Industry News, March 2022

2020s will be the decade of opportunity for brokers: Bernard Salt

The Advisor News - by Annie Kane, 15 March 2022

Leading demographer Bernard Salt has outlined that Australia’s obsession with property will continue to rise, creating a massive opportunity for brokers.

The co-founder of The Demographics Group, Bernard Salt, has said that he believes the 2020s will be the “decade of opportunity” for mortgage and finance brokers, as Australians increasingly seek to purchase and rebuild property.

Speaking at the national conference for the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) on Friday (11 March), the demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt AM said that the great Australian dream continues to be alive and well, and will continue to be so moving forward.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic had created a surge of home-buying activity, Mr Salt highlighted that Australia continues to increase in wealth status – having risen from being the 14th richest country (based on GDP per capita) to 13th in just 12 months.

He added that the Russia-Ukraine conflict could result in Australia “actually be[ing] on the edge of the 10th largest economic forces on the planet by the end of this year”.

“We’re a prosperous nation. But my point is not how prosperous we are; my point is that there is no country on this list ranked above Australia that has a lesser population,” he said.

“We are really rich per capita. And it raises the question of: If we are so rich per capita, what is it that the Australians spend their money on? I think it is self-evident in every city, in every town, in every suburb on the Australian continent – and [mortgage brokers] are sitting slap bang in the middle of that business – we are obsessed with housing, home ownership with lifestyle, quality of life.”

The demographer told FBAA delegates that the COVID-19 pandemic had accelerated a shift from the cities to the regions, and revived the suburbs with activity, with Australians flocking to coastal towns to chase the dream of lifestyle.

“People are obsessed with lifestyle up the coast and down the coast. We are a coastal people, and you can see it in places like the Gold Coast. You can see it in our six big capital cities on the Australian mainland. We are rich per capita and we spend [our money] in lifestyle zones, on housing on property, on lifestyle,” he said.

“You [mortgage brokers] have built a business around something that reflects a core, or gut, value of the Australian people. That is where we spend our extraordinary prosperity in relative terms compared to other nations.

“So, you are in the right country at the right time, offering the right product financing if you like to facilitate this lifestyle.

“You facilitate; you’re an enabler of that narrative and of that story. And I’m saying: it ain’t changing.”

Mr Salt continued that even with the floods affecting NSW and Queensland, if the behaviours seen over a pandemic were to be repeated, property would continue to boom.

He said: “Australians have come out of this very positive mindset, rebuild, recreate, procreate, create a better version of my business, create a better version of my home. That is the business you’re in. You’re enablers, [you’re] facilitators, you’re helping Australians actually capture exactly what it is that they find they hold near and dear. That is their way of life. and they’re the quality of home…

“All of that, of course, means a greater share of wallet. A greater share of household wallet, converts into an opportunity for finance brokers.

“In my view, that’s what you can expect in the 2020s. I think the evidence is there for all to see; this is the decade of opportunity for brokers.”