Peerage and its partner companies grew exponentially in 2021 – both organically and through acquisition. Over the past year, Peerage found new partners in nine businesses across the North American residential real estate sector. Most are well-established brokerage firms with strong brands and equally strong reputations for offering a luxury experience and trusted advice to clients (something that is all the more important as tight supply and strong demand are driving home prices ever higher.) Others are in the business of multi-unit rental renovation and the alternative home financing space. We have added a couple of start-ups to the mix this year. And the companies that were already our partners – from real estate to storage to wealth management – turned in transformational results in 2021.
Here is an overview of where we stand as this remarkable year draws to a close:
Baker Real Estate | Toronto, Montreal 🇨🇦
In the booming Toronto pre-construction condominium market, Baker continued to take the highest market share of pre-construction sales amongst its competitors. It posted the second-best year of unit sales in its 27-year history and the best year to date in revenue. That activity was bolstered by the addition of several new team members all of whom have deep experience working with developers on project pre-marketing.
This past year, Baker launched Baker Insights Group (B.I.G.) to produce bespoke research-based reports for developers, leveraging the knowledge of industry veteran, Ben Myers. The Baker executive team was also involved in the launch of BakerWest, a Vancouver-based condo marketing firm that broadens the company’s national footprint, which includes a well-established business in Montreal as well.
CEO Barbara Lawlor recently shared her outlook for 2022 with industry media:
BakerWest | Vancouver 🇨🇦
Launched in January 2021, BakerWest roared into the Vancouver market. The firm has listed over $1 billion in property, including the marketing mandate from Groupe Brivia. The Montreal-based developer is constructing the largest passive energy building in the world, slated to launch in 2022. Designed by renowned architect, Tom Wright, it will have 60 floors, 350 market units and 120 affordable housing units.
As an engaged member of the Vancouver community, BakerWest was a lead sponsor in the November fundraising Social Diversity for Children gala. Around the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival in February 2022, BakerWest hopes to hold an event for the top realtors and brokers in the city, highlighting its projects.
BakerWest President, Jacky Chan, has quickly established himself as an authoritative media commentator on the urban and social issues shaping the Greater Vancouver Area market:
The Byng Group | Toronto 🇨🇦
The addition of Byng to Peerage Realty Partners in April 2021 was very much a family affair: The family of CEO Frank Settino founded and continues to lead the company. It specializes in “turning over” and renovating rental units for new tenants in multi-family residential buildings across Ontario.
Fueled by a brand refresh that includes a new logo and website design, Byng continued to build its client base organically. With a view to deepening its client relationships, Byng developed a new app called Amplify. It harnesses Byng’s current enterprise resource planning platform and further enhances workflow efficiencies from order entry, scheduling, work in progress management and billing allowing us to complete unit renovations faster and reduce expensive downtime.
It also engaged FirePower Capital to assist in the search of acquisition targets to accelerate its North American growth, allowing it to become a single-source supplier to its many multinational clients. Byng is currently in the due diligence process with three potential acquisition targets.
To support Byng’s strong growth and its push into new markets, the company added to its roster of experienced executives. Dharmesh Morjaria joined in the role of Vice-President of finance, and Urs Stockmann took on the newly created position of Vice-President, growth, and business integration. Sherry Lloyd and Logan Marshall were respectively promoted to Vice-President of business operations and Vice-President of IT operations and software development.
Chestnut Park | Toronto, Muskoka, Prince Edward County, Haliburton, Uxbridge 🇨🇦
Agents: 421 | Offices: 6
The strong demand for homes and recreational properties continued through 2021 with Chestnut Park posting annualized growth of around 20 per cent. To provide a luxury experience to clients in fast-growing communities beyond Toronto, it further expanded its presence with offices in Kingston, Grey/Bruce counties, Baysville, Lake of Bays and Uxbridge.
The fast pace of market growth sparked the recruitment of new talent (20 per cent of Chestnut Park’s agents joined in 2021), investment in digital marketing platforms, and the hiring of a new Chief Operating Officer, Nicolle Scavuzzo. She joins the firm with deep experience in the marketing sector, including a role as global vice-president, recognition, and insights at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing | Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria 🇨🇦
At the outset of 2021 the goal for Peerage Realty’s western Canadian project marketing firms was to generate over 1,500 new multifamily sales. That target was exceeded by more than 25 per cent resulting in a projected annual absorption target of 2,250 units for 2022.
