How accurate was O’Leary’s mortgage prediction?

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Two years have passed since Kevin O’leary made a bold prediction about mortgage rates, and it’s time to find out how accurate he was.

“That’s precisely why I started O’Leary Mortgages is because we sell fixed rate mortgages, it won’t vary,” O’Leary said during a segment on CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange in mid-November of 2012. “There will be thousands of people with variable mortgages that will be slaughtered … with fixed mortgages they’ll have five years of knowing what they’ll exactly pay.”

The statement was made on the eve of launching his own mortgage brokerage, O’Leary Mortgages, a boutique shop that focused solely on fixed-rate mortgages.

Brokers almost universally disagreed with the brash TV personality and venture capitalist at the time, believing variable-rates would continue to favour borrowers. And they were right: The overnight rate target has been held at one per cent since September 2010 and it is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

Of course, O’Leary Mortgages shuttered its doors in late March of this year when it surrendered its FSCO license. It was a rocky road for O’Leary Mortgages, which drew the ire from brokers who believed his model was in direct competition with the mortgage industry. A planned CAAMP keynote speech – originally planned for 2012’s Mortgage Forum – was eventually axed following broker opposition.

Specifics about O’Leary Mortgages’ success were never revealed.

“We don't disclose specific numbers,” president of O’Leary Ventures, Alex Kenjeev, told when queried at the end of last year. “Yes of course (we have originated deals).”
  • Dave on 2014-12-09 12:16:41 PM

    More mouth than brains....check how his lousy investment funds peformed too , pathetic...

    Guy got lucky with selling a company for a Billion and now he thinks he knows it all...

  • Ken on 2014-12-09 12:22:32 PM

    Lots of hot air out of his pie hole, O'Leary should invest in a hot air ballon business.

  • Joel Sida Mortgage Broker on 2014-12-09 12:32:34 PM

    Not as easy as it looks, glad they realized planning mortgages is more than just a commodity based on rates

  • Joe Tomkins mortgage broker on 2014-12-09 12:59:29 PM

    Well you cannot fail if you do not try. He tried, he failed and i am fairly sure that he has had success on other attempts in business. It sure hammers home that as mortgage brokers we cannot have a crystal ball of where rates are going to be in 2 years. Always better to be cautious in our predictions and well educated on the nuances of the entire economy. I do not like his hot air but I like that he has the kahunas to try.

  • Alphonse Negro on 2014-12-09 1:06:40 PM

    One succeeds through failure. Unfortunately Canadians are still sensitive towards attitude and arrogance.
    This venture should have succeeded but with through another formula..

  • Alphonse Negro on 2014-12-09 1:06:47 PM

    One succeeds through failure. Unfortunately Canadians are still sensitive towards attitude and arrogance.
    This venture should have succeeded but with through another formula..

  • Layth Matthews on 2014-12-09 1:13:54 PM

    Although, making bold forecasts is a fools errand, good for him realizing he was in the wrong business, not just for him but for profits as well. Taking a strong stand could have been just a marketing ploy too, carving out a niche of fixed rate thinkers (although I think it would be lame to operate disingenuously like that).

    Mortgage brokerage is a profession not a business. Nobody gets rich from this line of work. Hell, it's our job to keep it that way! For example, Invis was built over many years to be one of the most successful super-broker brands, and yet it sold for a mere $7 million.

    I don't know his story, but guys like O'Leary are the proof to my saying, "The rich get richer, because the rich, can afford to experiment."

    Our business (nay, profession) is fun, challenging, independent and meaningful work. You have to actually connect with people to do a good job. Focus on trailers and you might just make a career out of it.

  • Ron Butler on 2014-12-09 3:06:48 PM

    I think Kevin makes roughly 500 times as much money per year as the people who are commenting here, so I am sure he could care less.

    Here's the fact that hurt his venture: online mortgage origination is an extremely difficult thing to pull off and he won't be the first to learn that. It's an operations / logistics nightmare and scale is punishingly hard to achieve. He took a shot give him that much.

  • Catherine on 2014-12-09 3:42:08 PM

    I am often annoyed when people think that what we do is easy and anyone can do it. Our profession deserves to be taken more seriously in the eyes of others. Perhaps Kevin's BP should have been a 5 year plan instead of folding after 2. Would love to see what those projections looked like!

  • Ken on 2014-12-09 3:52:55 PM

    You may be right Ron, Kevin may in fact make a lot more money than us brokers, however it's his comment “There will be thousands of people with variable mortgages that will be slaughtered …; that shows his disrepect for the average person and our industry and the abilities we have to assist our clients to make rational decisions.

  • Ron Butler on 2014-12-09 4:10:20 PM

    Ken, I know a lot of very good mortgage brokers who sold a ton of 10 - year fixed in 2012 and 2013, Kevin offering his opinion in 2012 that prime would go up in two years and that proved wrong but perhaps he did less damage selling 5 - year fixed than others who sold 10 - year fixed and it may turn out to be even more wildly wrong and they locked their client into the wrong product for a lot longer term.

  • Frank on 2014-12-09 4:42:27 PM

    A lot of people expected prime to go up at least 1/2 point. TD's head economist was claiming this, Bank of Canada and America all said prime was going up. Fortunately for those in VRM it did not. Can't fault Kevin for just reiterating what he was hearing.

  • Mortgage Delivery Guy on 2014-12-09 4:53:15 PM

    I will say leave him alone. Any how he tried. That was his sales pitch. That's why i always say its critical to know the source of info.
    We should focus on what we do best.

  • race to the bottom on 2014-12-11 5:13:04 PM

    Kevin found out very quickly that the Banks own and run the market. Kevin realized as well that there is no money in mortgages, even the banks are now just wanting to breakeven with their mortgage portfolios. More than ever the banks are setting up to be a one stop shop, and like the old days there actually are some advantages again having it all under one umbrella. From insurance to investments and everything in between the banks will provide these products and services. In most cases the brokers won't be able to compete and the process will be made easier and more simple at the bank.

  • Ron Price/DLC on 2014-12-15 8:51:20 AM

    Last commentor 'race to the bottom' is obviously a biased self serving banker.
    Last time I looked our market share was 30%.
    We mortgage brokers provide a very important service, one that is in the client's best interests which cannot be said for the banks, in any way shape or form, who all without question deceive, ignore proper disclosure, and who are trained to extract as much as they can from the 'great unwashed'. This is also a strong loyalty now with enlightened consumers who understand the advantages/benefits from choosing a professional established m. broker vs banks.

Broker news forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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