Growing Global Connections in a Virtual World

In 2021, we experienced another year of adapting and growing globally within a virtual world. 

However, this did not stop us from supporting REALTORS® and real estate professionals from around the world to build their global business and connections through CREA Global.

Many real estate markets around the world seemed to have a similar theme—low supply and high demand resulting in record price increases. It seems consumers, no matter where they were located, were facing the “race for space” according to a report by Knight Frank.

Global markets

In late 2021, we released our latest global research: 2020 Profile of International Activity in Canadian Real Estate Survey, which provides valuable insights into the nature of international purchases and sales of Canadian property.

The survey indicated 25% of our members worked with an international client here at home and 19% of them closed a deal with an average price of $788,110. On the other side, less than 2% reported working with a Canadian client looking abroad, but yet the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported Canada as the top global buyer of U.S. residential real estate with more than $4.2 billion USD spent. Canadians accounted for 8% of all foreign sales, and they reported the average Canadian spent about $473,600 USD on a residential property. This suggests there are opportunities for our members in outbound activity.

Building (virtual) connections

In 2021, CREA’s Global Committee updated its global strategy. Between the current Global Committee Chair, Krystal Lee Moore and Past Chair, Pauline Aunger, CREA Global presented at more than a dozen industry events (virtually). We shared insights on Canadian markets and the real estat process in Canada along with how international professionals can become a Global Affiliate of CREA to better connect with Canadian REALTORS®.

This past year we also launched our first-ever virtual trade mission, the Great Canadian Road Trip.We partnered with provincial associations and local boards and external economic development groups to showcase Canada to the world. Each of the five-part events highlighted a province or territory and spoke to why global businesses and people are choosing Canada to call home.

Many of our members also took advantage of being at home by building their global REALTOR® toolkit.  Many logged on to our monthly CREA Global Affilaite webinars which provided them with opportunities to learn more about global business and to make international connections. 

Global education

We continued to host Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) courses virtually—in fact, we did such a great job of offering more than 15 courses virtually (and welcoming more than 40 new Canadian CIPS designees) that NAR honoured CREA with the CIPS Course Provider of the Year Award at the REALTOR® Conference & Expo!

Speaking of the Expo, it marked our first (and only) in-person event for 2021. We were joined in San Diego by approximately 200 Canadian REALTORS® many of whom volunteered at our booth as Canadian ambassadors. This conference also provided a forum for CREA’s Chair-Elect, Jill Oudil, to present to NAR’s Global Business and Alliance Committee Meeting on Canada. We also hosted the Canadian and Global Affiliate networking reception.

Memorendum of understanding

From a business relations standpoint, we continued to forge new relationships that help us achieve our global strategy of providing products and services to CREA members. We signed new memorendum of understandings (MOUs) in 2021 with U.S. Global Councils and our first international organizations; NAR-India. These relationships help us to build bridges for our members for global business. 

In 2022, we’ll continue our journey to grow business here at home and abroad for Canadian REALTORS® and to expand global knowledge and connections. 

In the end being a successful REALTOR® is not about where you are on the map, but the connections you have across it!

To learn more about the global efforts supported by CREA, Canadian REALTORS® can visit and interested international professionals can learn how to become an affiliate of CREA at  

Sharon von Schoenberg, Associate Director of Global and Commercial Programs, contributes to and implements CREA’s international strategy to increase global opportunities for REALTOR® members. Her initiatives include the Global Affiliate Program, building relationships with international associations and trade-related organizations, developing educational opportunities for members, and increasing the relevancy of for global visitors. Prior to joining CREA, Sharon was a Canadian residential appraiser and held marketing and client management positions in the private and non-profit sector. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa, is a certified association executive and a CIPS designee. As a mother of two teenagers, Sharon stays rooted by practicing yoga.

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