A recent study on women in the commercial real estate industry has revealed a significant gender imbalance in the sector, in fields from investment to construction. The 2019 study, conducted by the U.S.-based Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW), shows that 15 per cent of the top management positions were held by women.
To mark International Women’s Day next Monday, March 8, we spoke to five Canadian women in the industry about their challenges, successes and what they dream of for the future.
Ouri Scott, Principal, Urban Arts Architecture Inc., Vancouver
Her background: Ouri Scott works with Indigenous communities across British Columbia, designing community buildings, health centres, cultural buildings, higher-education spaces and multifamily housing. Ms. Scott is Tlicho Dene and grew up in the Dehcho region and in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. She earned a master of architecture at the University of British Columbia and worked at architecture firms in Vancouver.
An internship at UNESCO, researching traditional knowledge, contributed to her focus working on designs that made sense for Indigenous communities and culture, such as houses with storage space for gear for going out on the land or processing food, or meeting spaces for traditional celebrations or ceremonies.
Challenges for women: After graduating, Ms. Scott worked at a large architecture firm run predominantly by white men. Despite the desire to support women, in reality young white men were given more opportunities there, she says. As a result, Ms. Scott almost ran out of time to get the hours she needed to be registered as an architect.
Many women leave the industry when they have children, Ms. Scott notes. While on maternity leave, she tried to stay connected to the office so as not to fall behind. She also made an effort in workplaces not to be seen as a mother, as she had seen that women who were identified as mothers have less opportunities.
Advice for other women: Accept that you can’t do it all and do not feel guilty about that, Ms. Scott suggests. Lean on friends and families for support.
A dream for the future: “We say we value children and work-life balance, but we don’t model it as an industry,” she says. “Making that be real, we would all be healthier and happier.”
Karen Walker, Senior Director, Tenant Experience, Hullmark Developments Ltd., Toronto
Her background: Karen Walker started out as an executive assistant at a real estate development company in Mississauga more than a decade ago. When the company was looking for someone to manage a property, she figured, “Let me try this out.” That experience gave her the skills to work for a company that managed properties for Hullmark. Eventually, the company asked Ms. Walker to start an internal department, which now manages about 30 properties with about 115 tenants.
Challenges for women: “In property management, things have come a long way for women,” she says. There are still times, however, when people in trades or construction do not expect her to have solid knowledge of building components, or they gloss over important details.
When it comes to executive roles, cultural diversity is even more of an issue in commercial real estate, she says. “It is a very white, male-dominated industry,” though the past several months has moved diversity, equity and inclusion efforts (DEI) further ahead, she adds.
Advice for other women: “Your network is everything. Every job I have ever gotten has been by being introduced,” she says. Put yourself outside of your comfort zone, she adds, and volunteer to do jobs outside of your description. “Expand your duties and gain as much knowledge and experience as you can.”
A dream for the future: Ms. Walker would like to see more DEI in the industry, so eventually “it doesn’t matter whether you are Black, white, male, female, or whatever culture you are from.”
Anna Murray, Managing director, global head of ESG, BentallGreenOak, Vancouver
Her background: Originally from Ontario, Anna Murray moved to Alberta, working in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) in the oil and gas and mining sectors.
She had spent time at the United Nations Global Compact – an initiative to encourage businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies – and has a master of business administration and a law degree.
Because buildings contribute so much to global greenhouse gas emissions, Ms. Murray brought her focus on ESG to real estate firm BentallGreenOak five years ago. She works with global investment management teams, asset managers, real estate services teams and property teams, assessing such ESG issues as the environmental and social impact of investments.
Challenges for women: It can be hard for women to know whether a company is serious about diversity in leadership, Ms. Murray says. “Women and minorities have to navigate firms past what their mission statement says to fully understanding what practices are in play.”
The other challenge for women is work-life balance, she adds. Ms. Murray at one point was raising three girls, working full-time and finishing a law degree, as well as founding a not-for-profit.
Advice for other women: “Look up to look far” is one of Ms. Murray’s suggestions, meaning that women should research a potential employer’s diversity of leadership, or efforts to diversify.
“Carry as you climb” is another, meaning draw strength from collective, not just individual, successes.
