electrics to bring them up to standard and install additional sockets and replace light switches with dimmers.
  • Upgrade to more efficient heating and appliances.

Everything you need to know about property investment in a nutshell

It’s been proven time and time again that property investment is a sure-fire method of making the most of your Australian Defence Force (ADF) wages for future financial success. With informed decision-making, a solid understanding of the basics, and a proven investment strategy, property investment can provide an additional income and long-term wealth.

In this Property Investment 101 blog post, the experts at Capital Properties will cover all the basics you need to know about property investment in Australia. We’ll discuss why you need a savings plan, what your minimum savings amount should be and how and why you need to get pre-approval. As well as why you should engage a Buyers Agent, and lots of other vital information you’ll need before you can move forward with property investment.

Come along to a FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session that’ll take you through Property Investment 101 in the most efficient way. Our team works with ADF members who are just starting out, all the way through to helping our clients manage multi-million-dollar portfolios. The best time to start is now.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • Start a savings plan by looking at your income & expenses, then set up a regular direct debit into a property investment fund.
  • Capital Properties recommends a minimum saving of 10% of the purchase price of the property.
  • Check out eligible Australian Defence Force (ADF) financial benefits.
  • Getting loan pre-approval is essential as it saves time, money & heartache.
  • Work with a Buyers Agent who understands the ADF lifestyle & someone who specialises in regional and local area investments.
  • Research: location, property type, rental yield, capital growth, building inspections & financing options.
  • Work out cash flow and investigate tax implications.
  • Continue to monitor and adapt your property investment strategy for future growth.

Keep reading >>

Why do you need a savings plan?

It’s essential to have a well-structured savings plan in place before you can even begin to think about where and when to invest.

As an ADF member, using your steady income to build your savings with the goal to invest is key to creating the future of your dreams. A savings plan helps you set realistic financial goals so you can know when you’ll have enough for a house deposit.

How to start a savings plan?

  • Read our ‘5 Top Tips to start your savings plan’ blog post.
  • Work out your current expenses, including rent/mortgage, energy bills, telephone & internet, medical & dental, groceries, car/transport costs, insurances etc. Capital Properties Budget Planner will help.
  • Once you’ve figured out your expenses, look at the surplus, or figure out where you can save some extra dollars, then set a savings goal for each fortnight (or week/ month).
  • Open a separate savings account to manage your property investment fund.
  • Set up a direct debit so that the money goes into that account before it gets spent.
  • Become familiar with your incomings/outgoings so you’ll learn how to manage potential investment costs.

How much of a deposit do you need for property investment?

As a general rule, banks will only lend first-time property investors money if they have between 5% to 20% of the purchase price of the home in genuine savings.

At Capital Properties, we recommend that potential investors save a minimum of 10% of the purchase price of the property to get started. 5% to cover the minimum deposit required to secure the home loan and the remaining 5% should cover the additional fees, such as legal fees, property inspections and potential renovations.

The more savings you have to invest, the better. One, it means you’ll pay less interest over time. And two, with a deposit of 20% or more, you won’t have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

Australian Defence Force (ADF) financial benefits for property investment

Australian Defence Force (ADF) members are often eligible for financial benefits that can be used towards property investment. For example, the Home Purchase Assistance Scheme (HPAS), Home Purchase or Sale Expenses Allowance (HPSEA) and the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS).

These benefits/incentives can help you secure a loan with lower interest rates and fewer fees. We’ve discussed these in more depth in the blog post: “Buying a house while in the Defence Force”.

Why you need pre-approval

We’ve written a whole blog post on pre-approval before: “Why being finance ready pays dividends”. In summary, pre-approval is confirmation from a lender that you’re eligible for a certain loan amount based on your financial situation, credit history, and ability to repay the loan. Getting pre-approval for the loan before you start searching for your ideal investment property will save you time, money and heartache.

The benefits of pre-approval

  • Pre-approval gives you a clear understanding of your budget, allowing you to narrow down your property search.
  • You have a much stronger negotiation position with pre-approval. Sellers often take pre-approved buyers more seriously as they’ve demonstrated their ability to secure financing.
  • With pre-approval, you can move quickly when you find the right property, reducing the risk of missing out on a good opportunity.

How to get pre-approval

  • Complete a finance application with your lender.
  • Provide supporting documents. That’s usually:
  • Proof of identification (driver’s licence, passport, birth cert. etc.)
  • Proof of employment/income (payslips, tax return, bank statements etc.)
  • Proof of genuine savings (deposits made over several years)
  • Overview of living expenses and any debts.
  • The lender will process your application. All going well you’ll be issued with a pre-approval letter within a couple of weeks (sometimes faster).
  • Pre-approvals typically last 3 – 6 months.

