Despite a worsening global outlook Australian brokers remain cautiously optimistic about their prospects in 2009.
Of the 802 respondents to Mortgage Business’ most recent straw poll, 516, or 64 per cent, said they expected their lending volumes to increase in the year ahead.
Less than a third, or 31 per cent, are not forcasting growth while five per cent are undecided.
Data released yesterday would indicate that there are signs that broker confidence is not unfounded.
Consumer sentiment surged by 7.5 per cent in December according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer sentiment; home lending figures also picked up for the first time in eight months in October, the ABS has revealed.
Tracie Palmer of LJ Hooker Financial Services in North Brisbane is hopeful for volume growth in the year ahead but she said the uncertain outlook made it difficult to know exactly what 2009 would have in store.
“You’d always hope volumes would grow but I think there are definitely still more hard times to come over the next 12 months,” she said.
“I wouldn’t expect massive growth but we should be able to at least maintain growth and maybe grow a little more.”
Jaison Singh of Financial Elements in Sydney expressed similar sentiments to Ms Palmer.
“It is hard to say. We achieved growth of around 50 per cent this year; I’d expect to sustain this next year, or even increase slightly.”
Mr Singh said the most obvious growth opportunities would come from the broker market shrinking, rather than increased borrowing activity.
“I think there will be a lot of room for dedicated brokers to grow with a lot dropping out of the market, and more expected to do the same once legislation comes through,” he said.
Mr Singh said he expected most business to come from average borrowers such as mums and dads and families while Ms Palmer said investors would be the dark horse for 2009.
“The investment market has been very quiet of late but I’d say we will do more investor deals than anything else in 2009.
“Lower rates and lower house prices will make property a much more attractive investment choice and with investment options limited especially in the stockmarket - it will be one of the only options for investors.”
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