Am I applying the 20 must ask questions correctly? Ask Margaret

Hi Margaret,  

I have read some of your books and in particular I am trying to apply the 20 Must Ask Questions to a property purchase.

However I am not 100% sure if I am applying them correctly.  

I am looking at Kallangur in Queensland. It seems to have a good mix of demographics & employment, and a steady increase of population. However in the ABS it gets grouped along with Dakabin, so I can't be sure of the exact figures.  

There seems to be some positive signs for their infrastructure, with a new train line coming to town. There are also a lot of shopping centres  opening up in neighbouring suburbs, which I think may help with local industry.   

The vacancy rates seem low, and there seems to be enough of a demand for rental properties. However as it is located in a growth corridor there are a lot of new homes being built in neighbouring suburbs. I am not sure if this will increase supply too much, or help to keep industry and population growth humming.  

Also at the moment I see there aren't very high sales volumes in the area, which means I can probably get a bargain, but at the same time the market is slow so capital growth could be a while off.    

Can you tell me your thoughts?  

Thanks,    

Evan 


Dear Evan,

One of the reasons that I created the 20 Must Ask Questions ® was to provide a template by which someone could assess whether an area is one which has the potential to provide a suitable cash flow in the short term and sufficient growth over the longer term. 

The thing about these questions is that they make it very easy to identify areas which you should not consider, but when it comes to those you should consider, you have to be able to apply a little bit of analysis to the answers you are getting.  

One of the questions is ‘what are the trends’ and when you expand this it points to being able to identify a growth driver, but then work out why it is there and if it’s sustainable.  If an area has a decreasing vacancy rate, for example, on the surface that may appear to indicate an increasing demand for rentals. 

Scratch that surface though and you may discover a short term employment project which has brought itinerant workers to the area seeking six – 12 month leases, and once that project is over the vacancies rates may trend up again.  

You talk of ‘growth corridors’ but sadly this has become a term used loosely by the spruikers who sell property and it has little application for an investor who wants to be sure that every property they buy is ‘pre-hotspot’ – that is, it’s not too late yet and growth is imminent.  

Single factors like those uncovered when you ask the 20 questions don’t drive growth in their individuality – rather it’s the ‘concert of factors’ which is what you should be looking for.  And so, a new rail station or a new hospital on its own is not a growth driver – yet a population growing faster than the national average where there is a shortage of property, no new land and a council ensuring that transport and health needs are met through infrastructure development certainly is!  

Lastly you need to look at recent history to see what has happened from a growth point of view.  All of Moreton Bay Shire has fairly recently had a significant shift upward of prices in response to the earlier development of a better road system and the inward migration of first-home buyers, which created a demand that, for a time, left supply behind. But this settled as the prices grew that little bit past true first home buyer range, and the bulk of the ‘new’ infrastructure was completed. 

The best window of buying opportunity is past for now as we see supply outstripping demand, and in my opinion, until the demand factor once again exceeds supply, the best growth is behind this area, for the time being.  

You are looking at the right things though – you are just not building a  complete picture by looking at all of the drivers as they relate to each other, and then working out if you’re too late, or not.  Take this knowledge you have and go and find a Kallangur which hasn’t taken off yet!  

Kind regards,

Margaret


Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popularProperty Success With Margaret Lomas and heads up the panel onYour Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

Have a property question? Ask Margaret!

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popular Property Success With Margaret Lomas and Your Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

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