Working with a Buyers Agent

Navigating world of property investment can be overwhelming, especially for first-time investors and time-poor investors. This is where a Buyers Agent can provide invaluable help. Finding a Buyers Agent who understands your unique challenges as an ADF member and someone who specialises in investments (in regional and local area markets) are worth their weight in gold.

Why working with a Buyers Agent is a smart move:

  • Searching for the right property, attending inspections, and carrying out due diligence takes time that many ADF members don’t have. A Buyers Agent will navigate this for you.
  • Buyers Agents have in-depth knowledge of the local property market, including property values, trends, and growth potential. They’ll guide you to make informed property investment decisions.
  • Get access to off-market properties with superior investment potential.
  • Buyers Agents are skilled negotiators who can secure the best deal for you.
  • TheCapital Properties Buyers Agent service will help you find your ideal property and negotiate the lowest price and settlement with ease.

Research: Location & property.

Thorough research is the cornerstone of successful property investment. Before making any decisions, take the time to research various locations, property types, and market trends. Factors to consider include:

  • Location

Look for areas with strong rental demand, infrastructure development, and potential for capital growth. Proximity to amenities, public transport, schools, and employment hubs can significantly impact a property’s desirability. Think about trends driving the market, for example the recent push towards “Lifestyle and the property decision making process”.

 

  • Property type

Consider the type of property that will appeal to your ideal tenant. Houses, units and townhouses all offer different advantages and potential challenges.   Think about the number of rooms required and look for properties with features like air conditioning, off-street parking, and modern appliances that’ll appeal to those tenants. The ADF property buyer checklist will help with some of these decisions.

  • Rental yield

Calculate the potential rental income in comparison to the property’s purchase price. A higher rental yield = a more financially viable investment.

  • Capital growth

Research the capital growth of the area to determine its investment potential. While past performance won’t predict future results, it can provide insights into the market’s behaviour. Access the Capital Properties Australian Property Market Report for up-to-date property statistics.

  • Building inspection

Before you make an offer on an established property, make sure you get a building inspection. It’ll give you a clear idea of the property’s condition and leverage for negotiation if there’s any issues. Our blog post “Why use a building inspector when constructing” is a great place to start.

Property investment financing options

It’s essential to have a good understanding of your financing options. Different loan types can impact your cash flow, tax deductions, and overall financial position. Some common loan structures include:

  • Principal and interest loans (P&I)

In a P&I loan, you make regular payments that cover both the principal amount and interest, gradually reducing your outstanding debt over time.

  • Interest only loans

With an interest-only loan, you just pay the interest on the loan for a specified period (usually 1-5 years). This can free up cash flow for other investments but won’t reduce the principal amount.

  • Fixed vs variable interest rates

Fixed rate loans offer more certainty around repayments, while variable rates can fluctuate with market conditions.

  • Offset account

An offset account is a savings or transaction account linked to your home loan. The balance in the account offsets the loan principal, reducing the interest payable on the loan.

Property Investment cash flow and tax implications

As with any source of income, property investment comes with legal and tax implications that you need to be across. During a Capital Properties Strategy Session, we cover everything you need to know about managing cash flow and tax implications, including:

  • Income
  • Rental appraisal
  • Interest rates
  • Loan amount
  • Holding costs

Tax considerations:

  • Cash flow/gearing:

Where the rental return is less, the same as, or more than your expenses and its effect on your annual tax return. Read more in the post “Property cash flow or gearing, negative, neutral or positive”

  • Stamp duty:

A state-based tax on property transactions which depends on the property’s value and location.

  • Capital gains tax (CGT):

CGT is payable on the profit made from selling an investment property. The rate depends on your income and the length of time you’ve owned the property.

Ongoing Property Investment strategy

It’s essential to monitor and adapt your property investment strategy on a regular basis. You must be aware of tenants’ requirements, property maintenance, market trends, and keep on top of all incomings/outgoings associated with the property

As your financial situation evolves, you can start leveraging your existing property portfolio to expand your investments. This could involve refinancing to access equity or diversifying your portfolio with different property types or other locations.

If you’re still wondering where to start with property investment, the Capital Properties team can help you navigate the entire investment process. Start by booking into our free Discovery Sessions. This property investment 101 will help you make informed financial decisions, so that you can confidently navigate the property market and make the most of your investment opportunities.

