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Mortgage 101 – Halifax’s hot housing market | May 2021 Part 1

In this episode of Mortgage 101 with Clinton Wilkins and Todd Veinotte, as heard on News 95.7, the guys talk about Halifax’s hot housing market, the advantages of a mortgage broker, and military borrowers.

Mortgage 101 with Clinton Wilkins & Todd Veinotte – May 2021 – Part 1

Don’t feel like watching the video? Check out the transcript below.


Welcome to part one of May’s Mortgage 101!

Todd Veinotte: [00:00:23.76] All right. It is Mortgage 101, your guide to Homeownership with Clinton Wilkins and myself, Todd Veinotte, right here on News 95.7. And I’m not responsible for the music choice. I want to let that be known right out of the gate, Clinton.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:00:38.22] Well, you know what? Everybody has a job.

Todd Veinotte: [00:00:40.65] That’s true.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:00:41.43] And you know what? You get to pick the music Monday to Friday. I don’t know. I think probably Katie gets a little bit of the decision making power.

Todd Veinotte: [00:00:48.09] Yeah, for sure.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:00:48.47] You know, I’m sure she likes having power as well. But, I assume you as the host, and I guess executive producer of the show currently, you get a little bit of the, you know, insight to the music. And this time we actually we have our producers here as well. But I also like the control. I don’t know, it’s a hard one.

Todd Veinotte: [00:01:06.45] Do you want to give them a shout out, do you want to give the shout to the producers, the production team?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:01:11.25] Our production team! I mean, there’s no better place to be. You know, we’re here on the weekend on News 95.7. And, you know, we have a great team here keeping the show going. And you know what? We’re in season three of the show. It’s pretty amazing.

Todd Veinotte: [00:01:24.66] Yeah. So, you’re going to mention any names?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:01:25.89] Yes, we have our producers here. We have Jonathan Snow and our co-producer here, Bethanee Diamond, which we didn’t give her a shout out last time because maybe she was a bit shy. But now this time we’re live on the air. Why not?

Todd Veinotte: [00:01:39.78] All right. So we are live on the air on News 95.7. For those who don’t know exactly what you do and where we’re at, in this cool location right here — what is this? George Street?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:01:50.49] We’re on George Street, we’re in downtown Halifax and you’re listening to us live here. And you know, I’ve been a mortgage broker for 15 years and we have an office over in Dartmouth and we’ve just recently opened and we’re actually building a brand new location here in downtown Halifax. And, you know, we’re really doing the opposite of what everyone’s doing. A lot of people are working at home and, you know, maybe not investing in offices and all these things. And, you know, I think we’re really bucking the trend. Now, it’s not against safety because, you know, I think safety so, so important. And we don’t have customers coming in right now. But, you know, we’re really believing in brick and mortar. And I think that mortgage lending is super important. It’s one of the biggest transactions of people’s lives. I think buying a house is, you know, part of the Canadian dream. And we’re part of the process here in Halifax. And we help clients, you know, all across Atlanta Canada and really across this country.

Todd Veinotte: [00:02:45.06] Yeah. And you’re really showing a jolt of confidence into the economy here in downtown Halifax. Right? Because as you mentioned, the trend for some is out of the downtown. But you believe in the downtown. You live here. And it’s a jolt of confidence. Right?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:03:00.42] I certainly do believe and, you know, I continue to believe and, you know, I will invest my time and my money in this location. And, you know, I’m still going to be in Dartmouth. Dartmouth is really my baby. I’ve been in Dartmouth for almost 15 years and I’m going to continue being there. But this is really the next step in our evolution. I’m super excited about it. And, you know, people are going to come back downtown.

What’s the advantage of a Mortgage Broker?

Todd Veinotte: [00:03:25.25] Ok, so there’s all kinds of things that we can talk about, I guess, first off, being a mortgage broker and again, this is elementary to some, a rehash if you will, but we have new listeners all the time. So what is the fundamental advantage to a mortgage broker over a traditional bank mortgage, whatever the term would be?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:03:46.40] Yeah, maybe like a bank employee, whether, you know, an adviser or maybe your mobile mortgage specialist. I think the big difference is that we have access to about 40 different lenders and we’re really biased to the consumer, not the lender. Where oftentimes if you’re dealing with a specific bank, you’re just able to get the products that they offer and everybody situation is different. And that’s why we’re really able to look at income, assets and credit and just figure out what the best solution is for the consumer. And, you know, hopefully we’re able to put them in a great, you know, solution. And I think that we’re really relationship-based. And I think at one time, the banks used to be relationship lenders, but I don’t think they’re in the relationship business anymore because there’s a lot of turnover on the branches. And I can tell you, there’s a lot of branches that are closed or have reduced hours. I can tell you even now with what’s going on with COVID here in Halifax, that certainly they have reduced hours and luckily we’re still here. We’re still answering the phone and we’re still doing transactions every day.

Todd Veinotte: [00:04:49.13] How often do you think do you have a client in front of you, whether an individual, a couple, whatever it might be. And you think to yourself, if I were beholden to one lender here, the bank that I was working for, this would not work. But because I have the diversity of lenders, I’m going to be able to pull this off.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:05:03.40] I literally see it every day.

