‘Stop complaining’: Millionaire real estate investor defends plan to buy 1,000 homes

A property investor who has 42 rental units and an ambitious plan to buy many more says the housing market needs buyers like him and disgruntled home seekers should stop complaining.

A Sydney-based property investor, who owns 42 homes and plans to acquire 1,000 properties, has revealed he doubts he and other investors have had a marked impact on rising house prices.

Eddie Dilleen has been one of the country’s most prolific buyers in recent years, snapping up more than 20 properties in the past two years alone.

He started his investment journey while working at McDonald’s as a low-income earner and bought most of his properties through leverage.

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This involved withdrawing equity from previous purchases through refinancing agreements to finance the initial costs of additional property purchases.

It’s an approach that has sparked controversy because investors armed with refinance loans account for a large share of housing demand and often compete for the same home as first-time buyers.

Mr Dilleen and other investors with large property portfolios have drawn occasional criticism on social media, with some accusing them of stockpiling properties that could have been bought by first-time buyers.

Other social media users claimed that investors with large real estate portfolios were a symptom of problems in the banking system.

But Mr Dilleen, who said his goal was to own 1,000 homes, said the housing market ‘needs’ people like him.

“The government cannot provide housing for everyone. It’s physically impossible,” he said, adding that investors have helped provide the country with vital rental housing.

He also dismissed claims that he was depriving early buyers of opportunities to enter the market by pointing out that early buyers received far more support than he did.

“Investors do not benefit from stamp duty exemptions like first-time buyers. I have to pay stamp duty for every place I buy,” Mr Dilleen said.

“People who say it’s the fault of investors, prices go up, I think they’re looking for someone to blame. It’s a victim mentality. If things are tough, it must be the fault of someone else.

“It’s human nature. It is easier to complain than to do something. Pointing fingers at someone else is easier than doing something to improve your situation. In my opinion, you can complain or you can do something.

Mr Dilleen said he understood this ‘victim’ mentality first-hand when he grew up on a housing commission property in Wilmot, near Mount Druitt in western Sydney.

“I come from a broke family. No one in my family owned an investment property,” he said. “I decided to do something different.”

Mr Dilleen’s 42 properties are spread across much of New South Wales and Queensland. He said three more property purchases are in the works, meaning his portfolio will soon grow to 45 properties.

“I don’t think I will ever stop. I will have 1000 properties. It’s a healthy addiction. It’s like doing the next thing when you reach a milestone. You go after the next and the next. I want to overtake everyone.

Mr Dilleen, now a buyer’s agent, said he was able to buy so many properties by seeking loans from third-tier lenders and focusing on properties with high rents relative to his mortgage costs. This allowed the banks to continue to grant him new loans.

He has also built strong relationships with real estate agents, which helps him learn about deals where properties can sell for below market value.

Mr Dilleen said anyone could follow this strategy if they weren’t afraid of taking on heavy debt and were willing to control their spending and work hard.

My Housing Market economist Andrew Wilson said the argument that property investors were providing much-needed rental accommodation was valid.

He said a decline in investor activity in recent years was part of the reason much of the country was in a rental crisis.

Speculative buying from investors was also a big driver of higher house prices in some markets, but it was difficult to quantify the investor contribution to those increases, Wilson said.

Originally published as ‘Stop complaining’: Millionaire real estate investor defends plan to buy 1,000 homes

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