Check out our FREE Property Investor Tools and Apps and download a copy of our book, Property Investment SOP  – essential reading for all property investors and first home buyers.

New livable house rules and new design codes  

Are you on top of the new livable house guidelines? 

Livable house guidelines

Have you heard that the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and National Construction Code (NCC) have recently updated the Livable Housing Guidelines, called ‘NCC 2022’? In fact, the NCC 2022 includes some of the biggest alterations to the Code since 2011 when they merged the Building Codes of Australia and the Plumbing Code of Australia.   

As busy ADF members, we know it’s hard to keep track of these changes. So, in this blog post we’ll explain what these new livable house rules and new design codes are and what they mean for your property investment portfolio. 

Remember, our Property Investment Tools & Apps and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program are designed to support you all the way through your property investment journey.  

If you’re short on time, but need to learn more about the new livable house rules and new design codes, then book into our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session to learn more. 

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs: 

  • The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) have updated the National Construction Code (NCC). 
  • The update is called ‘NCC 2022’ & is current from 1st May 2023. 
  • A major change is the introduction of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines – co-developed with Livable Housing Australia (LHA). 
  • These new livable house rules and new design codes were developed to make houses more accessible & adaptable in the future. 
  • 35.9% of Australia’s population has a disability and that prevalence increases to 49.6% with people over 65 years.  
  • The new livable house rules support housing choice, ageing in place & reduces cost of housing modifications. 
  • Livable Housing Design Guidelines apply to new Class 1a & Class 2 buildings. 
  • Landlords can charge higher rents for accessible properties. 
  • There are 3 Living Housing Australia (LHA) standards, Silver, Gold and Platinum. See below for the 7 core design elements and full breakdown of the new design codes. 

Keep reading >>

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) 

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is an organisation that writes nationwide standardised building requirements, including the National Construction Code (NCC).  

It’s the ABCB’s job to make sure that builders meet set standards for safe, accessible, and sustainable housing. They do this through education and industry engagement. The ABCB is part of a joint endeavour by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and the country’s plumbing and building industries. 

The National Construction Code (NCC) 

The National Construction Code (NCC) is the updated version of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The NCC establishes technical design and construction parameters for buildings, including plumbing and drainage work.  

It sets the minimum required level for accessibility, amenity, health, safety, and sustainability levels for certain buildings in Australia. It is mandated by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), on behalf of the Australian Government and each State and Territory government. 

The latest update to the Code is called ‘NCC 2022’ and is expected to be adopted by most Australian States and Territories from 1st May 2023. The following standards are considered integral parts of the new NCC 2022; NatHERS heating and cooling load limits, Whole-of-home efficiency factors, Fire safety verification method andLivable housing design. The Livable Housing Design Guidelines were developed by/with an organisation called Livable Housing Australia. 

Livable Housing Australia (LHA) 

Livable Housing Australia (LHA) is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with community and consumer groups as well as industry and the Australian government to work together to develop safe, accessible homes. They were the first to develop and publish the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. 

Why do we need accessible housing? 

In 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, found that approximately one-third of Australian households – i.e. 3.2 million households – have a person with a disability living there. That’s 35.9% of Australia’s population. And statistically that percentage is likely to grow, as the prevalence of disability increases with age with one in two (49.6%) people aged 65 years and over reporting a disability.  

Several years later, in 2019, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) reported that the there was a significant shortage of accessible homes in the market. And many of the accessible properties were rented to people who didn’t yet need an accessible house. Additionally, new homes were not being designed with accessibility in mind, so even new homes sometimes required modifications to make them more accessible. 

In fact, in Australia, around 11% of people with disability have had to modify their home due to a poor initial design. 

What is livable housing design? 

Livable housing design was introduced to change the way some Australian houses are designed. The intention is to make homes easier to use and more adaptable to the changing needs of people over their lifetime.  

The new livable house rules and new design codes recognises that houses need to be designed to make them more accessible for everybody, and in particular, for individuals with mobility limitations and older people. These changes will support housing choice, ageing in place and will reduce the cost of future housing modifications as people’s needs change over time. 

An accessible home should look like any other house, except it should be easy for anyone to enter, no matter their mobility or disability. The layout inside the house should be easy to navigate and reduce the possibility of injury. 

When do the Livable Housing Design Guidelines apply? 

The Livable Housing Design Guidelines apply to all new Class 1a and Class 2 buildings. Download a .pdf copy of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines here. 

