More RE agents secretly pose as buyers in the media to drum up business as the number of mortgages plunge

It is thought the number of Real Estate Agents secretly posing as home buyers in the Australian media has reached levels not seen since the GFC. Last fortnight it was Ben Markwell, the first time buyer who discovered buying a house would not cost much more the renting. Featuring in a Courier-Mail article under the headline of First home buyers slowly returning to Queensland property market after historical low, it was later discovered Ben is an agent for Century 21.

On Sunday, the Adelaide Advertiser featured a story titled Make dream a reality saying while it was hard to crack into the property market, “the great Australian dream can still be realised.” The article featured first home buyer Lisa Vallely who told the Advertiser that the great Australian dream is still achievable. An investigation by the Tasmanian Real Estate Trouble Blog discovers Lisa is a Real Estate Agent with Harcourts.

Recent figures from the Australian Finance Group (AFG) may paint a picture as to why Real Estate agents are currently working under cover to drum up business.

The AFG, Australia’s largest mortgage broker with a ten percent market share of the Australian mortgage market shows the number of mortgages processed in January is at the lowest level since the AFG started the index in 2004. According to the AFG, mortgages processed in Queensland fell 48.9 percent in January 2011 from the previous month. Victoria was down 39.6 percent, South Australia 33.6 percent, New South Wales 31.8 percent and Western Australia 28.6 percent. These figures are not seasonally adjusted and the holiday period is expected to be quiet, just not the quietest since 2004.

AFG figures also show the level of debt borrowed is falling, suggesting Australians are hesitant to take out larger loans. Throughout 2010, the LVR was in the 60 to 65 percent range, but in January, the average LVR fell to 54.9 percent.

» AFG: Lowest monthly sales since 2004 as floods hit national mortgage market: January figures – Australian Finance Group Limited.


  1. Thanks. It is the long term trend which provides the real picture. A line of best fit shows the market is shrinking (as anticipated). Combine reduced mortgage demand with increased supply of properties means the market is on the verge of a correction.

  2. January 08 recorded 6,471 Mortgages Sold, January 09 – 5,607, January 10 – 4,426 and January 11 – 3,583.

    In 2008 the market in most areas was falling off a cliff. From the limited data set and presuming the drop is reflective of the trend for the rest of each year, what does it tell us in terms of the stellar growth the market has seen in this time?

    It tells me either the shortage theorists are correct and that stock is limited/tightly held OR, affordability has reduced each year, thereby reducing the pool of people capable of gaining finance approval at current incomes.

    Otherwise what do the Technical Analysts say about rising prices on thinning volumes?

  3. The spreadsheet posted above has the average loan size. It looks like it has treked higher from 2007 all the way to the peak of $386k in May-2010. Now the loan size has fallen to $365k. Apply a moving average, and the data is quite clear where it is heading. If there was a shortage of homes, prices would still be going up. This looks like a shortage of credit or one of greater fools.

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