SPECIAL FEATURE  

As the real estate landscape changes, key players constantly evolve

BC Development

Michael Hungerford, partner at Hungerford Properties, is particularly excited about the upcoming Vancouver Real Estate Forum, to be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre West on April 4—and not just because he is the event’s chair and moderator of the closing panel.

He says: “For this year’s forum, our lineup of speakers is the best we’ve ever had, and the issues we’ll be discussing are pressing issues—namely, housing affordability, the difficulty in getting development approvals, and tight labour markets. This puts our industry in a far more challenging spot than where it was just a few years ago.”

Michael Hungerford

But don’t expect gloom and doom on April 4. “Instead, we take the view that for every challenge there is an opportunity,” says Hungerford. “For example, we strongly believe the private sector has the will and wherewithal to solve the affordability problem, and by working with government we can figure out the regulatory framework in which companies can operate to achieve this end.”

Hungerford adds: “Delegates to the forum will hear the word collaboration a lot because at the end of the day, taking a collaborative approach is the only way to come up with effective solutions. And since our economy is so strong, and B.C. is such a desirable place to live, we’re confident that feasible strategies can be reached.”

Participants at the 2019 Vancouver Real Estate Forum include Altus Group, Colliers International, CoStar, and many other major players from the real estate and financial sectors. Topics range from foreign capital flow trends to the future of industrial real estate in Vancouver—in addition to housing affordability.

 “The time has come to seize the opportunities arising from our changing industry, and I think people attending this year’s forum will come away with lots of great ideas on how to move forward successfully.” 

Expertise in management

Rod Fram, president of Transpacific Realty Advisors, has noticed a unique shift that is occurring in the commercial property management sector. “Many knowledgeable clients are either preferring to focus on other things and turning to us to manage commercial properties, or they’re reaching retirement age and discovering that their family and colleagues don’t want to take over—and they are asking us for help.”

The fact that these clients are approaching Transpacific is heartening to Fram, who notes that many management firms are either too big to give a property the personalized strategies it needs to grow in value, or they’re too small to have the comprehensive accounting and operational systems in place that ensure a property is maintained efficiently. 

“We are solely focused on commercial management, as opposed to so many companies that capture some commercial business even though their true expertise is strata,” says Fram. “This is a disadvantage to the unsuspecting commercial clients who engage these companies because strata specialists, for example, don’t insure tenant improvements and rent as we do, nor do they review each and every property tax increase or file appeals if they’re deemed unreasonable—like we do.”

The clients who seek Transpacific’s services also appreciate that commercial property managers are adept at answering questions, while those versed in strata tend to lob questions back to strata councils. Fram, who purchased Transpacific in 2008 and has been busy rebranding the 47-year-old firm, says: “In my experience, we’re almost business people first, and managers second.”

Transpacific’s experienced team has deliberately targeted investors who don’t have the time, systems, skills or interest in managing the day-to-day business of a residential rental or commercial property. They are able to put the right systems and strategies in place for each class of asset, thus offering large-firm expertise along with personalized attention and service.