Newly crowned residential broker of the year optimistic despite rate hikes

Helen Avis, winner of the prestigious MFAA Residential Finance Broker Award, said interest rate concerns were beginning to weigh on the minds of clients but business was still strong as buyers remained highly active in the real estate market.

Helen Avis with the Residential Finance Broker Award trophy, alongside the MFAA awards logo.
The winner of the highly acclaimed Residential Finance Broker Award, Helen Avis, Director of Finance, Specialist Mortgage. (Image source:

The Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) Awards have named Helen Avis of Specialist Mortgage (part of the SMATS Group of Companies) winner of the national Residential Finance Broker Award.

The winners of the MFAA National Excellence Awards 2022 were recently announced at a glamorous event at The Star in Sydney.

The MFAA National Excellence Awards acknowledge brokers, lenders, aggregators and industry professionals who have demonstrated exceptional customer service, professionalism, ethics, growth and innovation.

Ms Avis said the award was the culmination of more than two decades building a business with her husband, Steve Douglas, Executive Chairman of SMATS Group.

With offices in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East, Ms Avis and the Specialist Mortgage team specialise in securing mortgages and consolidating loans for Australian expatriates and foreign investors who are often faced with limited affordable options from Australian and overseas lending providers.

“I am honoured to be recognised by my industry peers and named as the winner of this award. I love what I do. Helping people secure their home or investment property gives me so much satisfaction.”

Ms Avis, who won the Western Australian state award, settled a staggering $187 million in loans for 2021, a 67 per cent increase on the previous year with no signs of slowing down.

2022 is looking to be even more successful, off the back of a personal record set in July 2021 settling more than $25 million across 29 deals.

Going ballistic

Speaking to API Magazine, Ms Avis said this year had been challenging because of the interest rate hike cycle being undertaken by the Reserve Bank of Australia, but the market had heated up again.

“We noticed after the 0.5 per cent rate rise in June, that enquiries appeared to slow down, however I believe, buyers were just being cautious and wanted to see the impact on property prices.

“Since then, our enquiry rate has gone ballistic again, with home buyers and investors locally and overseas wanting to buy.

“Many buyers believe property prices will decrease but our clients report that homes located in highly desirable suburbs are still attracting a lot of interest and competition at auction.

“It will be interesting to see how the rapid interest rises impact buyer activity, days on market and property prices.

I am also expecting to see more clients looking to purchase as a result of interstate and overseas migration.”

Concerns about interest rates were on clients’ minds and they have voted with their feet when choosing their loan type.

“Up until October last year the majority of our clients secured fixed rate loans, but when fixed rates started going up clients were opting to split loans, now almost all of my clients are selecting variable rate loans.”

See the full list of 2022 MFAA National Excellence Award winners

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