ooba marks 10th birthday with over R155 bn in home loans, expectations of market recovery

ooba marks 10th birthday with over R155 bn in home loans, expectations of market recovery

Over the last ten years ooba (formerly MortgageSA) has facilitated over R155 billion in home loans and placed well over 300 000 South African families into their new homes, leading the mortgage origination industry it pioneered in 1999.

"We are particularly proud of starting an industry that now facilitates over 70% of the country's new residential home loan applications and which has played a significant role in making home ownership more affordable for everyday South Africans," says Saul Geffen, chief executive of ooba.

Re-branded in February 2008, ooba is the biggest mortgage origination company in the country. In 2004 the company won the 'South African Top Non-Listed Company' award recognising the company for its business achievements, visionary strategy and sustainable growth.

Homebuyers use mortgage originators to shop around for the best home loan deals and secure quick approvals. Originators' service is at no cost to home buyers and without any obligation to accept a particular loan sourced.

Originators have been responsible for improving interest rate concessions for home buyers by more than one percent, with rate concessions of up to 2% possible at the peak of the market. Before mortgage origination, many buyers received no discount to prime. Over the life of any home loan, the savings for consumers are real and significant.

"We know that the last few years have been tough on homeowners, but we are confident that the property market will begin to stabilise and growth will turn positive by 2010. Our role is to continue to fight for credit approvals in this difficult environment and ensure consumers get the best deals available." says Geffen.

"It's particularly important that consumers seek the best advice in these times, as positioning the application for the greatest chance of approval is critical given the banks' current stance on lending"

Geffen also points out that in line with the company's consumer-centric vision, ooba has evolved its offering from sourcing the best deals on home loans, to providing a complete home-ownership solution including online property search, buildings and life insurance, and even a home improvement credit card that offers the best discounts on home-related products and services.

Geffen also acknowledges that the current market conditions are reshaping the origination landscape in South Africa but he remains bullish.

"We believe that the current market uncertainty will create opportunities for businesses which have invested appropriately to take advantage and capitalise for long term benefit."

Ten years of ooba innovation

1999 - MortgageSA pioneers origination in South Africa.

2000 -The company opens country's first multi-lender home loan processing centre and website.

2001- MortgageSA develops the first multi-lender mortgage application switch, enabling electronic submission of digital applications to all the banks' systems.

2002 -MortgageSA partners with low income lenders like Ithala and Greenstart to facilitate access to home finance for low income earners. MortgageSA's centralised processing centre goes paperless

2003 -MortgageSA becomes the first mortgage originator in South Africa to offer life insurance for homebuyers when it launches its own innovative mortgage protection insurance product.

2004 -MortgageSA is awarded the 'South African Top Non-Listed Company' award.

2005 - Standard Chartered Bank partners with MortgageSA as their primary origination partner for South Africa. The first intetnationla banking tie-up in the origination industry.

2006 - MortgageSA becomes the first mortgage originator in South Africa to offer buildings insurance for homebuyers when it launches its own innovative buildings insurance product. MortgageSA's Property Finance Consultants are the first FAIS accredited consultants in the origination industry. Propertygenie.co.za, a division of MortgageSA, is launched.For the first time, all of SAs leading estate agents properties are listed on one website.

2007 - Propertygenie.co.za becomes the largest property portal in South Africa

2008 - Acquired, restructured and integrated LoanLink, the country's fourth largest originator. Re-branding to ooba. As part of the re-brand to ooba, oobacard, SA's first home improvement credit card is introduced.Launched evo, specializing in business to business solutions for independent originators wishing to aggregate under their own brand.

Hello ooba news

The latest oobarometer stats reveal that the average purchase price growth among first-time buyers remains strong at 12.1% in June. This, together with the continued easing in lending criteria, is good news for potential homebuyers in South Africa.

With the property market beginning to show signs of a recovery, it is more important than ever to ensure your home is correctly priced. Jenny Rushin, property finance manager at ooba, SA's leading mortgage originator, said that a property listed at the right price will give sellers the greatest chance of attracting buyers.

South African banks have loosened their lending criteria which has supported a revival in the property market and helped new buyers enter the market says South Africa's leading mortgage originator, ooba.

South Africa's leading bond origination company, ooba, has seen a 55% increase in the value of approved loans from April to September this year, with a 21% surge from August to September alone.

With house price indicators like the oobarometer perking up, smart buyers are slowly returning to the market and need to be armed with how to make the best purchase possible. Ben Seymour-Brown, manager of group direct sales at ooba, said: "We expect more people to return to the property market this year and certainly next as the economy recovers, the effect of lower interest rates is felt and confidence returns to bricks and mortar investment.