“Fewer institutions will lend here,” says Alice Thompson, an agent who works and lives in Dawson City, “so I have a list of lenders who will work with people and who have had success.”
Mortgage brokers in the area are also struggling to secure financing for deals. Many of them are being forced to turn to more rigid lenders, such as the big banks.
"With many lenders pulling out (of the market in Canada's North) TD is probably getting most of the business out there with or without the broker," Bud Jorgenson wrote on REP sister site, MortgageBrokerNews.ca. "This means that at the end of the day the client is either going to come to TD through a broker or walk in. If they eliminate the broker they are still keeping the client and when they do TD doesn't have to pay the broker. That sounds like a win win."
One broker – who does a great deal of business in Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut – is questioning lender loyalty after a number of them have ceased broker network operations in the North.
Susan Zanders of Verico Zanders & Associates has been lending in Northern Canada since 1998 but is finding it more difficult to fund deals as lender partners flee from the frigid areas.
“As a broker, we started out with ten lenders up there but National Bank pulled out of the market, Firstline pulled out, RMG left and, in some cases, we had live deals (that could not be fulfilled),” Zanders told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.
According to CREA’s most recent sales statistics, the Yukon (225 sales YTD) and Northwest Territories (112) have recorded the least amount of sales in Canada. Meanwhile, the province with the third least amount of sales, Prince Edward Island, has more than doubled their collective number, with 1,141 sales.
Some may argue that this low level of activity could be reason enough for lenders to leave these markets but Zanders isn’t sold. And for her, it’s a matter of loyalty.
“The refinance business is huge and not reflected in CREA’s numbers,” Zanders said. “Lenders ask for loyalty but what about the loyalty to brokers?”
Zanders estimates she has done close to $125 million of business in Northern Canada.
As mortgage lenders increasingly flee the northern markets, leaving agents with a lot of the leg work in finding the appropriate financing to close a deal, some brokers suggest turning to more traditional lending institutions.