Fifth Avenue, a dominant market player in Metro Vancouver’s pre-construction condominium market, took the lead by generating a record number of sales (1,200+) worth $750 million. It has booked about $700 million in future new development sales.
That success was underpinned by its launch of shared services team – a group of specialists providing accounting, completions, compliance, conveyance, human resources, legal, people development, and technology services. This collaborative group also supports:
- The Condo Group, a Vancouver Island realtor specializing in condominium sales on Vancouver Island. In partnering with Peerage Realty, it is now poised for 100 percent growth in unit sales in 2022 (250+).
- Epic Real Estate Solutions Inc., a well-established firm based in Kelowna, which was acquired early in 2021. It has generated strong sales results over 2021 including five successful launches representing $250,000,000+ in sales and resulting in a payback of Peerage’s investment in less than one year.
Fifth Avenue also advanced it Social Purpose Initiatives under the banner “Bringing People Home”. All of this market momentum was captured in a recent media profile:
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada | Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver 🇨🇦
Agents: 700 | Offices: 32+
2021 was another banner year for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada (SIRC). It posted record sales of luxury residential properties reaching a sales volume of $9 billion, the highest level in its history. This result positioned the company as the top international affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty outside the U.S.
Over the course of the year, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada expanded its reach to include over 33 offices in key markets across Canada. Of special note, it added offices in Toronto’s iconic Yorkville and Kingsway neighbourhoods, as well as a new Port Carling office. It also acquired Enjoy Muskoka, reinforcing its presence in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge.
The company launched several new agent technology tools on its proprietary marketing and client service platform, Gateway. It enhanced the agent/broker Agent ID/Team ID profiles on sothebysrealty.ca and also rolled out Sotheby’s ActivePipe email marketing.
SIRC deepened its talent pool in 2021, adding David Reid as Regional Manager of Central Northern Ontario; Ken Mazurek, Managing Broker in Toronto; and Norb Park and Kim Stubbs, Associate Brokers in Calgary. Johanne Turenne was promoted as lead of administrative services for Quebec.
In a robust market, CEO Don Kottick continued to offer national context and commentary to media:
StreetCity | London, Ontario 🇨🇦
Agents: 240 | Offices: 4 (plus 7 satellite and virtual branches)
StreetCity has benefited from the ongoing trend for people to move to smaller cities around Ontario. This is a function of the extreme shortage of housing supply, which has driven the cost of homeownership steadily skyward over 2021. The ongoing ability to work from home has also contributed to re-location and the transformation of communities once deemed “secondary markets.”
In 2021, StreetCity opened a new office in Stratford, Ontario and finalized its arrangements to open a new hub in Toronto. The hub will support the company’s expanded processing department which is used by larger brokerage firms to process their back office administrative functions.
In the year ahead, StreetCity is looking at opportunities for its processing team to further expand among the community of independent residential real estate brokerages.
StreetCity’s local philanthropy, Kindess Above Everything (KAE) continued to great work in the London Community. Read more about it – and StreetCity’s market commentary:
Ourboro | Toronto 🇨🇦
Everyone at Ourboro and Peerage Realty Partners was deeply saddened by the sudden death of co-founder, Norm Tasevski, on December 8. Ourboro may be a business, but for Norm it was a personal passion. He was deeply committed to the company’s social purpose: helping more Canadians to become homeowners by contributing to the initial down payment and, in return, co-owning the home with them. While Norm will be greatly missed, in 2022 the Ourboro team is committed to transform his vision and values into a reality.
Ourboro launched in May 2021 and quickly forged partnerships with 8Twelve Mortgage Corp. and lender, Equitable Bank. A key strategic piece of the market rollout is Ourboro Search, a proprietary in-house MLS search platform that is customized to its investment mandate.
Vaultra Storage | Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia 🇨🇦
Vaultra Storage has continued its strong organic and acquisition-based growth over 2021. It now owns 11 storage facilities, manages 16 more across Ontario, Alberta, and BC, and has another 14 in various stages of planning, development, or construction. While it has 1.6 million square feet under management currently, once the new projects are completed, it will have in excess of three million square feet under management. That will make it the dominant storage partner in the Canadian market.
In 2021, Vaultra completed construction at its Pugsley Court, Ajax facility and opened it in July. It broke ground on Lenworth Drive in Mississauga, with that facility expected to be complete in January 2022. Contractors have mobilized on site at 30 Heritage Dr. and commenced expansion of the Orangeville facility with completion expected in the spring of 2022. Acquisitions in 2021 included the infill development land 3484 Dundas St West, an additional 20 percent ownership in its Port Perry property, and in its existing Hamilton facility of The Hold Self Storage.
