'Mortgage loan growth' to get cut in half, say analysts

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In terms of competition, brokers, you ain’t seen nothing yet. RBC is now forecasting mortgage loan growth will get cut in half over the next two years compared to last year’s 5.4 per cent.

The prediction, part of a note from analysts at the bank’s capital markets division, is being viewed as the latest reading of the tea leaves for Canada’s housing sector.

According to the report, mortgage loan growth will slow to between 2 per cent and 4 per cent over the next 48 months. That rate mirrors the sector’s performance in the turbulent 1990s and is considerably off of the 13 per cent growth Canada’s mortgage lenders experienced in 2008.

The analysis is "based on the total mortgage debt outstanding in Canada ($1.2 trillion)," Geoff Kwan, an analyst at RBC told MortgageBrokerNews. "We have no specific comments on where we think originations will be ... the data in Canada is not available on originations."

Still, for brokers, that tamped-down mortgage loan growth suggests they’ll face increased competition for fewer originations well into 2015. The banks have already ramped up their originations efforts with rate promotions meant to win consumer attention, but still keep them on the right side of Finance head Jim Flaherty.

He has criticized the low interest rate offers of some big lenders as encouraging the kind of consumer debt expansion tighter mortgage rules introduced last July were meant to curb.

Still, broker rates remain among the lowest in the marketplace, although analysis suggests bank branches are undercutting those offers where possible.

The result has been the continuing use of buydowns, complain some brokers, worried that phenomenon erodes broker value-add. But the pressure to continue with the practice may only continue, said one mortgage broker pointing to RBC’s own rate match offer and any pressure it exerts on the broker channel.

  • Andy on 2013-04-18 9:22:53 AM

    The headline is very misleading... "Originations being cut in half" is FAR different form Origination GROWTH being cut in half.

    Let's get this corrected so readers don't start jumping out of windows.

  • Andy on 2013-04-18 9:30:33 AM

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Elfie Hayes on 2013-04-18 10:48:17 AM

    Time to re-evaluate our skills, lender relationships and services to your clients. So much talk lately about paying Realtors for deals and joining rate discounting sites to get business.
    How are we to survive if that's the strategy we put forth when the number of deals is declining?

    I'm going to make a predication. I believe this will serve to reduce the number of mortgage agents and give those who are working their data base and providing value added services to existing clients the strength to stay in the business.

    As with all down turns this will just cull the herd.

    Your existing clients have always been and will continue to be your best source of business. contact them more!

  • Paul - CENTUM on 2013-04-18 11:37:32 AM

    Brokers need to step up to the plate on the whole and clearly demonstrate to the Canadian Consumer why dealing with them gives them an advantage over going direct to the banks. We also need to take a hard look at where we send our business and consider that there are alternatives that are available. Two of the biggest lenders in the broker marketplace are banks, and we continue to shovel huge volume to them. I have heard many brokers over the years claim it is because the brand is easier to sell, but that boils down to the amount of trust your customer has in you to place them with a good lender. I also listen to brokers across Canada complain that the banks, the same ones that we send a lot business, are competing for the client relationship, not giving us renewals, etc.

    We talk about lender loyalty to brokers a lot and we talk about that lenders need to do a better job supporting the broker industry. If we want the true broker lenders, the First Nationals, MCAPs, Home Trusts, etc of this world to get even more behind our industry, let’s get more behind them and show them that our loyalties are with them.

    Food for thought, and I understand not everyone will agree with what I am saying, but I do agree with Elfie Hayes on this.

  • Kevin Duffy on 2013-04-19 10:17:03 AM

    Paul, I could not agree with you more. Well said. I fail to understand how two bank lenders could garner such market share? It's not like they even have the best rates and terms or even client service levels after the sale most of the time. I have not done a bank mortgage yet and am only considering doing one now because client needs construction mortgage financing. I do investments too and 97% of my book is with non bank investment firms. Brokers need to show the public that they are "different" from the banks in order to succeed. Discounting a bank funded mortgage is not doing that, an on-line service can do that . If you play that rate alone game you will be dead in no time. You cannot win and you will starve trying unless you have deeper pockets than your adversary and you don't.

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