Archives 2024

Australia’s $200M Mansion: A Toilet-Filled Wonderland

When it comes to Australia’s most expensive home, the rumors are as juicy as the price tag. “Aussie” John Symond’s $200 million Point Piper palace, Wingadal, has long been shrouded in mystery – and the talk of 24 toilets.

A Lavish Loo-Filled Lair

Symond, the mortgage mogul behind Aussie Home Loans, spared no expense when building his palatial party pad. Rumor has it the 6-bedroom mansion boasts a staggering 24 toilets. That’s more thrones than a royal family!

An Entertainer’s Dream (If You Can Find the Bathroom)

Designed for hosting lavish soirees, Wingadal features a ballroom fit for 500 guests, multiple kitchens, and sprawling terraces. But good luck finding the loo amidst all those toilets! Symond’s parties must require a Sherpa guide to navigate the bathroom situation.

A Private Museum… of Toilets?

In addition to its absurd number of lavatories, Wingadal is also home to an impressive art collection, including works by Brett Whiteley and Roy Lichtenstein. Though we imagine the real star attractions are the custom-gilded toilet seats.

The Elusive $200M Tour

Despite its notoriety, few have actually seen the inside of Wingadal. Even seasoned real estate writers have been denied access, with one lamenting: “I’ve worked with him for years and I’ve never made it past this floor.” Perhaps Symond is saving the full toilet tour for the lucky $200 million buyer.


This is a saterical review of the article in the Daily Telegraph titled: Untold secrets of Australia’s only $200m home

ANZ is set to reshape the mortgage landscape

ANZ has launched a pilot mortgage product that offers special deals to borrowers in 145 select postcodes, primarily in wealthy areas of Sydney like Double Bay, Rose Bay, and Bronte. 

The new mortgage product is targeted at high-income borrowers, requiring a minimum income of $400,000. Borrowers can take out loans between $5-8 million without needing mortgage insurance, and the loans can be structured as interest-only. 

The rates on these loans are about 0.35% higher than the broader mortgage market, but the customized nature of the deals is meant to appeal to the wealthiest borrowers. 

This move by ANZ is seen as a way for major banks to carve out the richest borrowers and offer them exceptional deals, in response to tighter regulations from the prudential regulator that have restricted banks’ ability to expand their loan books. 

The pilot is being tested by mortgage brokers this month, and the banks are using new analytics to identify the wealthiest postcodes to target with these exclusive mortgage offerings. 

Experts note this will further segregate the mortgage market, with the wealthiest borrowers getting access to specialized products not available to the broader market. There are concerns this could create a “perennial advantage” for the rich, as interest-only loans can be passed down through generations. 

Overall, the article portrays this as a strategic move by major banks like ANZ to cater to their wealthiest customers in the face of tighter regulations, potentially widening the divide between the mortgage options available to the rich versus the general population. 

Source: The Australian

Underquoting rife as dodgy real estate agents break buyer trust

NSW Fair Trading last May established a dedicated underquoting team to address “rising concerns” about the practice. This practice is harming the income of Mortgage Brokers.

Underquoting by real estate agents is becoming more frequent across Australia as a lack of regulation and weak enforcement frustrates those in the property market and forces up prices, according to industry figures.

  • Underquoting by real estate agents is a pervasive issue across Australia, particularly in Sydney, where aspiring first homebuyers are often left with wasted time and money due to unrealistically low price guides.
  • NSW Fair Trading has established a dedicated underquoting team to address concerns about the practice, but fines for agents are topped at $22,000 for those found to have knowingly underquoted, which is considered a paltry fee by industry experts.
  • The lack of enforcement is encouraging more agents to mislead customers, and the lack of regulation is driving up the price of pre-emptive fees such as conveyancing, building permission planning and application costs, consultations with lawyers, and renovation quotes from builders.
  • Buyers agents, who assist prospective homeowners in finding suitable properties, see underquoting happening more frequently and have seen it across competitive city housing markets.
  • Mortgage brokers have closely monitored the commission lawsuit developments, as they believe the settlement could encourage housing professionals to pursue dual-licensing, which could lead to even more dark grey areas in RESPA compliance and potentially impact the mortgage industry.
  • Consumer advocates argue that the practice of having the seller pay the buyer’s broker commission is best served when the seller pays, as it attracts the maximum amount of savings for both parties in terms of time and cost.
  • Underquoting can slow down the home buying process for months as buyers end up wasting a lot of time trying to figure out their budget, and it is illegal in Victoria.
  • To find out if a property is underquoted, buyers should look at in the sold section on map view at properties that are similar with the same bedroom and bathroom count on a similar sized block and within a similar price range.
  • Buyers need to do their own research and not assume that all agents underquote in the same way, and they should familiarize themselves with recent sale prices so that they can judge whether the agent is underquoting or overquoting.

Summary of article by the Australian

Will mortgage brokers be replaced by AI

The mortgage industry in Australia is undergoing a significant transformation driven by the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. While mortgage brokers have traditionally played a crucial role in the lending process, there is a growing consensus that AI will eventually replace their services, and this is a positive development for both borrowers and the industry as a whole. The question seems to be not if, but when AI will replace mum and dad style Mortgage Brokers.

