High-flying stock market sends business to brokers

“In the last week, we’ve just had two of the biggest deals of my career,” Mark Herman, an agent and team leader for Mortgage Alliance Mortgages Are Marvelous Inc. in Calgary, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “One was a new purchase for $1.525 million, with 5% down, and the other one was for a $750,000 line of credit on a $1.5 million purchase. High-end mortgage business for brokers in Calgary has picked up like we’ve never seen.”

Calgary brokers may not be alone.

Re/Max examined 12 major centres from coast-to-coast and found that luxury sales surged in two-thirds of them during the first four months of 2011, compared to the same period last year.

While Vancouver led in terms of percentage increases – 118% year over year – Dartmouth, at 27%, Winnipeg, 24%, Hamilton-Burlington, 13%, and Greater Toronto, 9%, also saw spikes.

Herman’s market of Calgary was also on that list, at 51%, although that scorching hot performance fell short of setting a new record, unlike the other top jurisdictions on the list. With the exception of Vancouver, their sales growth can be chalked up to domestic buyers.

Michael Polzler, executive vice president for Re/Max in Ontario-Atlantic Canada, pointed to three key factors for the rise in high-end business: equity gains, stock market recovery, and improved economic performance.

Brokers like Herman are pointing to the some of the same factors to explain why they’re getting more high-net-worth clients stepping across their thresholds.

“These guys weren’t buying as much during the recession, but with prices still below recent highs, high-end buyers are now out bargain shopping,” said the mortgage agent, also an MBA.

“But what they’re doing is they’re looking to keep their money in the stock market and other high-yield investments and want to buy homes with as little money down as possible – it’s all about limiting opportunity costs. Also they’re coming to brokers this time because they’re finding the banks have been slower to ease credit and aren’t giving them the discounted rates they expect.”

Less than five months into 2011, another broker, Sharnjit Gill, has already surpassed last year’s total for high-value deals.

“We’re also seeing more activity there because those clients are more educated about what we as brokers can do for them beyond rate,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.

Still the trend is less obvious at other mortgage brokerages, even in those markets highlighted by the Re/Max report.

While her Ottawa brokerage has seen an uptick in volume, said Kim McKenney, senior VP at Dominion Lending Centres The Mortgage Source.

“The average dollar amount has risen by only a couple of thousands of dollars,” she told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.

Mortgagebrokernews.ca is a division of KMI Media.

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