Negative Gearing

DEFINITION of 'Negative Gearing'

Borrowing money to buy an investment asset without receiving enough income from the investment to cover the interest expenses and other costs inolved in maintaining it. Depending on the investor's home country, the shortfall between income earned and interest due can be deducted from current income taxes. Countries that allow this tax deduction include Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

BREAKING DOWN 'Negative Gearing'

Negative gearing most often occurs in rental properties, where the rental income received isn't enough to cover the interest costs on borrowings plus expenditures toward property maintenance and upkeep.

Negative gearing only becomes a profitable venture when the property is eventually sold, and a prerequisite is that property values are rising, not falling or holding steady.

Many investors who speculate this way will purposely seek out negative gearing for the tax deductions in the hope that they will make a profit when the property is sold for a capital gain.

Investors considering this type of arrangement need to have the financial stability to fund the shortfall out of pocket until the property is sold and the full profit can be reached. Also of utmost importance is that the interest rate is locked in from the beginning or, if the borrower's interest is calculated on a floating index, that prevailing rates remain low.

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