A poll released by BMO Bank of Montreal shows that while nearly one-in-ten Canadians (7 per cent) have purchased property near a college or university because they intend to rent it to students or have their children there during their studies, two-thirds (67 per cent) consider buying this type of property to be a good investment.
This sentiment is likely due to the opportunity to capitalize on a larger pool of student tenants – post-secondary enrolment is up 3 per cent annually over the last decade – a strong housing market, and a potential way to offset expenses for anyone who has children attending college or university.
“The purchase of a student house, or real estate with the intent to rent to students, comes with a unique set of circumstances that need to be carefully considered well in advance,” said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal. “It’s essential to understand the landlord and tenant laws and the trends happening in that marketplace; this includes the vacancy rates of student properties, which have obvious seasonal influences.”
Ms. Parsons added that a careful budget assessment with the help of a mortgage advisor is also needed; as potential buyers need to be financially prepared for a number of potential challenges, including ongoing repairs and the ability to carry the cost in the event of a prolonged vacancy.
“It’s important to understand fully the tax implications of owning a student rental property,” said John Waters, Vice President & Head of Tax and Estate Planning at BMO Nesbitt Burns. “Some advantages include earning enough rental income from student tenants to defray the housing costs, a possible gain on the eventual sale of the property in an appreciating market and, if your child also lives in the property, the savings on your child’s rental costs during his or her studies.”
Mr. Waters added that those considering purchasing student housing for a child or third-party tenants should consider the tax implications involved with this type of investment, including:
Tax treatment on eventual sale of property: Generally the principal residence exemption is not available on the sale of a rental property. Therefore, a gain on the eventual sale would typically be subject to a 50 per cent inclusion as a capital gain for income tax purposes.
Deductibility of annual expenses: Mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, insurance, repairs, maintenance and other related expenses can all be tax deductible against the rental income earned.
Other considerations: If your child also inhabits the rental property, the tax implications will vary depending on whether they pay you a fair market value rent. Be sure to speak to a tax professional to understand your options.
The survey was completed on-line from September 4, 2012 to September 6, 2012 using Leger Marketing’s online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1505 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.
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