A dream for the future: One of Ms. Murray’s dreams is that ESG becomes a required component in all investment criteria on a global scale, creating a more sustainable future for all.
Another is for equal representation and pay and that women should be equally supported in upper ranks as are men.
Lara Murphy, Co-founder, Ryan Murphy Construction Inc., Calgary
Her background: Growing up in Saint John, Lara Murphy “became the neighbourhood kid who did odd jobs.”
She always had her own business, she says, knocking on doors and doing maintenance, then running construction businesses throughout her undergraduate schooling.
She came to Calgary in 2005 and started her own firm. During a commercial project she met Karen Ryan and in 2008 they founded Ryan Murphy Construction. Two weeks after that, the financial markets collapsed.
The company did what was necessary to survive, doing maintenance contracts, tiling washrooms and the like, and built up a successful commercial construction company.
The firm, with revenue just under $10-million, is 70 per cent female and 33 per cent LGBTQ, and is working on other aspects of diversity.
Challenges for women: Ms. Murphy and Ms. Ryan still sometimes feel like outsiders to the network of established players who often win the bids. “It is unusual for a commercial real estate construction firm to be run by women,” she says.
Advice for other women: Find people who will elevate you, she suggests, adding that it is important to be willing to fail, push your comfort level and try new things.
A dream for the future: Ms. Murphy looks forward to a day when “we wouldn’t have to have an article focused on women doing what we are doing. I want it to be just the norm.”
Joanne Chua, Investment Manager, Grosvenor Americas, Vancouver
Her background: Joanne Chua joined Grosvenor Americas, a subsidiary of Grosvenor Group, as an executive assistant to the company’s chief investment officer and a senior vice-president of investment in Vancouver in 2012.
“I was brand new to commercial real estate,” she says, but the property investment and development company encouraged her to follow her interests. So, she tried her hand at asset management.
She learned on the job and became an investment manager, growing her portfolio.
Challenges for women: “As an industry overall, there are still some areas where men dominate,” she says, adding she was lucky to be insulated from that where she works.
Ms. Chua currently sits on the board of Commercial Real Estate Women Vancouver as director of education and outreach, working to build the pipeline of women entering the industry.
Advice for other women: “Get out there and really build your connections,” she says, adding that a strong support network helps women learn the industry and get exposure to the opportunities available to them.
A dream for the future: “I really hope our industry globally can reflect the communities we serve,” she says. “I hope all builders take the approach … to make sure cities are reflective of the people there and are able to support those people.”
Black Press Media introduces one of Western Canada's best real estate platforms helping home buyers Find. Love. Live. that new home – Aldergrove Star
Need an agent who knows the community?
Or, is it time to look for a new place to live, but you don’t know what’s on the market?
Whatever the real estate need is for residents in the communities of British Columbia, Yukon & Alberta, there’s a new way to do that one-stop shopping – by visiting Today’s Home.
The slogan for the site is “Find. Love. Live.”
“We want people to find their dream home, love it, and live in it,” said group publisher Lisa Farquharson.
Building on the success of Black Press Media’s niche digital platforms – Today’s Home brings the same wealth of knowledge and local expertise to the search for a home, be it buying, selling, or even just daydreaming about what changes you can make in the future.
Search hundreds of listings that local real estate agents have available.
The listings cover properties around the region, from a one-bedroom, one-bath condo for $339,900 to million-dollar acreages throughout the province of BC, Yukon, Central Alberta and beyond.
Click on a listing, and see not only the realtor handling the property sale, but links to his or her other listings and social media feeds. With the click of a mouse, take a virtual tour of the property, find the property’s walking score, and learn about nearby amenities.
There are links available to schedule a showing, or send the agent a comment or question.
Want to share a listing? When you click on the share button, you’ll actually send an attractive digital flyer of the prospective property, not just a link.
There’s even a button to help determine how much you have to spend, courtesy of the convenient mortgage calculator.
Plus, scroll down the page on Today’s Home and find a list of expert local real estate professionals who can answer questions or help with that home sale, Farquharson explained.
Today’s Home offers the advantage of the massive reach that Black Press Media has built throughout Western Canada with its network of community newspapers and online products. That allows the public to tailor real estate searches based on location, price, and other key factors while allowing real estate professionals to gain unprecedented audience reach with their listings.
