Calgary mortgage broker upswing reflects CMHC trend

Some Calgary mortgage brokers are seeing an upswing in business as more first-time home buyers come to them for financing.

Numbers of 1st-time buyers using brokers over banks up 7%

First-time homebuyer Carla Ferdinand used a mortgage broker to get financing for a house in Strathmore. (CBC)

The Calgary real estate market is reflecting the results of aCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) surveythat suggests more than half of first-time home buyers are using mortgage brokers to get financing.

"I knew I could get a better rate but I couldn't get it through my bank, but I could get it through the mortgage broker, said Carla Ferdinand, a first-time home buyer in Strathmore. "That alone, it's a money saver."

The CMHC findings show market share trending upwards from 2012 to 2015 for mortgage brokers in most market segments. 

Those who say they are repeat buyers who chose a broker increased from 32 per cent to 42 per cent in the last three years, according to the recent CMHC consumer survey. 

First-time buyers increased from 48 per cent to 55 per cent. 

It's a trend that is reflected in Calgary's housing market where people are making the biggest purchase of their lives during Alberta's economic downturn.

"We are definitely seeing more of the first-time home buyers," said Lori Grill, a mortgage broker in Calgary for 25 years.

Today's young buyers are well-informed and they want personalized and immediate service, she says.

"That's where we fit that niche, where you can't get the service at the banks that you once could," said Grill.

High staff turnover and changing customer service at banks were factors that led Ferdinand to a broker.

"The mortgage broker was more accommodating to my time and where we could meet, and they were so much quicker," she said. 

"Whereas the bank, they're not necessarily going to get me the best rate, they took longer to get back to me." 

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