Todd Veinotte: [00:05:05.15] Every single day?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:05:06.50] Everyday. And you know what, we email the realtor after every mortgage funds, whether the realtor referred us the client or not, because we really want to build those relationships. And I think it’s so, so important. And, you know, I email the realtor and sometimes I’ll, you know, we’ll give a little bit of my two cents worth of, like, how the transaction went, et cetera, et cetera. And sometimes I say to the realtor, I’m not sure if this would have happened anywhere else because no one would have put this much effort into the file. I look at these files and it’s, if it’s me doing it or someone else on our team, I look at the file and I look and I see how complex it is. And sometimes there’s 50 files in, or I mean 50 documents in the file and not everyone maybe would do that much due diligence. And I also don’t know if every lender would put that much effort into it, to really see it to fruition, see it to funding, seeing to it to the closing date. But we’re motivated. And I can tell you we’re doing a lot of transactions. Last year here in our office, we did 680 transactions and this year we’re pacing for over 800 transactions.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:06:12.92] So, you know, we’re certainly seeing a lift in the amount of transactions that are happening. And I think a little bit of that is obviously due to the real estate market. You know, there’s more demand in the market currently than there is supply. So obviously that’s something. But that’s increasing the price. I’m not a 100% convinced it’s really increasing the amount of transactions because there’s only so much inventory out there for people to buy. The one thing I think that’s really positively impacting our business here is answering the phone. No one answers the phone anymore. And we live answer every call that we possibly can. And we have three really great people that answer the phone here every day. And I think it’s so helpful because sometimes you just have a quick question. You don’t get a quick answer or an experienced answer from a call center. Or if you call most banks, you have to go through an automated attendant who wants to hit seven and five and then three. And then you have to put in your debit card number and then you’re getting someone on the other end of the phone that is trying to deal with many different questions and products. Here, we’re only doing mortgage lending all day, every day.

Halifax’s hot housing market — is it sustainable?

Todd Veinotte: [00:07:21.24] Are you concerned at all about, you talked about the hot market, and this is going on across the country, Toronto, everywhere, every market.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:07:27.72] It’s not just here.

[00:07:28.41] It’s not just here. And some have used the term bubble, whatever you want to use. Are you concerned at all about the market in Halifax and its sustainability?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:07:37.47] I’m not concerned about the units balancing out, because you know what? There will be more supply that comes online. That’s just reality. Markets will always balance themselves. What I am concerned about is some people think the price is going to continue going up and up. I’m not sure it’s going to. I think our real estate was likely underpriced at one time. And now I think we’ve kind of leveled up. Do I think the prices are going to continue increasing indefinitely? No, because I don’t think that we’re going to be Toronto. I don’t think that we’re going to be Vancouver. But I think that likely our real estate was undervalued for a long time. And we’ve never seen a boom here in Halifax. And I’ve said this before. You know, we’ve had very steady growth for years, like 30 years. We’ve had steady growth of like one, two, three percent. And now we’re starting to see some of these double-digit growths. And, you know, I think one of the reasons is we have a great quality of life here. It’s very safe. We may be having a current spike right now and that’s going to balance itself out. But overall, we’ve done very well in our economy is not tied into oil and gas. I can tell you it’s a tough time in Alberta and it’s a tough time in Newfoundland. And luckily in Nova Scotia, we have our little micro economy here. And although we’ve really been closed down to the rest of Atlantic Canada and really the rest of the country, we’ve done quite well over the last 12 months.

Military Clients

Todd Veinotte: [00:08:57.60] Yeah, lots of government employees here in HRM. And of course, you get the provincial capital, you’ve got all the military on and on it goes. And that, again, that just creates, you must have a lot of military clients, I’m assuming, right.

Clinton Wilkins: [00:09:12.24] Yeah, we do. And I think about 30% of our clients are military.

Todd Veinotte: [00:09:16.17] 30%!?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:09:17.73] That’s a lot, eh? And it may not be like both borrowers are military about maybe one out of the two or military. But we certainly see a lot of military clients and I think it’s because where we are positioned in the city, you know, we have our office over on Wyse Road, which obviously is very close to Shearwater, and now we have our office downtown, which is very close to the dockyard. And many people who even work at the dock yard work or live in Dartmouth, and they’re crossing the bridge. They’re driving by one of our offices. I think it’s a convenience. And I think that, you know what? We’re really here to help. And if we’re doing a lot of military type transactions, we’re familiar with the needs that military members have. We understand you might get posted. We want to make sure you’re going to be protected, that if you do sell your house, that you’re either going to have a very low penalty or no penalty if you do sell. And we deal with a lot of military programs and there is one of the big banks out there, quote unquote, that has an alliance with the military. And I think some members think that that’s the only lender that has programs for military. But there’s lots of other options out there.

Todd Veinotte: [00:10:18.69] What do you want to talk about in the next segment?

Clinton Wilkins: [00:10:20.10] You know what? I think we’re going to talk a little bit more about the housing market. We’re going to talk about rates, you know, lots of hot questions about the rates and, you know, what’s better, a variable or fixed today. And I think that’s ever changing.

Todd Veinotte: [00:10:30.15] So, awesome stuff. We’ll be right back. It’s Mortgage 101 your Guide to Homeownership with Clinton Wilkins and myself, Todd Veinotte, hear on News 95.7. We’ll be right back.

If you have any questions, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770 or contact us here.