Mortgage brokers expect growth as banks move online

A leading mortgage broker says he is expecting the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates at the board's final meeting of the year.

The RBA meets on Tuesday for the final time until February next year, with no regular board meeting in January.

The chief executive of the home loan brokerage firm Mortgage Choice, Michael Russell, says the RBA may be keen to offer some economic stimulus to consumers and businesses, heading into the Christmas season.

He told the ABC Radio's AM program that, so long as the domestic outlook remains subdued, the Reserve Bank will not shy away from further interest rate cuts.

"The GDP forecast has been reduced from 3.25 to 3 per cent and, only a couple of weeks ago, the RBA re-positioned it at 2.75 per cent for 2013," he observed.

"I think that the RBA will respond to this slowing domestic economy, and they'll drop the cash rate another 25 [basis] points." Mr Russell has also called for the Federal Government's $7,000 First Home Owner Grant to be indexed to the median property price.

The mortgage broker says the grant, which was introduced just over 12 years ago, has not kept pace with rising home prices.

He says first home buyers should be given the best possible opportunity to enter the property market.

"It just makes good commercial sense simply to index it to the median property price," he argued.

"I'm not advocating any sort of boost or additional grants.

I'm just saying that that basic First Home Owner Grant, to give first home owners a leg up, just needs to be indexed." Mortgage Choice is also expecting more people will go to mortgage brokers, instead of banks, to source their home loans over the next decade.

Mr Russell says banks are closing branches and favouring technology, such as internet and mobile banking, over traditional bricks and mortar establishments.

He says the majority of home buyers still want a face-to-face experience when applying for a loan, and that gives brokers a competitive edge.

"Presently mortgage brokers write somewhere between 41 and 43 per cent of all home loans," he observed.

"I'd think, in a handful of years time, mortgage brokers will certainly be writing greater than 50 per cent of all mortgages, and in 10 years' time it might be as much as 70 or 75 per cent."

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