Property editor of the NZ Herald

Young landlord's 11 rentals in 5 years

Gary Lin, a 32-year-old landlord, has 11 Auckland rental properties, together valued at $6.5 million. Photo / Nick Reed
Gary Lin, a 32-year-old landlord, has 11 Auckland rental properties, together valued at $6.5 million. Photo / Nick Reed

Gary Lin says he started buying houses only so he could play World of Warcraft on his computer all day every day.

Now he's a multimillionaire who owns 11 rental properties in the soaring Auckland market.

The 32-year-old - originally from Guangzhou in China but a New Zealand resident since he was 13 - started buying property in June 2010 with a $200,000 wedding gift from his father. He and his wife Cindy bought one place for as little as $173,000.

Now his portfolio is valued at $6.5 million, which earns about $275,000 in gross rent each year.

Mr Lin, who drives a 2001 Honda, says he's not motivated by the trappings of wealth. With his wife, he supports most of the living expenses of their parents and pays for the upkeep of five cars in two families.

The optimist says he isn't worried by talk of a slump in property prices, saying that would only enable him to buy more places.

And like other Auckland landlords who predicted rent rises this week, he says he'll be putting his rents up soon.

He puts it down to rising demand for rental properties, investors not buying as many places due to Government and Reserve Bank restrictions, higher council rates, and rising insurance premiums, maintenance and management fees.

"I'll be putting the rents up $10 to $20 a week because all my expenses are rising.

"Professional landlords will all be doing this, particularly if they're re-letting places during this summer."

He said at one Mt Eden property, annual $250-a-year insurance premiums had shot up to $800 a year after the Christchurch earthquakes.

"I'm not a slum landlord - I want to charge above-market rents by keeping my places better than the market average," said Mr Lin, who estimated he housed about 30 people.

"A tenant will have 20 bucks less, perhaps. But which business in the world actually subsidises their customers?"

Mr Lin began buying property with his wedding present, thinking it would allow him to endlessly play the online fantasy game World of Warcraft. But his life has changed, and family is his main priority now.

A member of the Auckland Property Investors Association, Mr Lin said he was coached by Auckland property mentor Ron Hoy Fong.

Mr Lin says he treats his rental properties like an expensive car, and chooses tenants carefully: "Would you rent your Rolls-Royce to a stranger and have it trashed?"

And he reckons that property investment is within everyone's reach.

"Work hard, work smart, save hard, and invest smart. Wealth creation is not rocket science - perseverance and hard work can get you there."

- NZ Herald

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