Manitoba flooding prompts changes to mortgage applications

The natural disaster has also set back the start of the spring season by as much as two months in some of the hardest hit areas, brokers told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. But applications are still finding their way into the broker channel, with originators focused on addressing underwriter concerns before they, in fact, crop up.

“The lenders haven’t asked for the information,” Brad Poole, principal broker for Avenue Mortgage in Portage La Prairie, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “But in our application notes, we’re putting in that the property hasn’t been affected by the flooding, or isn’t in a flood zone.

It addresses any concerns lenders, who are in Toronto and other centres, might have because they’re not familiar with the area.”

Poole is crediting the due diligence for helping him speed applications through the underwriting process. He’s actually been able to grow year-over-year originations even as parts of south-western Manitoba continue to brace for more of the kind of flooding that forced the evacuation of thousands of Manitobans and the prompted plans to sacrifice 150 homes.

Since flooding began in April, more than 3,600 people have been forced to leave their properties as part of a coordinated flood relief plan, centred on containing the swollen Assiniboine River. Dykes have been intentionally breached in some areas, with plans to sacrifice some homes in near Portage and Brandon.

Late this week, officials struggled to close a critical flood leak north of the Portage diversion. That latest crisis was averted by Thursday afternoon, although government estimates of $200 million in property damage could still climb, said officials.

Poole and most brokers in nearby Brandon haven’t been directly affected, although many are chalking up that two-month delay in the spring season to the caution of buyers and sellers before and during the disaster.

“It’s the first time since I started as a broker ten years ago that a flood has actually slowed down business,” Scott McMullan, principal broker at The Mortgage Centre Brandon, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Even before the flooding, people looking to buy seemed to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, but most areas weren’t affected and things are starting to pick up again. It won’t take long to make up any ground lost.”

MortgageBrokerNews.ca is a division of KMI Media.

 

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