November through January: It’s what mortgage specialists call their off-season. But brokers should resist the urge to follow suit, says one Ontario agent, suggesting that traditional down time presents a significant opportunity to grow market share.
“As brokers, we shouldn’t be resting on our laurels at a time when the banks are inclined to do that,” Nicholas Kahnert, now four years with Dominion Lending Centres Great Lakes, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “There is a potential window of opportunity in terms of leveraging that traditional period where the banks aren’t as aggressive in pursuing mortgage business.”
The advice came as the Big Five closed the book on fiscal 2011 Mondsay, a 12-month period marked by the stiffest competition brokers have seen in a decade.
While a complete cessation of hostilities isn’t expected, Kahnert and many industry veterans anticipate the banks will, for the next three or four months, pull back from the frontlines of the rate wars. They’re expected to use that time to exploit cross-sell opportunities attached to both old and new mortgage clients, hawking RRSPs and saving and investment services.
Brokers have traditionally pulled back on their own sales efforts in the winter as the real estate market enters its slow season.
It would be a mistake to do that this year, said Kahnert, who anticipates an upturn in business this November and December, along the same lines as last year's. “There are still homes being bought, and a great opportunity to get those deals, which traditionally fall off the radar of not only the banks but also brokers.”
The agent is now echoing the sentiments of other mortgage professionals calling on individual brokers to up their pre-Christmas marketing campaigns and “solidify relationships with referral partners.”
Realtors figure prominently among that last group.
Brokers, in fact, began to see some slackening in bank appetite for originations as early as mid-September as the Big Five raced toward their respective year-ends. Brokers point to increasingly conservative pricing, beyond the vagaries of the bond market, and other funding costs as indicators of that waning interest.
On the ground, it means aggressive brokers may have a clearer field in terms of pursuing and winning the tens of thousands of deals funded in the coldest days of the year.
Increasing fixed and variable rates may also lead to a brisker winter market, say economists, also pointing to the real possibility more Canadians will look to sell or buy ahead of further economic uncertainty in 2012.
“I look at this time as, great a time as any to be making the case to clients to purchase a new mortgage or refinance,” said Kahnert.