Capital gains tax (CGT) applies when you sell. It’s calculated by adding 33,3% of the capital-gain to the property seller’s income in the sale year, after deducting allowable expenses like acquisition- and transfer fees, and property-improvement costs (but not maintenance costs). The current maximum tax rate is 13,6% (that’s 33,3% of the highest tax rate of 41% for the 2015/16 tax year).
GOOD TO KNOW
According to the latest FNB SA Estate Agent Survey, about 8% of residential-market buyers are buy-to-let buyers. A far cry from early in 2004 when 25% of residential-market buyers were investment buyers.
Offered a high interest rate? Be wary of a prime-plus-2% loan that may only just cover your investment; if the rates go up, your investment might not be viable, advises Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Volkers Southern Africa. Ensure you have some leeway in the event of rent defaulters or interest-rate increases.
3 steps to get started
Do your research carefully. You need to find an area that has a high demand for rental properties, but affordable property prices for buying. Research published jointly by First National Bank and TPN, a credit bureau that specialises in rental letting, shows that the highest yields are for one-bedroom flats, with the lowest being for houses with more than three bedrooms.
Now, think about your target tenant, and buy a property that suits – all renters will pay a premium for safe accommodation with off-street parking and access to Wi-Fi. Students must be within walking distance to university, or at least on the university bus-routes.
If you are a first-time buyer, consider using an agent to manage the property, who will ensure that your tenants are credit-checked. According to John Birkett, a franchisee at Rawson Properties, management fees charged to rent-out and manage rentals for owners will range between 8 and 15%, plus VAT.
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