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Industry heavyweights chart challenges of 2012

The property market looks set to remain in flat territory in the year ahead - so what will be the biggest opportunities and challenges for brokers in 2012?

Video transcript below:

Donna Sawyer, Australian Broker News TV
Donna Sawyer:
 The property market is likely to remain flat in the year ahead, but the picture is set to look much brighter for mortgage brokers who heed this advice

Steve Kane, MFAA
Steve Kane:  Stay close to your customers.  I think the most important asset to have as a mortgage broker is your existing customer base.  Not only they are the source of your existing revenue, they are also a fantastic source of referral business if they are managed and if their, and the relationship you hold with those particular customers is very strong.  So in a tight market I think it’s your existing customers and what you might, the opportunities that might arise from those relationships that are the most important.
James Symond, Aussie Home Loans
James Symond:  My recommendation for 2012, it should be your busiest year ever because as rates come down, as the banks and the lenders become more competitive they should be able to go back to their existing customers and offer them an even better service.
Peter Bromley, LJ Hooker
Peter Bromley:  Look after your customers, existing customers will still be the best opportunity going forward and I think customers today are really looking for some good sound independent advice and I think that’s something that we can all do in our industry now.
Donna Sawyer:  And with speculation rife over whether the RBA will continue to cut interest rates in 2012, the big question is when will confidence return to the market.  Some aren’t as optimistic as others.
Kim Cannon, FirstMac
Kim Cannon:  It all depends on the world what’s going on and whether the world is going to be there next year.  You know we see a lot of issues going on in Europe at the moment, in securitisation we are always the first people to get hit by what’s going on in the world, their fundind cost blow out, the banks are not far behind as their funding costs are blowing up.
James Symond:  It all depends on confidence and confidence is driven obviously by jobs, confidence is driven by interest rate, confidence is driven by many things.  2012 should be a very stable marketplace, it should be a stable marketplace, it all depends on what happens in Europe, it all depends on what happens with the flow in.  Interest rates look like they are on their way down, which is a good thing, good thing for confidence, but the on the other end, I mean interest rates on the their way down means the economy is a little more fragile than it would have been if the interest rates were on their way up.
Peter Bromley:  In the market I think another rate cut will build that confidence level with the consumers.  We had, I think we  often believe too much what the press is saying and I think once there is another further rate cut and I suspect that to be around February March next year, that will start to build some sentiment and more confidence with consumers and that’s what I said before, I think you will see that probably prices will stabilise and that will give us an opportunity then for people to think about buying.
Donna Sawyer:  So what are the biggest opportunities for mortgage brokers to capitalise on next year?  Steve Kane, President of the MFAA says 2012 will see more investors hunting for property.
Steve Kane:  The relativities around investment property and the yields that are being gained on investment property will see greater return to an investment property plus the uncertainty in the stock market and world markets will see people going to a [flight to quality], so I think investment lending is likely to be an area of focus.  I think that it’s very important that in terms of the relationship brokers have with their customers, it is a holistic one.
Peter Bromley:  2012 firstly is for brokers to actually understand how to become more efficient in their own business because that’s certainly being one of the things I suppose restricted some of the growth this year and so brokers need to be become efficient in their business with the newer regulations.  I think those brokers that can actually work with their existing customer base, I think there is an opportunity with refinance.  Interest rates coming down always sort of encourages more competition and people start thinking about what they have currently got even if they are not in borrowing new money.
James Symond:  In the last 3 and 4 months, first home buyers have been really really prevalent throughout our business across the country, not just in New South Wales where we are seeing a particular increase.  So first home buyers have been a focus for us, but certainly 2012 my recommendation for brokers out there is as what Aussie is doing, is ensuring their existing customers are having a health check, that there are massive databases of customers and you know ensuring that your existing customers are happy.  They have the right loan, the right mortgage, at any one time it’s really important.  I think too many mortgage brokers just look at the next new sale and not enough of them look at the existing database, their existing customer set and say, each and everyone of these customers is happy.
Donna Sawyer:  For more on the property sector outlook and other industry headlines, click around the Australian Broker News website.  I am Donna Sawyer and I will see you again soon with the Big Story.