'Too much too soon'

'Too much too soon'

Samantha Brookes is one of the most recognizable faces in Toronto’s mortgage industry, largely because of Samantha TV and her myriad media interviews.
Mortgagebrokernews.ca caught up with Brookes, who says she has a message to get out.

“You’re going to see me everywhere,” said the founder and CEO of Mortgages of Canada. “I have slowed down with media, but I’m about to call everybody. People need to know it’s still okay to buy and that the prices will come down, but the sellers need to be realistic. I think everybody was being greedy, so my goal is to make sure that Canadians know everything they need to become homeowners, or to hold onto the properties they currently own.”

The reason for the Brookes blitz is B-20. While she wholeheartedly believes the market was long overdue for a correction, she thinks relentless regulation is detrimental.

“It was too much too soon. If they had given us time—even if they just wanted to add a second stress test in a year and a half—they would have at least seen the true effects of the first stress test, because we didn’t see it in play for long enough. [Market activity] started picking up again, but that’s because they started changing the rules again and people started trying to get in while they could. We’ll see the market continue to normalize but this is not good. It’s too much too soon.”

That said, Brookes believes some semblance of a B-20 update was in order to protect buyers and lenders, particularly with high LTVs.

“The thing is that it’s a good thing this is happening, because as the market corrects it will limit losses for lenders and buyers—85% is just too high, but now you can’t go higher than 80% with privates,” she said. “Now people won’t be losing all their equity if their house forecloses. People may not like the rules, but they’re a good thing. Still, the regulation was too much too soon.”

Like the rest of the industry, Mortgages of Canada has experienced significantly lower volume through the first month of year because of the new regulation, and she called the current market a buyer’s market.

“Houses are staying on the market for longer, so there’s room for negotiation. I tell my clients not to rush because they’ll find something more suitable. Anybody who is selling at $800,000 has no buyers now, so they have to bring their prices down. It’s a buyer’s market, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

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