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How to determine property investment yields

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

In property investments, there are two main determinants ie capital growth and rental income. Capital growth is the increase in the value of a property over time whilst rental income refers to the amount of monthly rents that can be collected from the tenancy of a property. A good property investment has two key elements ie. a) one that have the potential of high capital growth, which appreciates in value over time and b) secure rental, which generates cash flow or steady incomes to the property owner.

When making investment decisions, property investors need to know what is the expected rental yields from a property investment and how its yield would fare in comparison with similar class of properties as well as other alternative investments available in the market such as REIT, stocks, unit trusts etc.

A rental yield provides indication about the performance of a investment and its relative attractiveness against other types of investment. For example, if a residential property can produce a rental yield of 5% pa, it is considered a better investment than the fixed deposits offered by the local banks at prevailing rates of 2.0- 2.5% pa. On the contrary, the 5% yield is considered less attractive if compared to other higher yields but riskier investment options like stocks, equity-based unit trusts etc.

Besides, the yield can be used as a yardstick to measure and evaluate similar class of competing investments for decision making. For example, condominium investors would be keen to know which class of condominium in Penang can offer higher rental yields ?

a) beach / holiday resort condominium within the tourist belt of Batu Ferringgi or
b) city condominium in the inner city of Georgetown or
c) Suburb condominium at new growth areas along the reclaimed coastal area of Jelutong- Gelugor- Bayan Baru

Ways to determine property investment yields

The rental yield for a property investment can be determined by using the following calculation, commonly known as investment method:-

Estimated Rental per annum
______________________ X 100 = Gross Yield (%)
Property Acquisition Cost

Property Acquisition costs = Purchase Price + incidental costs ie legal fees, stamp duties, agent fees etc

Example :

Monthly rental RM1,000.00. Estimated annual rental income = RM12,000.00
Property acquisition cost= RM185,000.00

——————- X 100 = 6.5% gross yield

For computation of net yield, which is more reflective of the actual return, the following expenses ought to be deducted :- maintenance charges, sinking fund, management fees, insurance, quit rent, assessment, and other expenses.

Indicative gross yields of several property class in Penang

Landed houses- terraced, semi-detached and bungalow: 2 – 3%
Townhouse/Apartment/Condominium : 4-7%
Commercial shops/light industrial : 6- 9%

Generally, landed homes in land-scarce Penang offer lower rental yields as compared to high rise stratified and commercial units. Lower yield signifies that it is a safer or lower risk investment and hence  investor is willing to accept longer payback period for his investment. Property investors would expect higher yields for commercial/industrial property investments due to higher holding costs and risks.

Property investor need to set out his/ her investment objectives whether to invest for rental returns or long term capital growth or combination of both as each investor has his own investment requirements and rental yield expectations and hence difference strategies and choices of properties as their investments.

• Landed houses vs condominiums/apartments
• High price single property vs low price multiple properties
• Off-the-plan housing unit vs secondary market unit

A retiree might seek higher rental as passive income from his property investment whilst a young working professional would be more interested in wealth creation and achieve long term capital growth.For more related information on investment strategies, go to 6 strategies to succeed in Penang Property Investment.

In addition to the above investment method, other sophisticated approaches that can be used to aid property investors in decision making are:-

The Discounted Cash flow (DCF) model can be applied to determine the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) or Net Present Value(NPV) of an investment property. The DCF method is one of the valuation methods being used by property valuers particularly in evaluating income-producing properties and potential   development lands.

The Monte Carlo Analysis is another decision-making tool using multivariate modelling technique that allows investors to forecast various investment outcomes. The risk/return profile of any investment can be calculated and compared to investor’s risk tolerances.

View of the coastal area along Tanjung Bungah- Batu Feringghi