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Technology, data, starting to transform commercial real estate: survey – 570 News

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TORONTO — A new report says technology and data are finally shaking up the world of commercial real estate, allowing the industry to make more informed decisions and take on more complex projects.

Toronto-based Altus Group says a majority of 400 global commercial real estate executives surveyed are now seeing the disruptive impact of technology on the property sector for the first time in the five years the real estate group has been conducting the survey.

Altus CEO Bob Courteau says executives are starting to see that data, innovation and technology are going to be critical going forward, after some reluctance in the past to invest in areas beyond the bricks and mortar of real estate.

The change is clear at the executive level, where 80 per cent of firms said they have a chief data officer or equivalent senior executive, compared with only 44 per cent four years ago.

The increased data and efficiencies brought on by technology are allowing real estate firms to expand into growing spaces such as multi-family co-living, a sort of dorm-style arrangement with small private bedrooms and shared living and kitchen space, as well as co-working space and new models for retail.

Altus says a wave of investment in startups focused on real estate tech, or proptech, has created a huge number of players and the sector is ripe for consolidation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Equity in metrics: Women in commercial real estate | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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Synthia Kloot is the senior vice president, operations at Colliers International in Canada.

As a data-driven individual, I know the value of metrics. They demonstrate performance. They tell a story. They make an impact. They prompt action. They propel change.

According to CREW Network’s 2015 Benchmark Study Report: Women in Commercial Real Estate, women constitute approximately 37 per cent of the commercial real estate workforce in Canada; nine per cent hold C-suite positions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we welcome our newest contributed column, CRE Matters. The column, being provided by Colliers International (Canada), will explore a variety of commercial real estate issues and topics. Watch for future instalments approximately once per month.

Subsequent publications from CREW indicate 65 per cent of employees have experienced or witnessed gender bias against females in their commercial real estate workplace in the last five years (2011-2016), while 55 per cent of employees have experienced or witnessed gender bias against females outside of the physical workplace.

I recently celebrated my 10 years in the industry and with Colliers International. Upon reaching this milestone, I reflected on my journey, acknowledging my challenges and accomplishments, and the relationships I’ve forged along the way.

The industry and our company have evolved in the last decade – and there is still much opportunity to foster a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. Since CREW network’s benchmark report was released five years ago, circumstances remain largely unchanged in commercial real estate with regard to gender equity.

The early days

I joined Colliers as National Director of IT. A woman foraying into an industry with an “old school” composition and very few female leaders, I was ready to question status quo as I was used to more diverse workforces in my previous roles.

Adding more challenge, my first objective was to implement a company-wide system, which involved convincing our professionals to not only trade in their Rolodexes for a web-based tool, but also share the contents of said Rolodexes.

I met resistance. I experienced bias: I wasn’t heard. I’d present an idea without it landing. I learned to embrace the challenge and found allies.

I persevered, determined to deliver a robust product, advance IT within the business – and break through the barriers. And I hoped that circumstances would change: It would only be a matter of time before a shift occurred that would see gender equity and women not having to fight so hard for their rightful place.

Success, and breakthroughs

I also experienced bright spots: accolades for a breakthrough project, words of encouragement from colleagues who recognized my contributions, a fellow female professional making her mark in the business, to name a few.

My resolve for the next few years resulted in the creation and deployment of a robust CRM and globally aligned intranet, both of which continue to play a big part in our professionals’ day-to-day work and business pursuits.

I was ready for more. Fuelled by my desire to work more closely with people to drive change, I took on the position of vice president of operations for Western Canada. Two years later, I became senior vice president of operations for Canada.

During my tenure as head of brokerage operations, I have helped nearly double Colliers’ brokerage business – and been able to advocate for diversity and inclusion.

Knowing first-hand the impact of not having “a seat at the table”, I ensure individuals from various teams and with a range of expertise participate in conversations, initiatives and decision-making are included. When differing minds and opinions converge, it makes for richer dialogue and more creative solutions, not to mention a better experience for employees and clients.

I mentor female professionals within Colliers, using my knowledge and experiences to help them navigate the industry and company, and set and steer their own paths to professional success.

Changing times

As I had hoped, circumstances did begin to change.

Recognizing the obstacles women encounter within the industry and organization, including conscious and unconscious bias and lack of mentoring and sponsorship, Colliers launched its diversity and inclusion program in 2016. Colliers has since taken important steps to help identify and create opportunities for female employees, and provide the mentorship and tools we need to be successful experts and leaders.

In the last year, following discussions with people from all levels within our organization that made evident the need for our employees to be empowered to speak up, stand up and push back, I created Colliers’ Inclusive Workplace Workshop. A forum for our employees – male and female – to share their stories, seek and provide support, and learn practical ways to address challenges, the workshop tackles topics such as stepping up to be a leader, shutting down bullying and harassment in the workplace, and transitioning from being bystanders to upstanders.

I have held 12 Inclusive Workplace Workshops in five cities. The sessions have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and inspired desired behaviour. I have noticed a tangible difference in participants’ language and actions, and witnessed them holding one another accountable to their words and deeds.

There are proven business benefits to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce.

There’s a return on diversity

The same CREW report cited research conducted by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, demonstrating that “companies in the top 25 per cent for gender diversity are 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, while those in the top 25 per cent for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have higher returns.”

Given these findings and the fact that striving for equality in the workplace is overdue and the right thing to do, how could one not work toward this goal?

At Colliers, we have work to do, and the positive steps we will continue to take will drive benefits for our professionals, company and clients. In early 2020, Colliers refined the vision for its diversity and inclusion program, moving the focus to inclusion, with the intent to “clear the path to further promote diversity”.

