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Darin Rayburn steps aside after 19 years with Melcor | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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IMAGE: Darin Rayburn is retiring from his positions as president and CEO of Melcor REIT and Melcor Developments. (Courtesy Melcor)

Darin Rayburn is retiring from his positions as president and CEO of Melcor REIT and Melcor Developments. (Courtesy Melcor)

Real estate has been a passion for Darin Rayburn from the moment he accepted his first job in the industry three decades ago.

As he exits his roles as president and CEO of Edmonton-based Melcor Developments (MRD-T) and Melcor REIT (MR-UN-T), Rayburn said he intends to remain involved in his “retirement” years.

“Once real estate is in your blood it stays in your blood. I don’t have any specifics to tell you at this point; I can tell you that my goal is to stay in real estate. What that looks like, we’ll wait and see,” Rayburn told RENX.

Melcor announced in August that Rayburn would be retiring at the end of 2021 from both divisions of the company.

On Wednesday, Melcor Developments announced Tim Melton is succeeding Rayburn as CEO and executive chairman of the board, effective immediately.

Naomi Stefura, Melcor’s chief financial officer, has also been promoted to the new role of executive vice-president in addition to continuing as CFO.

Rayburn will assist with the transition until his retirement Dec. 31. He also remains as CEO of Melcor REIT until year-end.

“Tim has been a big part of this company for a long, long time. Tim and I were working hand in hand and it seemed like a natural transition at this point for Melcor Developments as they figure out where the company is going and progressing,” said Rayburn.

“For him to be involved and for Naomi to get promoted really makes sense.

“It makes the transition smoother. It’s business as usual at Melcor.”

The Melton family is Melcor’s largest shareholder. Tim Melton had been serving as Melcor’s board chair.

The attraction of the real estate industry

Rayburn said two aspects of the business have kept him involved in real estate for the past 30 years, including the relationships with other industry professionals.

“That really appealed to me,” he said, quickly moving on to the second. “Honestly, too, I like the thrill of the chase. Real estate is about the thrill of the chase. It’s about creating a legacy, when you develop or buy or whatever you create, to be able to drive by it every day and see it and feel it.

“I also love the fact that it’s bricks and mortar. You can touch it, you can understand it.”

For the immediate future, he plans to take care of some personal business ventures.

“I plan to remain active in the Alberta real estate market . . . I’ve got my own holding company,” he said. “I’ve got some investments that I will be focusing more on.

“I’m excited for what’s next, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t that nervousness about leaving the company I’ve been such a big part of for so long and a group of people I’m so, so fond of,” he said.

“It’s been such an incredible learning journey and I leave Melcor with wonderful memories, and experiences and friends. I’m sure that’s going to carry through to my next chapter.”

Rayburn’s time at Melcor

Rayburn has spent 19 years at Melcor, holding CEO and senior board roles since 2013.

An Alberta native, he graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of arts in economics and political science.

“I wanted to go to law school. I wrote my LSAT and did pretty well, but I took a year off just to work and make some money and in that year off I got my first job at Cambridge Shopping Centres and here I am 30 years later, still in my year off,” he said.

That first job? Wrapping Christmas presents.

“I became the management trainee at Cambridge Shopping Centres and I was (in) Edmonton at three different Cambridge shopping centres for a total of three years.”

He then spent nine years with Oxford Properties Group – including two years in Winnipeg – and eventually became its general manager in Edmonton.

Rayburn then joined Melcor in 2002 as vice-president of investment properties.

“One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that real estate is dynamic. It ebbs and flows. Especially coming from Western Canada and Alberta, you go through up markets, you go through down markets,” Rayburn said, “and I’ve learned there’s opportunities in every market.

“One of the things we did so great at Melcor Developments is we looked for the opportunities before they were hot. We were investing in the U.S. in 2008-2009 when other people weren’t. We expanded our commercial portfolio starting in 2002,” he continued, noting that was the reason he was initially hired by Melcor.

