Vancouver-based McCredie Investments has an agreement to acquire Sutton Group Realty Services Ltd., planning to reshape the brokerage’s operations around technology and more transparent real estate data for Canadian home buyers.
“I thought it was a unique opportunity. I live in Vancouver, I’m from Toronto originally, I love the Canadian market," Ross McCredie, principal of McCredie Investments and now president and CEO of Sutton Group, said in an interview with RENX Homes.
"I like the opportunity to buy a national iconic brand and take it in the direction I want to take it, and keep it Canadian."
Under his leadership, McCredie expects Sutton to significantly increase its workforce in its first month as it expands its service offerings.
This will focus on the adoption of technology and giving Canadians more accurate real estate data, which are two factors he sees as lacking in the nation’s real estate industry.
McCredie Investments is an investment and advisory firm owned by McCredie and his family.
He founded Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in 2004 and left the company in 2015 to work as a consultant for Compass Inc., a brokerage headquartered in New York City.
He also served as an executive for U.S.-based real estate companies Pacific Union and The Mark Company, and organized the sale of both those firms to Compass in 2018.
Sutton is a brokerage headquartered in Burnaby, B.C. with approximately 6,000 realtors and 200 offices across Canada that conduct $35 billion in transactions per year, according to its website.
‘Keep it Canadian’
McCredie returned to Vancouver during the COVID pandemic to focus on the Canadian market.
He was always “fascinated” by Sutton Group, he said. About a year ago made calls to its ownership to acquire what he said is last remaining Canadian national brokerage not owned by a large U.S. brand.
Using the example of the acquisition of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort by American firm Vail Resorts, which he said “felt so wrong,” he sought to keep a Canadian company like Sutton in Canadian hands.
McCredie said if he acquires Sutton, he will invest into the firm by hiring more people and concentrating on incorporating new technology into its operations to improve the homeowner and customer experience.
He said he has a track record of successfully integrating technology into real estate companies, including unifying basic customer relationship management functions at Sotheby’s to help its agents communicate directly with their clients.
The Sutton CEO also aims to let Canadians have more data about real estate. Canadians are “uniquely uninformed when it comes to real estate assets,” McCredie said, because the country lacks the same transparency as some U.S. cities such as Seattle.
"I think that we should make the assumption that Canadians should have access to as much good information as they can and that’s what I plan to do,” though he did not provide specifics of what that might entail.
Giving Canadians verified data along with new technology and the international network of a brand like Sutton Group will be "a winning combination,” he said.