Vaultra also launched the Vaultra Door-to-Door service in 2021. As part of that broader strategy, it acquired CityBoxes bin rental and launched a newly designed website and customized online ordering platform for online rentals and door-to door rentals. Using three-dimensional models, clients can walk through new facilities and select their units.
Castlefield | Ajax
Vaultra in the media:
Briggs Freeman | Dallas, Fort Worth 🇺🇸
Agents: 385 | Offices: 6
Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty posted record results in 2021, as strong demand and limited inventory drove prices across Texas to historic highs. The average house price was US$933,000, a 20 per cent increase over the same time a year ago.
As of the end of October, this trend contributed to sales volume of US$2.46 billion for Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. That’s a 29 per cent increase over US$1.9 billion in 2020 and almost 40 per cent higher than US$1.77 billion in 2019. For 2022, the outlook is for a static market in the first half, followed by renewed bullishness in the second half as revenue diversification and growth tactics gain traction.
In light of the sustained inflow of new residents to Texas (especially from California), the firm fine-tuned resources that capitalize on the opportunities related to clients who are re-locating. In addition to enhancing its public profile across multiple platforms, in 2021 it launched two Inside Texas relocation guides — one for Dallas and one for Fort Worth.
To ensure that agents have all the tools for success, the firm focused on both agent training and the development of marketing initiatives including a proprietary executive performance dashboard that consolidates data from multiple sources and provides real time data to understand key indicators. Briggs Freeman partnered with both Sotheby’s International Realty’s Learning Team and preferred vendors to provide exclusive training for agents throughout the year.
Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty | Oregon and Southwest Washington 🇺🇸
Agents: 400 | Offices: 23
Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty became a Peerage Realty partner in early December 2021. Over the course of the year, it generated US$3 billion in sales volume (a new company record) and was named as the fastest growing brokerage and third-fastest growing company in all of Portland, Oregon.
Cascade SIR added 87 experienced brokers to its roster over the year. That bolstered its expansion into the emerging Southern Oregon market, where it opened a prime office location in Ashland. Collectively, the Cascade SIR team donated over $100,000 and volunteered hundreds of hours supporting the communities where they work and live.
Fun fact: Cascade SIR listed the most expensive residential property in Oregon at US$65 million. Take a peak here:
CENTURY 21 New Millennium | Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC 🇺🇸
Agents: 900 | Offices: 22
In 2021, CENTURY 21 New Millennium was projected to generate US$3.5 billion in real estate and related services. It achieved significant growth in commission income – and added over 100 new agents – through the use of a new recruiting CRM, leverage of an education program, and a trifecta of tech-based marketing tools.
The CRM attracted 78 seasoned recruits who closed more than US$150 million in incremental sales volume. Another 100 agents, new to the business, were recruited through a national online education firm and a focus on transitioning military members. The recruiting push is expected to gain further momentum in 2022.
The top three tools deployed by the firm are: ActivePipe (generated 150,000 incremental website visits); RealScout (accounted for nearly 100,000 monthly client interactions); Cloud CMA (over 18,000 automated comparative market analyses were delivered to clients resulting in over 85,000 annual touchpoints).
Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty | New Hampshire, Vermont, Upstate New York 🇺🇸
Agents: 300 | Offices: 23
2021 was a year of change and continued growth for Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty. Just months after it joined Peerage Realty Partners in July, Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty partnered with Select Sotheby’s International Realty and Gary DiMauro Real Estate. This transaction transformed it into the pre-eminent real estate brokerage in Vermont, New Hampshire, Upstate New York, and the mid-Hudson Valley.
FSSIR now boasts over 300 agents in 23 offices and a combined total sales volume of over US$2 billion. Its legacy business in Vermont and New Hampshire continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and it is on track to exceed US$1.5 billion in sales in 2021. That represents a doubled growth rate in two years.
Supporting these changes over the year was a new leadership team headed by Alan DiStasio as CEO and Laurie Mecier Brochu as President. Tom Heney and Alex Girelli joined them as new partners and executive team members. With the addition of Select Sotheby’s International Realty and Gary DiMauro Real Estate, Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty welcomed Lou Izzo, Dan Collins, Gary DiMauro, and Andrea Demoracski.