“And 2002 in Alberta it wasn’t that great here, let me tell you.”

Melcor established in 1923

Melcor has been in business since 1923. The company has built over 140 communities and commercial projects across Western Canada and today manages 4.66 million square feet in CRE assets and 603 residential rental units.

That represents an asset value of $2 billion – close to 90 per cent of the assets in Alberta.

Melcor has been a public company since 1968.

“You don’t survive that long by taking uncalculated risks. A big part of our culture here has always been, you know risk and reward is important, but understand what the risk is and what you’re giving up to pursue that risk,” said Rayburn.

Melcor launched the REIT in May 2013, the week before a significant change in the interest-rate climate and a year before the Alberta recession started in late 2014 with a collapse in oil prices.

“But having said that, if you look where the REIT’s come from, it’s doubled in size. Even during these tough times we still found opportunities, whether it’s from buying third-party assets or from buying Melcor Developments’ development assets. We were still able to grow,” said Rayburn.

“Without a doubt, though, where the challenge has been is when REIT unit values were depressed.

“It’s trying to find a deal that’s still accretive if you have to raise money by selling your unit value. Not just the Melcor REIT but all REITs, whether it’s Alberta or everywhere, face those types of markets. You have to find ways to get a bit more creative.

“Creativity has become an important part of any real estate transaction, whether buying or selling or developing or leasing. We’ve definitely had to be a little more creative on every deal and understand the hot buttons for buyers or sellers or tenants. That’s been important.”

As a company with a long history, there are also memories of tough times from the past. That is something that has been passed down to current management.

“Financing has been important. Melcor survived the ’80s – one of the few companies that survived the ’80s – and you sort of realized how important it was not to be over-leveraged. How important it was to have that great relationship with your bankers and your institutions,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s changed but I think that has been heightened.

“This strange time” of COVID

“Low interest rates right now is what’s keeping the real estate market moving during this strange time.”

Before moving on, Rayburn said he wanted to ensure Melcor got through the COVID-19 pandemic on strong footing.

“Challenging times for sure but also incredibly gratifying to lead our teams through the most uncertain times of my 30-year career,” he said.

“We initially cut our distributions in both Melcor REIT and Melcor (Developments) early in COVID anticipating the worst, but have since raised the distribution twice in the REIT as we move our way through the recovery.

“We took some criticism in the REIT from a vocal minority but were also applauded by many unitholders as it was the right thing to do considering the circumstances.”

Many of the initial cost-cutting measures have been reversed over the intervening 18 months.

“We defended our actions and the market accepted it, as evidenced in the increased REIT unit price from pandemic lows,” Rayburn said. “While the REIT distribution is not back to pre-pandemic levels, it is moving closer.

“Shares in Melcor Developments are above pre-pandemic levels – hit a low during the pandemic of $5.88, today at $14.40. For the REIT, the units are not yet at pre-pandemic levels but inching closer – pandemic low of $3.26, today at $6.72.

“I’m proud and encouraged by our recovery and the future outlook for both companies is strong. In fact, one might argue stronger than the pre-pandemic outlook.”

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Toronto's real estate market has 'Gen Z' questioning if they will ever own single family homes: report | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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As Toronto’s real estate market remains hot with prices rising and home sales hitting new highs, a new report is claiming that more than half of the city’s ‘Generation Z’ residents have given up on the dream of ever owning a single-family home.

The report, released Wednesday by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada and Mustel Group, surveyed 1,502 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 28 living in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

According to the report, 52 per cent of the Toronto residents surveyed do not believe they will ever buy a single-family home.

This is higher than in Montreal and Calgary, where 48 and 39 per cent, respectively, of young residents share the same sentiment, but lower than in Vancouver where 56 per cent of respondents reported having given up on the idea of single-family home ownership.

