Specialist Mortgage broker named best in the west

Specialist Mortgage Director, Helen Avis, has been named winner of the WA Residential Finance Broker Award at the annual Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia State Excellence Awards.

Helen Avis accepts her MFAA award at the podium, with her image on large screen behind her.
Helen Avis: “Much of my time is spent dealing with credit policy teams, finding solutions to technical challenges.” Photo courtesy of MFAA (Image source: Shutterstock.com)

Specialist Mortgage Director, Helen Avis, has been named winner of the WA Residential Finance Broker Award at the annual Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) State Excellence Awards.

The awards highlight brokers, broker businesses and staff who have demonstrated exceptional customer service, professionalism, ethics, growth and innovation.

Judged by an independent panel of industry specialists, business professionals and experts, the MFAA Excellence Awards are the most rigorous in the Australian mortgage and finance industry.

Specialist Mortgage had also been named a finalist, in the WA Residential Finance Broker Award category.

Ms Avis 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.

“I am honoured to have been recognised by my industry peers and to have been selected from all the entrants across WA and named as the winner of this award,” Ms Avis said.

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.

Ms Avis said 80 per cent of new business generated is from existing client referrals.

“With more than 600,000 returning expats since the pandemic, we have also helped repatriating Aussies who require finance to purchase a home upon their return to Australia, Ms Avis said.

Specialist Mortgage communicates with clients personally via phone or video conferencing apps to ensure they are happy with the service they are receiving through their lender, answer any questions they may have, and chat about their future requirements.

“This has resulted in a 90 per cent loan conversion rate and 80 per cent of new business generated from existing client referrals,” Ms Avis said.

Market changing quickly

The property market in which Ms Avis was rewarded has undergone a huge transformation in just the six months that have passed since the judging period closed.

Interest rates are taking off as major capital city markets decline, which is a far cry from the cheap money and buyer urgency that gripped the market in 2021.

Ms Avis said in the last three months there had been a noticeable easing of activity, starting with the lead-up to the election and then after the May and June rate rises.

“There are still buyers but they’re not willing to pay inflated prices, so that bubble has burst but value will come back,” she said.

“In reality some people were just overpaying to secure their property.

“Last weekend I read in the press about an auction in Sydney where the property was being marketed at $2.6m, had a reserve of $2.8m and sold at $3.2m, but in general auction rates have slowed.

She said she expected at some point in the next 18 months the mortgage rate would be back up to 5 per cent.

“In the 20 years of being in this industry a good rate had a 4 in front of it, so we will return to these levels with inflation rising.

“Most of my clients took advantage of the low rates and fixed their mortgages, so when those end we will need to make sure they are getting the best negotiated rate, as that will be quite a jump in payments.

“It will be interesting to see how the market evolves.”

Nationals await

The MFAA stated that it acknowledged Helen Avis for demonstrating professionalism, integrity, ethical conduct, growth and innovation.

“To be recognised as a finalist speaks volumes of their exceptional practice and professionalism in the mortgage and finance industry,” the MFAA added.

Over the last 20 years the awards have played a key role in lifting the standards of service and professionalism across Australia’s mortgage and finance industry.

As a state winner, Ms Avis is now in the running to win the prestigious national title at the MFAA National Excellence Awards in July.

The Australian Mortgage Awards 2022 (AMAs) will feature 25 categories plus the two main awards – Westpac Australian Broker of the Year and Liberty Australian Brokerage of the Year.

The AMAs are sponsored by Westpac (event partner), Adelaide Bank, Bankwest, BOQ Broker, Commonwealth Bank, Dye & Durham, Equity-One, MFAA, La Trobe Financial, Liberty, FBAA, Mortgage Choice, MSA National, NextGen, OnDeck, Prime Capital and Resimac.

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