A large number of out-of-staters continued to move into Vermont and New Hampshire through 2021, drawn by a lifestyle that includes great outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, water activities on numerous lakes, and of course, the best skiing on the East Coast!
Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty | Chicago 🇺🇸
Agents: 467 | Offices: 6
Across all Chicagoland markets, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty posted results well ahead of forecast for 2021. The Lincoln Park and Gold Coast offices saw production up almost 50 per cent, the second highest in the city market. These city offices are number one in average sales price and highest production compared with competitors. Jameson SIR is number one in listings sold over US$2 million as well. The suburban offices grew in production and profitability, in part because a number of new agents joined the firm.
Three new developments were launched, including phase one of Mycroft Row which was sold out. Pre-sales of phase two have already launched. Other developments were sold out or over 50 per cent sold by the end of the year.
On the commercial side of Jameson SIR’s business, Dani Davenport, Mark Niedelson, and Matt Neistat joined the team. A commercial branding focus group convened to refresh the decision’s market assets.
Madison & Company | Denver 🇺🇸
Agents: 200 | Offices: 7
In 2021, Madison expanded its presence in Colorado by opening its seventh location in Estes Park. In addition to expanding its footprint in Colorado and growing as a firm, one of the most noteworthy developments of the year was REMAX Urban Properties’ office joining Madison, bringing in a total of 18 new agents.
Madison’s Foothills market has been especially strong over the year, largely because of the greater flexibility of working from home. Along with a decline in the number of people commuting to out-of-state jobs, the option of working from home has sparked interest in moving outside Denver to gain more space to accommodate it. Greater work flexibility has also translated into a strong short-term rental market, as those who want to re-locate to Denver – even temporarily – can more easily do so.
Looking ahead, Madison plans to continue growing the core brokerage business and presence in Denver and the broader surrounding areas. In 2022, Madison ‘s goal is to make inroads in areas such as Colorado Springs, Vail, and Winter Park. Another opportunity for growth is title and mortgage joint ventures, with a key focus on the capture rate required to support sustainable relationships.
The momentum generated by “proptech” in 2021 will continue as Madison pushes to invest further in empowering its agents to grow their business and better serve their clients. The launch of a new website and industry-leading “tech stack” was carefully curated to help Madison agents focus on the high-dollar tasks, creating more efficiency and productivity, while leaving the small-dollar tasks to the tech platforms – which includes the best-in-class real estate CRMs, automated email marketing platform, Madison Design Suite, and RealScout.
Echelon Wealth Partners 🇨🇦
Echelon achieved a number of major milestones in 2021. These include:
- Fastest growing wealth firm in Canada in 2021
- Fastest growing capital markets firm in Canada 2021
- Record Employee Trust Index results (Great Place to Work®) in 2021
- Record Client ACHIEVE (Satisfaction Survey) results in 2021
- Bank growth facility in 2021 significantly lowering cost of capital
- Record financial results (Client Assets/Revenue/EBITDA) in 2021
- Record employee equity buying in 2021
On the wealth side of its business, Echelon’s assets under management grew by 30 percent (compared with the industry average of 20 percent), driving a 34 percent increase fee and commission revenue. It had both the highest growth in Assets Under Management and revenue growth in the industry (per McKinsey & Company), as well as the highest client satisfaction scores yet to be achieved.
Echelon has also consolidated its position as Canada’s pre-eminent full-service mid-market capital markets firm. Over the year, it launched new sector coverage in the energy and energy transition industries with equity research and banking leads, and lead/co-lead 41 equity transactions that represented total raised capital of $1.2 billion.
Echelon was advisor in 12 announced or closed mergers and acquisitions, representing an aggregate transaction value of $4.8 billion, including buy-side / sell-side advisor in eight transactions representing an aggregate transaction value of $1.2 billion. It’s completion of six debt advisory mandates resulted in the arrangement of $540-million of institutional debt for clients.
ARS | New York City 🇺🇸
ARS delivered a strong year in 2021 as it expanded its assets under management by over 25 per cent. Both top and bottom lines grew organically as the investment team delivered strong performance across the range of investment strategies. To further strengthen its investment, client service and compliance teams, ARS hired four new associates.
Looking ahead to 2022, ARS remains bullish on the prospects for U.S. economic growth based on the current level of innovation, entrepreneurialism, and pro-growth government initiatives. It is particularly focused on the post-pandemic outlook for companies that are experiencing price inelasticity of demand for their products.