HIGHER DENSITY HOUSING MORE LIKELY

In Toronto, 82 per cent of respondents who had never before purchased a home reported feeling worried that they will not be able to do so because of rising house prices, with 38 per cent indicating they are “very worried.”

However, 75 per cent of Torontonians within this age group said that they are still likely to buy and own a primary residence within their lifetime — whether that be a condominium, apartment, townhouse or single-family home.

In fact, approximately half of those surveyed stated that their first home will most likely be a higher-density housing type.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents reported that their first home purchase will likely be a condominium, while 18 per cent said that their first home will be an attached home/townhouse and seven per cent said that their first home purchase will be a duplex/triplex.

Despite high prices and a red-hot market, the report indicates that Toronto’s Generation Z is still remaining optimistic when it comes to ownership. Seventy-three per cent said they are likely to buy a primary residence in their lifetime — in Toronto or elsewhere — and 46 per cent claimed they are “very likely” to do so.

According to the report, 11 per cent of those surveyed already own a primary residence.

TORONTO PRICES HIT ALL-TIME HIGH

In November, the GTA’s real estate market continued to rise as home sales topped a November record and average selling prices reached an all-time high.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reported last week that 9,017 homes changed hands during the month of November, up three per cent from 8,728 during the prior November.

In addition, the average home price in the region increased to $1,163,323, an almost 22 per cent jump from $955,889 in November 2020.

According to the board, demand for all types of Toronto housing continues to outpace supply. However, the condo market, in particular, is tightening and prices are accelerating more rapidly in suburban areas.

“This speaks to the broadening of economic recovery, with first-time buyers moving back into the market in a big way this year,” said TRREB’s chief market analyst Jason Mercer, in a release.

“The condo and townhouse segments, with lower price points on average, will remain popular as population growth picks up over the next two years.”

With files from The Canadian Press.

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Montreal real estate prices soar 21% amid lower listings, sales in November – Global News

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The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers says November home sales and new listings fell in Montreal as prices soared by more than 20 per cent compared with a year ago.

The association says sales for the month totalled 4,402, a 17 per cent drop from 5,296 in November 2020.

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New listings amounted to 5,056, down 14 per cent from 5,848 last November.

The median price of a single-family home soared by 21 per cent compared with a year ago to reach $525,000, while condos went up by 18 per cent to hit $374,000 and plexes with two to five units had a 15 per cent spike pushing them to $725,000.

Read more:

Montreal October home sales down from record level last year, but prices up

Apart from condominiums, which saw a slight decline, the association says the median prices were also up from October 2021.

Charles Brant, the association’s director of market analysis, says he noticed a lack of supply and persistently high demand last month that placed pressure on prices and encouraged potential sellers to get into the market.

“The announcement of an earlier-than-expected rise in interest rates no doubt motivated potential sellers to advance their project in order to benefit from the sustained activity and the opportunity to sell at the best price,” he said in a statement.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Montreal real estate prices soar 21% amid lower listings in Nov.: brokers group – moosejawtoday.com

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MONTREAL — The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers says November home sales and new listings fell in Montreal as prices soared by more than 20 per cent compared with a year ago.

The association says sales for the month totalled 4,402, a 17 per cent drop from 5,296 in November 2020.

New listings amounted to 5,056, down 14 per cent from 5,848 last November.

The median price of a single-family soared by 21 per cent compared with a year ago to reach $525,000, while condos went up by 18 per cent to hit $374,000 and plexes with two to five units had a 15 per cent spike pushing them to $725,000. 

Apart from condominiums, which saw a slight decline, the association says the median prices were also up from October 2021.

Charles Brant, the association’s director of market analysis, says he noticed a lack of supply and persistently high demand last month that placed pressure on prices and encouraged potential sellers to get into the market. 

“The announcement of an earlier-than-expected rise in interest rates no doubt motivated potential sellers to advance their project in order to benefit from the sustained activity and the opportunity to sell at the best price,” he said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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