Total value of residential loans FY2016/17: $179,855,741
Total number of residential loans FY2016/17: 346
It’s not only brokers who are noticing the wave of rate rises and lender restrictions on property investors; borrowers are too. Increasingly, they’re looking not only for a broker but for a particular type of broker, Andrew Mirams explains: “I think there’s a flight to quality … as the market’s got a bit tougher, people are looking for that specialist advice.”
Located in southeast Melbourne, Intuitive Finance is a specialist brokerage catering to property investors. It is getting an increasing amount of business from clients of generalist brokers but also from the banks. “We ask everyone whether they’ve used a broker before and, surprisingly, a lot of our new clients haven’t.”
Consequently, the brokerage is growing. Mirams took on three extra staff this year, including a general manager to take over administration duties. With three extra staff also taken on in late 2016, Mirams says his focus is increasingly turning to training and mentoring. “We’re just working on developing the people and processes here.”
Other than Mirams, Intuitive Finance has two other brokers, one in the office and one on the Sunshine Coast. Mirams’ son will soon be becoming a broker, with another young recruit set to start 12–18 months later, helping the brokerage better appeal to stay-at-home ‘rentvestors’. “They’re millennials and they’re going to be able to appeal to that market, whereas my market is a lot more investment,” Mirams says.
Mirams himself has managed to raise his personal numbers this year from just under $165m in 2016, despite the many changes to investment lending. “It’s not efficiency,” Mirams explains. “It’s more about knowing what you’re good at. We’ve probably got better at saying no, because some people are at their limit and think they can get a loan with us; you’ve just got to manage expectations.”
Investors are still in the market and not necessarily concerned about small rate rises, Mirams insists. The strong, if slowing, growth in Melbourne and Sydney property prices means investing is still viable. As Mirams puts it, “would you pay 1% to earn 15%?” However, Mirams believes regulation could get tougher in 2018: “I think there will be far more scrutiny of living expenses and there will be a massive education piece explaining to clients what analysis needs to be done.”