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Mortgage brokers encouraged by renewed interest in home buying and renewals

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A hold in the Bank of Canada's key interest rate might turn the tide for financing homes across Canada.

Mortgage brokers in Simcoe County and the surrounding area are encouraged by the return of buyers to the market and renewals amid concerns of future defaults this year.

"As much as people want to buy bigger houses and things like that, they have been limited in terms of those higher rates," said Jason Nugent, a mortgage broker with Dominion Lending in Newmarket. "But because of the halt on hikes, we've actually seen some optimism return to those seeking to re-enter the market."

The Bank of Canada's halt on rate hikes occurred earlier this month after a year of hikes to slow down inflation nationwide.

"In fact, we've actually seen a little bit of a reduction in the rates in the last week or so," said Michael Oziel, Mortgage Broker with Sherwood Mortgage Group. "We're starting to see a lot of buyers coming off the sidelines and get back into the pre-approval process."

However, only some have been able to qualify for conventional mortgages.

A November 2022 report from CMHC revealed 33 per cent of borrowers renewed with alternative lenders in the third quarter of 2022, up from 29 per cent the year prior.

"When you look at the gig economy, people working hourly, two or three jobs, the banks have certain restrictions about how much time you have to be on that job before we can use that income," Nugent said. "So we have seen a small increase in defaults, but we're still very stable."

Simcoe County's default rate currently sits at 0.47, which Michael Oziel said is a sign of resiliency.

"How people have been ensuring that their finances are in order to withstand these rates, I'm actually quite impressed with how low defaults have been," he added.

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