Mortgage advisor
Age: 33

When Clinton Wilkins entered the industry in 2006, it was almost unrecognizable compared to what exists today. “When I started, there were lenders giving 100% financing and 40-year amortization – if you had a heartbeat, you could get a mortgage,” says the Nova Scotia-based broker. “Even if you had damaged credit, people were getting approved by A lenders. That meant the market was super-heated, especially here in Atlantic Canada, where we had never really seen a boom before. But it was artificially inflated because credit was so easy to obtain.”  

The financial crisis and the housing crash in America caused a crackdown on lending practices, which signalled an end to the party for brokers in the region. “We saw the peak of our markets here in 2011,” Wilkins says. “That was prior to the change in the refinancing rules. Before, we could refinance for up to 95% of the value of people’s homes. The federal government started to tinker with mortgage lending constraints, so after 2011 was when things really started to soften here.” 

That downturn lasted until recently, but Wilkins is confident Atlantic Canada has turned a corner. “It has been really good in 2016 – 
year-to-date we are up 30%,” he says. “In Halifax, the market 
has really picked up. Last year was our toughest year so far. I 
have been working a lot smarter rather than harder.” 
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