The coalface: Laurie Parkes, FrontRunner Mortgage Group

by Adam Smith17 Nov 2011

The Bathurst market is booming, and FrontRunner Mortgage Group's Laurie Parkes says he's seeing record months from the influx of demand.

Speaking to Australian BrokerNews, Parkes said he has seen a massive uplift in the latter part of the year. Whereas the middle of the year saw little action, Parkes said September brought the business its second-best month ever and November has already seen record settlements.

"I don't even want to tell people about it, because things are going so well that everyone would want to move to Bathurst and I don't want them all up here," Parkes said.

Working in a regional market has its own challenges, and Parkes said the key is knowing which lenders to use to get deals through.

"You need to know your postcode restrictions and the limitations those impose, and which lenders to deal with to get around those regional peculiarities," Parkes said.

Sales and demand have been strong in Bathurst, with first homebuyers rushing to beat the 31 December Stamp Duty deadline proving a particularly strong market segment. With demand high, Parkes said he had yet to look outside the mortgage market for revenue opportunities.

"I know I've got to diversify, but it's just a matter of finding the time to do it," he said.

Parkes also has no plans to implement a fee-for-service, saying it would not work in the Bathurst market.

"In my market it's a very bad idea, because I reckon we get paid a pretty decent amount," Parkes said.

While Parkes indicated he receives strong business from referrals, he said the location of his office has also proven of benefit.

"I've opened an office in the centre of the city and that absolutely works for me, because we get walk-ins all the time. I've spoken to brokers with offices in Sydney who said they've had three walk-ins in the last four years, and one of them was to ask for directions," Parkes said. 

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