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1. New mortgage rules
Expect more rule tightening in 2014 designed to reduce mortgage risk for lenders, mortgage default insurers and the government. By definition, those rules will make it slightly harder to get approved for some mortgages and further slow the housing market.

2. Credit unions will steal market share
Since they're provincially regulated, credit unions have more flexible lending guidelines than federally regulated banks. They'll use that to their advantage in addition to marketing more heavily, both online and to mortgage brokers. We'll also see some big mergers this year as credit unions seek out economies of scale.

3. Stronger online players
A new breed of online mortgage broker is sacrificing commissions for volume, and selling cut-rate mortgages. This trend will heat up competition industrywide, delivering greater mortgage discounts to all consumers.

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4. Hybrid mortgages will grow more popular
Economists and government officials have been warning us of higher rates for four years. So far they've been wrong, and now many consumers aren't sure what to believe. More Canadians will hedge their rate bets with hybrid mortgages (part fixed and part variable).

5. Consumer IQs will increase
For those in the mortgage industry who prefer an uninformed consumer, your days are numbered. Canadians will spend more time researching rate comparison websites, online mortgage forums, news portals, blogs, calculators and other online mortgage tools. They'll become increasingly savvy about fine print like penalty calculations, rate blend policies and refinance restrictions. (Find tips for securing the best mortgage in Robert McLister's Mortgage Checklist.)

Robert McLister is the editor of CanadianMortgageTrends.com and a mortgage planner at VERICO intelliMortgage, a mortgage brokerage. You can also follow him on Twitter at @CdnMortgageNews.

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