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.

Story continues below
Don Kottick
Don Kottick

“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, 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, Robb Report, James Edition and Mansion Global.


  1. In real estate, whether buying, selling, or investing, always the most important room in any house is the kitchen (confirmed by Mr. DeHoey); often the most expensive to renovate so needs special attention paid; closely attached to investigating electrical systems and HVAC. Kitchens and systems are very different one to another in any country.

    So working with immigrants or expats, this topic seriously needs to be addressed and cannot be taken for granted as locals sometimes do when buying, selling, or investing.

    One example North Americans sometimes find curious when travelling or moving abroad is that in London England in particular you mostly cannot shave or blow dry your hair in the bathroom, even in major hotels. It’s the rules (the law): no water opportunity near (hydro) electricity (even many Americans do not know or use the word hydro). So you have to find an electrical outlet in some other room; better travel with a sizeable mirror that can stand alone perhaps on a table, in your luggage so you can see what you’re doing (a magnifier one is ideal).

    And for sure before you leave home get an electrical converter first up on your shopping travel list; buy more than one and read carefully on the packaging instructions to which country it applies.
    Converters are country-specific.
    When working with relocating clients from Australia, Spain and other countries I always kept a few of our local converters on hand in case they were needed. Hotels often run out of converters. Clients were most appreciative.

    We are indeed working with clients from all over the world as well as returning expats. Corporate relocations are not as they were years ago. Many are travelling at their own expense.

    As noted in my précis comment (scroll down; there’s no comment number assigned yet) at:

    Noted in Expat MS précis:

    Google says:
    “The Canadian diaspora is the group of Canadians living outside the borders of Canada. As of a 2010 report by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and The Canadian Expat Association, there were 2.8 million Canadian citizens abroad (plus an unknown number of former citizens and descendants of citizens).”

    Carolyne L ?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here