Should brokers thank CMHC?

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By Justin da Rosa

Thanks, CMHC! The latest move by the Crown corporation appears to have pushed a wave of fence-sitters into making purchases today fearful of tomorrow's rate increases.

“I’ve had five new deals in five days with people who were sitting on the fence – people hear the news and decide it’s time to move,” Steven Brouwer of Dominion Lending Centres Drake Entrust Mortgage Services told on Friday. “People are deciding to refinance as well.”

Some other brokers who have yet to feel the effects are nonetheless prepared to deal with an onslaught.

“We haven’t seen it yet, but we discussed it in our meeting today and I think there will be a wave of demand coming,” Kevin Blue of Dominion Lending Centres Arrowsmith said last Friday. “Any negative news pushes people off the fence and into the market.”

A collective apprehension may be growing within the home-buying community due to the CMHC’s decision last week to limit each lender in its mortgage-backed securities program to $350 million in guarantees for August. The move is expected to increase the originations costs for large lenders.They are expected to then pass that on to consumers in the form of higher rates.

The CMHC step won a flood of press attention last week, keeping real estate agents across Canada hopping to close deals on homes that have in many cased languished on the market.

Brokers, once sitting on a mountain of preapprovals, have also benefited from the CMHC announcement.

But some have yet to notice any significant sales surge, suggesting it may be due to clients being out of the loop.

“I haven’t noticed anything,” said Andrew Lee of True North Mortgage. “I’ve talked to some clients and what CMHC said may put pressure on bond yields, but some customers aren’t tuned into what’s going on with it.”

As for the efficacy of the CMHC’s decision, Brouwer shared his thoughts: “Tightening up the market may not be a bad thing but they can’t continue to tighten for the long term. They have to think about how to control it consistently instead of making rash decisions.”

  • Paolo Di Petta | on 2013-08-12 11:31:53 AM

    What good is a flood of business if it's only going to be followed by a drout?

    This is exactly why all of these changes should have been made incrementally and proactively in the past instead of reactively, all at once when it's already too late.

    If that were the case, we probably wouldn't have seen this out of control housing boom nor would we have to deal with the aftershock that will follow.

  • BC Broker on 2013-08-13 1:42:07 PM

    I read the articles about this in the mainstream paper as well… just the media sensationalizing something that is simply not true. CMHC has not tightened up anything - they, as they have been for the past 60 years, have caps on the amount that they can insure. Last year they had a max amount of about 75 billion, this year 85 billion – which is 10 billion more. The cap for August of 350 million PER LENDER is not a tightening, it is a common sense approach to manage the fact that they are at 66 Billion of the 85 Billion cap – and it is one that they have been doing for decades. They are a crown corporation they have an obligation to report their status. Better that they manage the funding total then run out before the end of the year. We are coming into a slow month historically for mortgage lending, so it really should not be an issue. Throw into the mix that there is also two other insurers, Canada Guarantee and Genworth… or has the broker community so quickly forgotten about them? I think that people are over reacting to this so called “news”.

    And of course there are brokers out there that will capitalize on this, and good for everyone who does. My biggest question is when will the media, brokers, and others stop trying to scare consumers? There was a comment made by the chief at Century 21 that played into this as well. It is any wonder that Canadians hit the panic button when we have people that make irresponsible comments based on irresponsible reporting. All we are doing is providing a disservice to Canadians when we try to make a big deal out of something like this.

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