Leading brokers have claimed it is time to embrace social media or face the threat of being made obsolete by bank proprietary channels.
Darren Moffatt, mortgage broker and founder of industry-specific social media site Housenet, says brokers must embrace digital platforms or risk irrelevance.
Moffatt believes lender direct online channels are a huge threat to the broker model and developed the site as a way to help brokers fight back.
"To predict the future, smart business people watch capital flows. Right now, the banks are investing huge dollars in direct online channels. Just look at the success of UBank - there wouldn't be a broker in the country who hasn't lost a deal to them at some point."
According to Moffatt, some sources predict the market share of bank online proprietary channels will rise to 25 per cent within just a few years. It's no longer enough, he says, for brokers to have a basic website.
"As the technology improves, the National Broadband Network (NBN) comes on stream and Gen Y gets older, more borrowers will go direct online to chase the best rates. Couple that with the introduction of positive credit reporting and the perceived value of brokers to both lenders and borrowers could be under serious pressure."
Craig Morgan, founder of the I-Financial group and direct virtual broker website findmyloan.com.au, said it's not just young, first-time home buyers that frequent his online channel.
"The assumption is you're going to get a lot of Gen Y and a lot of tyre-kickers, but you actually get a lot of time-savvy people accross all generations."
Pink Finance's Nicole Cannon says she already used Facebook to connect with clients, but that using an industry-specific social media site is far more strait-forward.
"From one social media platform you get buyers, brokers, real estate agents...you don't have to do a search on Facebook because it's all right there."
Moffatt says having a social media presence gives brokers multiple points of contact for consumers and a clear point of difference.
"Brokers can establish a profile, write blogs and manage all their social media from our platform, join online forum discussions and more. It's all about deepening existing relatioships and buidling new ones."
Moffat launches property social media network