Winnipeg businesses and Winnipeggers should be embarrassed by yesterday's article in the Free Press about our local real estate investment market. The story shed light on the poor job done to date on educating national markets on the opportunities in Winnipeg.
MMPI Canada, a tradeshow/seminar management company, have committed to holding a one-day real estate investment forum next April, the first since the company was established in 1992. If you go to their website, you'll see portfolios for many of the major cities in Canada, except Winnipeg or anywhere in Saskatchewan. I'm sure no one will find it hard to believe this company is headquartered out of Toronto, the centre of the world. These seminars are for the purpose of attracting real estate brokers, investors, lenders and property owners from around the country; so why has it taken 18 years to finally get their attention? Haven't we been Selling Winnipeg to the World for some time now?
What I found striking in the article was the comment by Ken Yee, senior executive VP at Cushman & Wakefield Brokerage services, about the impact the seminar will have on those attending, "...I think some of them are going to walk away saying, 'Wow that's pretty good." Yep, leave it to Winnipeggers to really get excited about opportunities to grow as a city and province.
Also, a question of accountability really comes into play when reading the comment by Don White, chairman of the Winnipeg REALTORS Commercial Division, "The Winnipeg market is under-reported on and misunderstood." Why? Who is accountable for this failure?
The other question I have: "where do interested parties go for information on Winnipeg's real estate market?" Should they go to the WCC website, or maybe the "work" section of Destination Winnipeg's site? Hey, how about to the WinnipegREALTORS home site, or the "LivingManitoba.ca" site that is in replacment of the Spirited Energy campaign. Oh... you haven't heard of this? Neither has anyone else.
Maybe our market is misunderstood because we fail to provide a unified channel on the internet delivering the value proposition for doing business here. Winnipeg should look at investing in their "virtual real estate," that is investing in positioning the message of Winnipeg in prominent positions on the serach engines. Whether it be a business looking for options of expansion or skilled workers looking for a place to relocate, each turn to the internet for their due diligence. Through consolidation of all these related websites mentioned above, and through investment into search engine position, Winnipeg can build the brand that will sell the world.
It's time to strive for more than "pretty good." It's your turn Winnipeg.