Steve Houle, left, and Karim Kennedy
Steve Houle, left, and Karim Kennedy

Edmonton brokerage owner Steve Houle and business partner Karim Kennedy have acquired the master franchise rights for the Coldwell Banker brand in Canada.

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Steve Houle has been with the network for four years as owner of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, operating 18 offices throughout Hawaii. Under his leadership, the company has grown to nearly 500 agents and increased its transaction volume by almost 500 per cent, the company says. Houle was born and raised in Edmonton.

Business partner Karim Kennedy is also from Edmonton and continues to reside in the city. He has a 25-year background in the financial sector working with major institutions such as The Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank. The company says he has a strong track record of assisting companies with execution of their growth plans, particularly through mergers and acquisitions, and he will take on the role of CEO of Coldwell Banker Canada.

Andy Puthon, the current president of the Coldwell Banker Canadian operations and his Canadian team remain with the company, based in the Burlington, Ont. national office.

“This ownership change marks a new day for the Coldwell Banker brand in the Canadian marketplace,” says Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “This 100-per-cent Canadian ownership structure will provide the organization both flexibility and autonomy, while continuing to be a part of a global network. Steve and Karim have demonstrated the leadership and entrepreneurial expertise to grow the renowned Coldwell Banker brand in Canada. The Canadian team is looking forward to working with Steve and Karim as they explore new opportunities.”

“As the owner of a successful Coldwell Banker franchise operation, I understand the value that the brand offers its affiliates,” says Houle. “As a proud Canadian, I also know the tremendous potential that is present in the Canadian real estate market, so I am very excited by the opportunities that the future holds.”

Kennedy says, “The affiliates now have the access to leverage this team’s deep insight and expertise to exceed their business goals. Combined with our collective strength across a viable Canadian real estate landscape, many advantageous opportunities abound to help affiliates take their businesses to greater heights.

“We additionally value their input and will be engaging with brokers across the country as we build our vision for the future for Coldwell Banker in Canada, and its affiliates from coast to coast and provide a compelling destination for prospective franchisees.”

The brand first came to Canada with its first international franchises in 1989 and achieved dramatic growth through a joint venture with Canada Trust in 1992.  The parent company of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, based in Madison, N.J., acquired ownership of Coldwell Banker Canada in May 2007. The Coldwell Banker Canada network has independently owned residential and commercial franchised offices across Canada from coast to coast and also in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services.

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