Award-winning regional broker Sam Arthurs has seen a keen interest in Warrnambool from investors and first home buyers alike.
Loan Market broker Sam Arthurs, who was named the winner for Customer Service of The Year (Regional) at The Adviser’s Australian Broking Awards 2019, said he has seen significant changes in his regional town recently, with increased demand from both investors and first home buyers.
Originally from the UK, the now Warrnambool local said that investors have taken a new interest in the town, which sits on Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road.
“We’ve got this, all of a sudden, big injection of really good rent return but really low vacancy rates,” Mr Arthurs said on The Adviser’s Elite Broker podcast.
The combination has brought a number of new investors to the area, particularly a great deal from bigger cities like Melbourne, who can see the potential of the area.
“I’m starting to get a lot of buyers from Melbourne contact me,” Mr Arthurs said. “Quite often they’ll say, look, we want a broker locally because we intend to move down there in five years, but for now we’re going to buy a couple of investment properties and we want someone who knows the market.”
Being a city along the Great Ocean Road, investors have also taken the opportunity to seize new investment techniques to increase cash flow.
“There’s a lot more Airbnbs now,” the broker said.
However, Mr Arthur’s most popular clientele is those looking to purchase their first home.
“First home buyers rule the roost in Warrnambool,” he stated. “Fifty to 60 per cent of my business would be first home buyers, and I tend to nurture them pretty well.”
Particularly in his area, Mr Arthur said that first home buyers rely heavily on his services.
“You have to hold their hand every step of the way, and sometimes it can drive you insane,” he said.
In his experience, the first home buyers of Warrnambool often don’t have experience with friends and family buying, due to the area being predominantly farmland and fairly widespread.
In those cases, Mr Arthur sees his role as especially important.
“They don’t have their friends to riff off, so often I’m their only option to discuss things,” he said.