One of the primary advantages of AI in mortgage brokering is its ability to process vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently. AI-powered platforms can analyse a borrower’s financial profile, market trends, and lending criteria with unparalleled speed and accuracy, significantly reducing the time it takes to evaluate loan options.

This efficiency translates to a faster and more streamlined loan approval process, benefiting borrowers who no longer have to wait weeks or even months for a decision. Moreover, AI-driven systems can provide personalised loan recommendations that cater to the unique needs and preferences of each borrower without external influences affective the decision. These algorithms can navigate complex financial scenarios, such as self-employment or unique income sources, which may have previously required the expertise of a human broker.

By automating these tasks, AI can deliver a more consistent and reliable service, ensuring that borrowers receive the most suitable loan options without the need for human intervention.Importantly, the replacement of mortgage brokers by AI does not mean the loss of the “human touch” in the lending process. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide empathetic and personalised support, addressing borrowers’ concerns and guiding them through the emotional journey of purchasing a home.

Additionally, the automation of routine tasks allows human brokers to focus on building stronger relationships with clients, providing tailored advice, and navigating complex legal and regulatory requirements.Furthermore, the use of AI in mortgage brokering enhances accountability and transparency. With AI-driven systems, the decision-making process becomes more transparent, and borrowers can have a clear understanding of how their loan applications are evaluated. This level of transparency can help build trust and confidence in the lending process, ultimately benefiting both borrowers and the industry as a whole.

In conclusion, from the borrower’s prespective, the replacement of mortgage brokers by AI in Australia seems to be a positive development that will streamline the lending process, provide more professional and efficient services, and enhance transparency and accountability. As the mortgage industry matures and continues to evolve, the integration of AI technology will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of home lending in Australia. Now is not a good time to start a career in Mortgage Broking or Real Estate.

Source: Industry spokesperson

Banks Move to End ‘Mortgage Wars’: What Borrowers Need to Know

In recent months, lenders have been quietly adjusting their mortgage rates and pulling back on key incentives, signaling an end to what experts have dubbed the “mortgage wars.” Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) keeping the cash rate steady, banks are making moves to shore up their bottom lines and prepare for potential rate cuts later in the year.

According to industry experts, the days of banks enticing customers with cashbacks and other incentives seem to be fading. Peter Marshall, a banking and rates expert at Mozo, highlighted the shift in the home loan market away from intense competition among lenders. This move suggests a redirection of efforts toward enhancing profit margins amidst expectations of future rate cuts by the end of 2024.

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Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates a decline in lending since July, with variable loan rates steadily increasing across various banking products. Some lenders have raised rates by as much as 30 percent on certain loan products, despite no movement in the cash rate by the RBA.

One notable example is Auswide, which raised its headline variable rate from 5.99 percent to 6.09 percent between December 2023 and January 2024. Marshall emphasized the importance for borrowers to monitor rate adjustments from lenders regularly, irrespective of RBA decisions.

While competition among banks for new mortgages has decreased, there’s a silver lining for borrowers considering fixed-rate options. Mozo reported a downward trend in fixed rates, with 13 lenders cutting rates in January, albeit by modest margins. Additionally, most lenders are extending fixed-rate terms, making these products increasingly attractive to mortgage holders.

In summary, borrowers should stay vigilant about rate movements and be proactive in reviewing their mortgage terms. With the mortgage landscape evolving rapidly, keeping a close eye on lender offerings and considering fixed-rate options could prove beneficial in navigating the changing market dynamics.

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Australian Mortgage Sizes Reach Record High Amid Price Surges and Rising Interest Rates

The average mortgage size in Australia has soared to a record high, fueled by surging prices and rising interest rates. According to recent data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the national average new mortgage size hit $624,383 in December 2023, marking an all-time high. Across states and territories, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia all witnessed record-high mortgage sizes.

Despite interest rates hovering in the ‘6’s, Australians are taking on hefty debts, raising concerns about their financial well-being. Sally Tindall, research director at, warns borrowers to assess their financial situation carefully before committing to large loans, emphasizing the potential risks associated with high levels of debt.

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While some individuals opt for substantial mortgages, there’s a stark decline in first homebuyer loan commitments, indicating the growing challenge of homeownership amidst soaring property prices. December witnessed an 8.4% drop in first homebuyer loan commitments nationwide, with significant declines observed in Queensland, Victoria, and NSW. Despite the downturn in December, 2023 saw a 12.9% increase in first homebuyer loans, with some states like South Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory experiencing growth rates above five percent.

The broader lending market also saw a decline in new loan commitments in December, with owner-occupier loans falling by 5.6% and investor loans sliding by 1.3%. Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn attributes the decline in first homebuyer activity to increased interest rates and surging house prices, which have strained the financial capacity of potential buyers.

Moreover, challenges persist on the supply side of the housing market, with input costs in the building sector continuing to rise. Despite hopes for a decline in building materials costs, the sector experienced a 0.3% increase in the last quarter of 2023, exacerbating the strain on housing affordability and supply.

As house prices continue to climb in early 2024, industry experts advocate for prompt action, including a potential interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia, to address the mounting challenges facing prospective homebuyers and the broader housing market.

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