Mt Albert investor turns author to encourage others

A former $17 per hour Auckland storeman who started out with only $4000 cash wants to tell others how to become multimillionaires via a new 'how to' property book - and any impending market downturn doesn't worry him.

Mt Albert man Jonathan Bidmead, 53, says he went from being a storeman in a Newton computer business to being made redundant, to now owning 14 Auckland and New Plymouth properties with 20 residences worth more than $12.5 million and generating just under $400,000 annually.

By borrowing from a relative, he set himself on a path to wealth and says others can do the same.

His comments come just after ANZ chief executive David Hisco and a growing list of conservative establishment figures have voiced alarm about housing and call for more urgent action.

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Hisco, heading New Zealand's biggest mortgage lender, last week warned Auckland property prices were overcooked and the end would likely be messy.

The Reserve Bank has long expressed concern and all four major trading banks are now applying new landlord lending restrictions, requiring 40 per cent deposits.

But Bidmead is not deterred and says he wants to spread the word that the only way to become rich in New Zealand is via property.

People can repeat his 'magic' formula today, if they want to become wealthy and he reckons property is the way to do it, he says.

"People need to get assistance from a family member and then they can still achieve the same result as I did," he says of those with relatively little savings.

"In 1991, I put $4000 of my own money into my first place in Springfield Rd, Western Springs. The house cost $79,000 and I borrowed $12,000 from my father-in-law to get enough for the deposit.

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"It was a three-bedroom duplex, the worst house in the street. Half the windows were broken and I didn't know there was a clothes line until I mowed the lawn. And from then on, using just the growth in equity from that property, I borrowed against it to buy more properties," he said.

The Western Springs house was his own home.

"I was made redundant from the computer firm and I spent a day going around the HR places looking for jobs and just decided 'no, this is the wrong way to do things' so for the next six months I read books on property investment and business and I realised property investment was the way to go. The bulk, of wealth for most people around the world is held in real estate," he said.

"I bought eight houses for no money down in less than three years - 2001 and 2002 - just on the equity in my house. They were in Avondale, New Windsor, Westmere," he said.

The other six were purchased after that, he said.

They generate a gross annual rental income of just under $400,000, he said.

Bidmead has written The Invisible Millionaire - A Guide to Real Estate Wealth (Mary Egan Publishing, $24.99) to tell of his journey. That book is to be published on August 2.

"The book is to encourage informed investors to buy one or two properties and if they hold on to them for about 10 years, they'll accumulate more money than they can save in their lifetime," he said, rejecting the concept the downturns can be dangerous for investors.

"I love downturns. From 2007 to 2010, property prices actually dropped and I look forward to the downturns," he said.

"Most millionaires in our midst are invisible. Many people would be surprised as to who the real millionaires are, as opposed to those who may drive prestige cars and live in the right suburbs," he says.