Brokers looking for a little more elbow room than their slow but competitive markets allow are now setting their sights on the province expected to lead economic growth this year.
“The sheer number of brokers and agents in Newfoundland is quite lower than in other (parts of the country), but in saying that, there is a rise in the number of agents getting into the business here,” said Leslie Penney, VP of business development at APlus Mortgage Group in St. John’s. “This leaves a lot of business to go around. Compare this to other places such as Alberta and British Columbia where many agents are looking at getting dually-licensed so they can sell across the border in other provinces due to the tight competition from the banks and fellow brokers.”
A growing number of those brokers are now setting their sights on Newfoundland and its economic growth expected to lead Alberta as well as the rest of the country.
While Newfoundland & Labrador's growth levels are slowing, it is still poised to shoot up 3.5 per cent this year, according to the Provincial Monitor report released by BMO Capital Markets Economics last week.
"Newfoundland & Labrador's economy is set to (lead the country), ranking as the fastest-growing province in Canada," said Robert Kavcic, cconomist at BMO Capital Markets. "For now, the taps remain fully open."
Penney and other brokers working St. John`s and surrounding areas are now benefiting from key drivers of that growth -- a billion dollars in government infrastructure spending for 2011 and an offshore oil sector rapidly putting down stakes. The net result has been enviable job creation, even as Ontario cools, say analysts.
Brokers across the country are now taking notice as they look to the Internet to help them tap that expanding housing market.
"With our economy surging ahead we are seeing more new home construction going on, and in other places aside from the greater St. John’s area, and with the lower unemployment rates and higher paying jobs, demand for housing is still strong,” Penney told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “With such a flurry of activity we are also seeing the equity in the existing housing stock go up, which is causing many homeowners to refinance their properties as well.”
Brokers from outside the province hoping to escape the fierce competition in their home markets are likely to face the same challenges on the Rock.
“Here, an area that causes concern is when times get leaner, those used to having deals fall into their lap without looking for them may not have the skill set and work ethic to go prospect for new business,” said Penney.