Today’s Home will dovetail into the media company’s existing print real estate publications.
“Black Press Media has real estate solutions in print and now we can add in the digital component,” Farquharson said.
Watch for expansion of the Today’s Home platform in the near future, she added. That will come as Black Press Media adds a new component – the development community. Developers will be able to reach a huge audience when their projects are ready for presentation.
For information on Today’s Home, contact group publisher Lisa Farquharson at 604-994-1020 or via email.
Happy house hunting!
PGIM Real Estate, Revera Affiliate Target UK Market in Newly Formed JV
PGIM Real Estate has been active in recent months providing capital to facilitate blockbuster senior housing acquisitions. Now the firm is looking to capitalize on demand for senior housing in the United Kingdom.
The Madison, New Jersey-based real estate investor and lender announced this week it is entering into a joint venture with Signature Senior Lifestyle, an affiliate of Revera, to develop and operate senior housing communities around greater London
Mississauga, Ontario-based Revera serves 20,000 older adults in long-term care homes and retirement residences in Canada. It is also the majority shareholder of Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest senior housing providers in the U.S. The company operates a portfolio of 12 communities in the U.K. under the Signature Senior Lifestyle brand, with one community in development that is slated to open in autumn 2021.
The JV has one development underway — a senior housing community, or “prime care” home, in southwest London. PGIM worked with Elevation Partners, a London-based investor and asset manager in U.K. health care real estate, in sourcing, structuring and executing the venture. Additionally, PGIM will retain the firm to leverage its expertise.
PGIM and Revera did not respond to requests for comment from Senior Housing News regarding details about its development pipeline.
London is emerging as a future hotbed of senior housing development, spurred by favorable demographic growth trends and a lack of available supply, and the PGIM-Revera venture will find competition.
Maplewood Senior Living CEO Gregory Smith told SHN last month that demand for U.K. senior housing is comparable to major U.S. markets such as New York and San Francisco, where supply has historically been constrained.
Maplewood and its investment partner, Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI) are looking to expand its luxury Inspir brand to the U.K., and identified five suburban markets around London with high barriers to entry that are favorable for the brand’s growth.
Revera CEO Tom Wellner sees similar untapped upside potential for senior housing in the U.K.
Source: – Senior Housing News
Where in Canada are house prices increasing the most? Maybe not where you think – CTV News
Canada saw a surge in housing prices over the past year due to COVID-19, a market trend experts say is caused by people working from home more often and moving to rural and suburban areas.
Data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) shows that when comparing the average market prices from February 2020 to February 2021, Canada had a 25 per cent year-over-year increase. The average price rose from $542,484 to $678,091.
“One factor is that with work-from-home even more generalized, many people don’t have to live within commuting distance from their jobs,” Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, told CTVNews.ca. “That means that folks who own condos and smaller homes can take out built-up equity and move to a property that better meets their needs – as over the past year, home is not only where you eat a few meals and sleep, but also the office, your kids’ school, playground, gym, etc.”
The largest year-over-year percentage changes came from the Northwest Territories (48.1%), Nova Scotia (30.4%), Ontario (24.5%), Quebec (22.5%), and New Brunswick (20.9%).
Cathcart noted that the higher percentage change in Northwest Territories is likely due to the fact that in both February 2020 and February 2021, six homes were sold throughout the entire territory and the ones that were sold in 2021 were marked at a higher price.
When looking at the provinces and territories that had the largest upsurge in terms of price difference, Ontario sits at the top of the list with an increase of over $170,000. Northwest Territories came next, followed by British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.
The data also shows that prices in suburban and rural areas were impacted the most and saw the biggest changes, with regions like Rideau-St. Lawrence and Sarnia-Lambton in Ontario averaging about a 50 per cent increase from the previous year.
“With people no longer having to live within commuting distance to their jobs, as long as suburban and rural areas have decent internet, they become even more attractive to families looking for more space,” said Cathcart.
Find your region and the year-over-year price and percentage change below.
Cathcart says that Canadians can expect to see sales and prices increase this year, but forecasts sales to slow down in 2022 while prices remain high.
Black Press Media introduces one of Western Canada's best real estate platforms helping home buyers Find. Love. Live. that new home – Aldergrove Star
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday – CBC.ca
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