I am excited and honoured to continue championing inclusion and diversity within Colliers in Canada. And I look forward to sharing our progress, and seeing numbers telling a more promising story for women in commercial real estate.

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Commercial real estate will ‘hold up relatively well’ amidst coronavirus fears – Yahoo Canada Finance

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Commercial real estate investments will fare well in the face of the coronavirus, which has sent equity markets plummeting to record lows.” data-reactid=”15″>Commercial real estate investments will fare well in the face of the coronavirus, which has sent equity markets plummeting to record lows.

Fears over the coronavirus will cause a short-term slowdown in commercial real estate transactions, but investments in office, retail and warehouse properties will be more resilient than other asset classes, say experts. 

Compared to other industries, like tech, commercial real estate investments will “hold up relatively well,” said Heidi Learner, chief economist at Savills, a global real estate services provider based in London, adding that real estate is less reactive to market conditions. 

“It’s not something that’s going to be disrupted by intermediate products or lack of manufacturing capability in Asia,” said Learner. She noted that there is still demand for data centers even considering the virus’s impact on Microsoft and Apple’s supply chains.

Additionally, “it’s a little bit too early to see valuations be affected, but I would be shocked if we didn’t see a decrease in transaction volume,” said Learner.

The Chrysler Building stands next to One Vanderbilt on September 18, 2019 as it tops out at 1,401 feet, and becomes the tallest office building in Midtown, New York. - The building is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, and the tower is now Midtowns tallest office building and the fourth-tallest skyscraper in New York City. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
The Chrysler Building stands next to One Vanderbilt on September 18, 2019 as it tops out at 1,401 feet, and becomes the tallest office building in Midtown, New York. – The building is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, and the tower is now Midtowns tallest office building and the fourth-tallest skyscraper in New York City. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Some Chinese investors are trying to finish existing deals virtually, according to experts, but new transactions will likely be delayed to the second half of 2020, assuming travel bans and quarantines lift, according to Learner. 

“New commercial transactions will likely decline because of the preference of Chinese investors to visit a property in person at least once before a deal closes,” said Jacky He, CEO of DMG Investments, the U.S. subsidiary of DoThink Group, a Hangzhou, China-based developer.

Prices would only be impacted if the virus became a more “pronounced problem,” forcing investors to sell their real estate holdings, said Learner.

“It’s largely going to be a short-term reaction. I think if you think of real estate as a long-term asset, losing income… for the next six months shouldn’t really affect long-term valuations,” said Learner.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter” data-reactid=”35″>Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance” data-reactid=”36″>Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.” data-reactid=”37″>Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More from Sarah:” data-reactid=”38″>More from Sarah:

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CMHC sees Calgary's real estate moving toward balanced – Calgary Herald

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Calgary’s real estate market is starting to approach balanced territory.


File / Postmedia

Home buyers remain in the driver’s seat in Calgary despite a recent report showing the market is showing more balance between sellers and buyers.

“The Calgary market still does favour buyers, but it really is on a track to a more balanced state,” says Eric Bond, housing and real estate economist with Canada Mortgage and Housing Agency (CMHC).

CMHC released its latest market assessment this month — based on data from the third quarter of 2019 — showing risks to the market were low.

This is a marked difference from 2018 when the market was considered high risk due to high inventory and low demand.

The recent report, however, showed little had changed from the previous assessment in this past November. It notes low risks for overheating, price acceleration and overvaluation. The one sore spot is overbuilding, which CMHC saw as a moderate risk, same as the November report.

Yet because conditions had improved in all categories, CMHC moved the overall assessment for the first quarter of 2020 to low risk from moderate risk from the fourth quarter of last year.

Realtor Tim Jones says the report accurately reflects improving conditions in the city.

“I feel we are out of the bottom of the market with sales volumes increasing and inventory decreasing,” says the broker/owner of Re/Max Prime in Calgary.

Still, he remains slightly wary after recent news the Teck Resources’ Frontier Mine — an oilsands development — had been shelved because the project was not economically viable.

Jones remains cautiously optimistic, particularly following recent announcement the federal mortgage stress test rules would loosen slightly, which would increase affordability for many buyers.

While Bond says it’s too early to determine what the changes’ impact will be, the health of Calgary’s economy remains the most critical piece of the puzzle.

To that end recent metrics for employment have improved. Unemployment fell to 7.1 per cent in the fall from 7.9 in April last year. And most recent Statistics Canada data points to the rate falling below seven per cent this year.

More people working means “a potentially larger pool of buyers,” Bond says.

And sales are rising on the resale side while inventory is falling. Together they are pushing the market into a more consistent balance between buyers and sellers. Bond notes the sales-to-new-listings ratio, for example, is now at about 55 per cent.

He adds the ratio has been in the 50 to 60 per cent range — considered a sign of balance — for about six months.

Despite improvement, the report notes prices continue to fall. Bond says this is partly a reflection of very strong activity in the low-priced segment. Rising sales for low-cost options have a dampening effect on average prices. As well, growing demand for affordability has led to falling inventories for condominiums —  typically less costly than single-detached homes. At the same time inventory for single-family detached resale homes has been rising, Bond notes.

Over-building in the new market also remains relatively high, meaning buyers are still seeing growing options even as the resale market tightens. Rising completions in the new market can lead sellers on the resale side to cut prices, he says.

Still, a more balanced market is a more predictable one. And that’s a good for everyone, Bond says.

“So sellers can expert to sell their home in a shorter time and, likewise, buyers can expect to still have a good number of choices.”

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