Brokers benefit from the Star treatment

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The country’s largest newspaper is once again giving brokers the Star treatment – showcasing their bank-defying expertise at winning rates lower than 3 per cent.

“Three weeks before closing, the financing fell through when the bank decided not to factor in all (the homebuyer’s) rental income,” reads a Toronto Star article published Wednesday.  “Although (the homebuyer) wasn’t looking for a lower rate, to his surprise, his broker found one for 2.99 per cent.”

In recounting this recent example of a homebuyer able to better a bank rate by 10 bps through a broker, the newspaper is giving the channel "the kind of advertising it just can’t buy"." That gift comes at a time when it really needs it.

That, at least, is the assessment of brokers who took to Twitter Wednesday to share the article with colleagues, past clients and just about anyone else in or out of the housing market.

That PR boost doesn’t necessarily appear to have been the Star’s motive. The article is primarily focused on illustrating that sub-3 per cent rates remain available in the marketplace, even following retraction of rock-bottom ones offered by some large banks and attracting unwanted attention from Finance head Jim Flaherty.

He shocked some analysts earlier this year in taking the extraordinary step of not only criticizing lenders for their low rates – what he viewed as a threat to household solvency – but asking one lender to withdraw its own.

Manulife did, in fact, cede to that request, although, the Star seems happy to point out, brokers and their lenders haven’t.

“Mortgage brokers shop around for the best rate,” writes the Star reporter. “And, because it’s such a competitive market, many are willing to offer a rate below 3 per cent.”
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