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It’s been a year of events no one could have predicted, and with it comes some uncertainty around the economy and, in particular, the real estate market. We chatted to WL sponsor Martyn Williams from Aqua Home Loans for some expert advice….

What is your background?
After graduating from university with a Health Science degree, I started working as a trainee mortgage and finance broker for a national brokerage for a few years. I became a senior financial consultant for another national brokerage, and stayed with them for a further eight years. In 2014, I started working with Mortgage choice for a few years just so I could get a feel for the Australian market.

When did you start Aqua Home Loans?
I started the company in 2017

Why did you start the business?
I wanted to be able to offer my clients a more bespoke service with more lender options, and also additional products and services that will benefit them going forward. I also love saving people money, and helping people buy property or getting new vehicles, it is really satisfying having happy clients and I do everything I can to make that happen.

What does Aqua Home Loans offer?
Residential home and investment loans; reverse mortgages; construction loans; development loans; commercial loans; car and equipment finance; personal loans; short term funding.

In light of this year’s unprecedented events, what’s your view on the Sydney real estate market currently?
We are definitely in interesting times with everything going on at the moment, but I do not believe there will be a major crash from where we currently sit. Yes, it will probably drop a bit further, but I would be surprised it is more than 10%. No one really knows, we are in a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic.

What are your views on interest rates currently?
Rates have never been so cheap, so if you have not been impacted too much financially from Covid19, it is a great time to refinance, or possibly purchase a property that may have dropped in value over the last 6 months.

What should home owners be thinking about/doing in the current climate and how can they save money?
Review your current home loan with your friendly broker to make sure it is competitive and structured correctly to your personal situation.

What has COVID19 meant for the Sydney real estate market and home loans?
As a whole the Sydney market appears to have dropped around 5%-10%, but the amount of the drop is very much post code dependent. Some areas may have dropped further. In regard to home loans, the banks are generally taking a lot longer to process applications and asking for more information than previous times. So, whet comes to getting a pre-approval for an upcoming auction I recommend submitting the application 2-3 weeks before to make sure all is fine proceed.

Is now a good time to refinance?
Definitely, the rates have never been so cheap, and some lenders are offering cash backs of up to $4,000 to change your loan. So, you get a cheaper rate, and additional money, it is a win win!

Is now a good time to invest in real estate?
I can’t comment on that, it’s what you’d pay a financial planner or investment agency for. I am actually not allowed to give that advice. I have the easy job to secure the most appropriate and competitive funding possible. I do not tell my clients when and where to buy property, or invest their money. There is always a risk in investing in anything so all I can suggest (not advise) is that people do their due diligence as best they can, and do not ‘put all of your eggs in one basket’.

What are your thoughts/advice for first home buyers currently?
Speak to your local friendly broker before you do anything. We can establish your borrowing capacity, show you the most appropriate lending options, monthly payments and advise what financial benefits for first home buyers are currently available. Do not go looking at property, fall in love, and then talk to someone. Over the years I have seen many people disappointed to find out that they are unable to borrow the amount required to make the purchase.

Is there any other advice you’d like to give the community at this time?
Stay safe in the current environment, and if anyone wants to have a no obligation chat about their current home loan, or in fact any of the other services I offer just reach out. My service is completely free and I am here to help!

For more on, or to contact Martyn at Aqua Home Loans, please see the WL Directory: https://willoughbyliving.com.au/directory/27231/aqua-home-loans/