The Canadian real estate market continues to be attractive to foreign investors as a safe haven to raise their families and protect their financial investments.
“Clients understand that international demand for Canadian real estate has been rising for years, and that having both a local and global marketing strategy is imperative to attracting the most interest, and the best price for their properties,” says Don Kottick, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.
“The challenge for many agents and real estate firms is that international real estate marketing requires experience and a comprehensive marketing infrastructure. It is definitely not simply adding a ‘global marketing’ slogan to a listing presentation and hoping that clients don’t ask too many questions about what that entails,” he says.
Another factor in the growing interest for Canadian real estate on a global scale is many Canadian expatriates based in the U.S., Hong Kong and Asia, Mexico, Europe and elsewhere are returning home, where they see more security and stability.
“I think this has been building for quite some time. The interest in Canada as a result of global unrest, global financial insecurity, political instability. It’s been further highlighted by things that are happening in the U.S.,” says Kottick. “It goes back to things that are happening over in Asia. Weather-related events in Australia. Political unrest in Mexico. It just seems that every destination has been hit with some form of barriers to stability.”
He says that “Canada, for whatever reason, is kind of this bastion of stability and security and it only seems to be highlighted. I think it had its roots back to the 2008 economic collapse where Canadian banking, which was considered quite boring up until that time, became the darling of the world. That’s kind of where things really began.”
Affordability is also a key as Canada is relatively affordable compared to other countries.
For the real estate industry, global marketing now becomes an important part of efforts to sell residential listings.
“Sotheby’s is probably one of the few brands that really works its global affiliate network,” says Kottick, adding that it has more than 23,000 sales associates across offices in 71 countries.
“Just recently we’ve been holding a series of country seminars for our agents because we know that globalization and internationalization is definitely on a spotlight . . . On a regular basis, we have information sessions (and) networking sessions where our agents can learn about these countries. It gives us a chance to communicate and educate people on Canada.”
He says the company is working in Asia where it has “strategic alliances where we’re marketing some of our new developments but also some of our existing properties through their agents, because there are a lot of ex-pats over in Hong Kong – I think to the tune of 320,000 – that are seriously considering their options and I think the choice used to be Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. But recently I think the list has been narrowed down to the U.K. and Canada.”
Kottick says the company also prides itself on having international marketing tools and infrastructure to effectively communicate its property listings. That includes a leading YouTube channel in Canada for real estate. Social media is used aggressively to reach out to a wide audience.
“It took many years for the brand to establish preferred media partnerships around the world. Today, every home represented by Sotheby’s International Realty is not only showcased on sothebysrealty.com, which attracts over 118 million pageviews annually, it is also automatically distributed to more than 100 interconnected Sotheby’s International Realty local websites worldwide, as well as to a network of prestigious global media. This is marketing reach that cannot be developed or duplicated overnight.”
He says the network “includes names like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg (Property Listings). Some very, very powerful marketing partners for syndication of our properties. This all helps to add to the global cachet,” says Kottick.
The media outlets also include Financial Times Property Listings, as well as key international online real estate portals such as China’s Juwai, Asia’s Prop GO Luxury, Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review, Singapore’s Zao Bao, England’s iconic Country Life, Italy’s House24 and most recently Mexico’s Expansión.
Higher-end property listings also receive exposure on destination luxury websites such as LuxuryEstate.com, Robb Report, James Edition and Mansion Global.