  • Class 1a:  all houses, including detached houses, terraces, row houses, townhouses and villa units. 
  • Class 2: INSIDE all apartment buildings. (Common areas continue to be covered under the existing Section D of NCC Volume One and the Access to Premises Standards). 

Each State and Territory are adopting the livable housing requirements at different times: 

1 October 2023  Queensland, ACT & Northern Territory 
1 May 2024  Victoria 
1 October 2024  South Australia and Tasmania 
N/A  NSW and Western Australia – not currently adopting provisions 

What do the Livable Housing Design Guidelines specify? 

All houses must meet certain design and construction criteria in order to meet the livable housing design guidelines. These key structural and spatial design elements are designed to ensure flexibility and adaptability of the home and prevent the need for costly home modifications in the future. There are three Living Housing Australia (LHA) standards, Silver, Gold and Platinum: 

LHA Silver Level 

The Silver Level has 7 core livable housing design elements:  

  1. A step-free, continuous pathway from the street entrance and / or parking area to the home.
     
  2. The home must have at least one level (step-free) entrance.
     
  3. Internal doors and hallways must allow comfortable and unobstructed movement between spaces.
     
  4. Easy access to an entry-level (ground floor) toilet.
     
  5. A bathroom that contains a hobless shower – aka a walk-in shower without a raised surround.
     
  6. Reinforced bathroom walls that allows for installation of grabrails near the toilet, shower and bath.
     
  7. Safe stairways that have been designed to reduce the likelihood of falling and injury and can be easily adapted in the future. 

LHA Gold Level

The Gold Level has 12 core livable housing design elements, the first 7 are the same as the silver, with the addition of the following elements:   

  1. The kitchen must allow easy movement between fixed benches and support easy adaptation. 
  2. The laundry space must also provide ease of movement between fixed benches and support easy adaptation.  
  3. There should be a space on the entry level that can be used as a bedroom. 
  4. Light switches and power points must be within easy reach for everyone.  
  5. Doors must be easily opened and closed, and taps must be accessible to everyone.  

LHA Platinum Level 

The Platinum Level has 15 core livable housing design elements, the first 12 are the same as the silver and gold, with the addition of the following elements:    

  1. The family/living room has enough clear space to allow people to move in and around the room with ease. 
  2. Windows sills are installed at a height that allows viewing of the outdoor space from a seated or standing position. 
  3. Flooring must be slip resistant. 

What Livable Housing Design Guidelines standards must you meet? 

Under NCC 2022, all new homes must comply with the minimum Silver standard. These changes essentially mean reducing steps where possible, allowing more space in the bathroom, wider doorways and hallways, and allowing for future adaptations such as grabrails in the bathroom. 

As a Property Investor, making sure your property investments are compliant with the NCC Silver standards is a no-brainer. Due to the current shortage in accessible housing, Landlords can charge higher rents by marketing the property as accessible. 

Jess Inder, National Disability Council Director, said Providers [NDIS] usually offer an increased rent to the landlord in order to secure the property, it is possible to also use the modifications as a value add for long-term gain.” 

Making sure your new build meets the Silver standard

  • Ensure ease of parking and house access from the street, driveway or garage.  
  • Have at least one step free entrance with an 820mm width (door in the open position) and a level threshold (or lip less than 5 mm). 
  • There must be a clear, level space measuring at least 1200mm x 1200mm as you arrive to the door. 
  • If a threshold ramp is necessary, it must be less than 56mm. 
  • Entry level internal doors must have an opening width of 820mm with level thresholds (or a lip less than 5 mm). 
  • Hallways must be at least 1000mm wide. 
  • The staircase must have no less than 2 risers or no more than 18 risers without a 750mm2 landing area. 
  • Each tread and riser must be the same measurement and be slip-resistant. 
  • There must be a toilet on the entry level of the home. The toilet must be at least 900mm and have a 1200mm clear space from the loo to the door. 
  • There must also be a hobless shower on the entry level with an easily removable shower screen door. 
  • The bathroom floor must waterproofed to meet the AS 3740 standard and the walls must be reinforced to allow for the installation of handrails in the future. 

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL BREAKDOWN OF ALL REQUIREMENTS  

If this is your first time hearing about the new livable house rules and new design codes, don’t panic, we’ve got you. We can help you navigate the NCC 2022 and Livable housing design guidelines to make sure stay ahead of the game.  

While you’re here, check out Capital Properties Switched-On Strategy Series and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program. 

 

Capital Properties

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