Top brokerage's industry-first comparison site exceeds expectations

by Julia Corderoy22 May 2015
N1 Finance, a mortgage brokerage based in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, who recently launched an industry-first Chinese language comparison site says the site has attracted 10 times the number of visitors it expected.

The website – www.chengdai.com.au – was only launched late March, but has already exceeded the expectations of Ren Wong, managing director of N1Finance.

“Given that we only just launched at the end of March, it has actually exceeded our expectations. Our initial projection was to attract 400 visitors per month, but in the first month we had over 4,000 visitors – 10 times more than what we expected,” he told Australian Broker.

Most of the site’s visitors are from the local Chinese community, however Wong expects growing interest from Chinese foreign investors. 

“Majority of [the visitors] are still from the local Asian community, but we are seeing some visitors from China. The thing is we didn’t actually advertise in mainland China. We didn’t do any marketing there, but it seems like we have got popular over there now because we have been getting business from there without any marketing,” he said.

“Interestingly, we get some business from South East Asia as well. However, we are not planning to do any marketing in China in the short-term as we want to focus on the local Chinese community.”

Wong told Australian Broker that he has even been approached by lenders since its launch less than two months ago, who see it as an opportunity to expand into the overseas market.

Whilst there has been some speculation over the future of the foreign investor market in the wake of the release of the Federal Budget – which announced changes to the foreign investor framework, including charging hefty application fees – Wong says he doesn’t see any noticeable pull-back in Chinese foreign investment. 

“I think it is unlikely to have an effect on the demand. Overseas buyers from mainland China buy properties as a lifestyle decision instead of an investment. It is more a cultural practice,” he told Australian Broker.

“With the Chinese community, they buy properties at different life stages. When they get married, they buy properties. When they have kids, they buy properties. When their kids grow up, they buy properties. It’s in their culture. 

“I have spoken to some clients and they see it as an additional stamp duty... Given the amount [of the application fees] compared to the stamp duty, it’s comparable; they treat it as part of stamp duty.”

Due to the success of the home loan comparisons, Wong says they have also just launched a car loan comparison section to the website. They are also “actively looking” into other markets for further growth opportunities.
 

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