Are you benefiting from Canada’s growing international market?

Each month, CREA will invite an industry expert outside of CREA to contribute to CREA Café under the “Open Mic” banner. Our second guest blogger is Thijs Stoffer, CEO of ICREA.

Canada’s a good place to be a REALTOR® doing international transactions. The market has a lot going for it—both in terms of foreign investors coming into the market as well as retiring baby boomers and wealthy Canadians looking for a second home in warmer climes.

A Knight Frank report, recently featured in The Globe and Mail, projects a 50 per cent increase in the number of people worldwide in 10 years with more than US$30 million in net assets—many from emerging markets. This growth translates to increased demand for high-end property. For Canada’s luxury market that means a long-term jump in prices for high-end real estate as Canadians and foreign investors seek new destinations for international wealth. The increase in high-wealth Canadians is estimated at 35 per cent (roughly 6,650). These individuals will also be looking to put that money somewhere and investing at home will be an attractive option.

This same group of Canadians, along with unprecedented numbers of retiring baby boomers, will also look at property outside of Canada. A strong Canadian dollar and falling property prices in foreign markets (including US resort destinations), has put a second home within reach of many Canadians.

In 2010, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada found 2.8 million Canadians living abroad. While the US remains the top destination, other markets have emerged as home to large Canadian expat communities, notably Hong Kong, UK, Lebanon, and Australia.

So how does a REALTOR® go about tapping into this growing business?

Fortunately, CREA is a member of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA), which provides you with a global network and tools to help develop an international strategy using, where consumers and professionals can search for agents and properties in 19 languages. Here are a few WorldProperties resources to help you get a piece of the growing global marketplace:

  1. Take a look at your profile at Yes, as a CREA member, you have a basic online profile. To enhance your profile to include more information about your business and to improve your position in the search results, start by registering at the site (it’s free).
  2. Get certified in cross-border transactions with ICREA’s Transnational Referral Certified (TRC) online training program. In Canada, only CREA members can be certified and take advantage of the free referral system. There are hundreds of TRCs in the US and Mexico—important outbound destinations for Canadian buyers. Learn more.
  3. Use to locate professionals worldwide to assist Canadian buyers looking abroad. Search by location, specialty and credentials to locate an ICREA-agent who abides by a code of ethics similar to CREA’s. Search now.
  4. Understand the market and industry practices of your prospective foreign client before promoting your services. View country market information.
  5. Receive a free bi-weekly global property eNewsletter and stay abreast of global property market news. Subscribe here. | Facebook users subscribe here.

Have you already taken advantage of and grown your bottom line? Leave us a comment about your experience.

Thijs Stoffer is the Chief Executive Officer and an ex-officio Board member of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA). Before joining ICREA, he was a managing director and owner of a consultancy firm in Europe. He has worked on international technology, eCommerce, and web-based projects in the real estate industry, telecommunications, and other sectors. For several years, Thijs managed the strategic communications, international business relations, and activities of the NVM, the Dutch professional real estate association.

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