Vow Financial has claimed brokers bucked the trend of a weak housing market to end 2011, and that 2012 could see strong volumes as well.
Vow chief executive Tim Brown has told Australian BrokerNews the company’s brokers saw a 25% rise in volumes over the last quarter. Moreover, this pickup was not just due to a flood of NSW first homebuyers. While Brown said it may be too early to draw conclusions from the spike, he said it augers well for the year ahead.
“I was talking to a couple brokers, and asked them where the majority of that was coming from; was it coming from first homebuyers? They said no, it was coming from investors and people upgrading. It was interesting to hear that, because I would have put it down a little bit to stamp duty. But I think we're starting to see NSW pick up. It's been in the doldrums so long,” Brown said.
Brown also expressed optimism that 2012 could see the Perth and WA markets turn around, as aggregators increasingly try to gain a foothold in the resource-driven state. CommSec’s recent State of the States report may lend credence to Brown’s claim, showing WA at the top of the pile in economic growth.
“[WA has] finally seen the light in terms of growth. I think it was just a confidence thing, and now that interest rates have come off a bit I think it’s going to pick up,” he said.
To continue to drive volumes, Brown said the aggregator will focus on further developing referral relationships and cross-sell opportunities in the year ahead. He said Vow had tracked well thus far in its diversification efforts, and would aim for higher conversions in the year to come.
“In general insurance, we have a 53% strike rate and Vow Wealth has a 23% strike rate. We'll be focusing on continuing and growing that,” Brown said.