InvestorForum Vancouver, a smashing success

Canadian Real Estate Magazine – November 23, 2011

What can we say? The Vancouver InvestorForum was a huge success, exceeding both delegate and exhibitor expectations.

It’s all courtesy of Diamond sponsor Vision Investment Properties, which helped bring together more than 350 professional real estate investors for Canadian Real Estate`s first major event in Western Canada, at Vancouver’s Convention Centre.

Each was treated to first-class seminars featuring some of Canada’s greatest names in real estate, including Don Campbell, author of the newly released Secrets of the Canadian Real Estate Cycle; Philip DuMoulin, star of the hit TV series Urban Suburban; Peter Kinch, author of The Canadian Real Estate Action Plan; Dan and Nikki Hall, the twin brother-sister team of the W Network series Sibling Rivalry.

A real treat was the InvestorForum’s keynote speech, say the vast majority of attendees, calling Olympian-turned real estate entrepreneur Cary Mullen a moving and compelling speaker.

He took delegates on a journey through his 10-year career as a top athlete competing in international downhill ski tournaments. The presentation included video highlights of him capturing the gold in World Cup downhill competition in 1994 and setting a world downhill speed record of 156 kilometres per hour in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

Mullen outlined the ways they can apply his own training lessons to their own investment careers, the subject of his popular book How to Win.

The challenge for delegates, he said, is to overcome their fear and to “lunge forward” into their next business venture, taking their portfolios to that next level. It’s not unlike what Mullen did when he started out investing in Canadian residential properties. He’s now developed a 250-unit resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico near the city of Puerto Escondido.

In an attempt to capture some of the Forum’s most memorable moments, Canadian Real Estate has provided a brief summary of some popular sessions.

Campbell debunks real estate myths
Don Campbell, president of the Real Estate Investment Network, stepped on to the stage during the first day of the conference to dispel some widely held myths about real estate investing.

The first myth he took aim at was the seemingly blind belief many investors have in the plethora of statistics reported daily in the media, which include average prices, monthly sales and days on market.

In fact, Campbell even argued against focusing on housing starts. All too often the media gets wrapped up in reporting the next doomsday for the Canadian real estate market, based that long-term opinion on the very short-term fluctuations in the annualized rate of housing starts.
He told delegates they only need to worry about housing starts if the number falls below 197,000. They current sit 205,000.

Campbell told delegates to turn off the noise and start focusing on what really matter: economics.

In order to do that, however, Campbell homed in on another myth perpetrated by the get-rich-quick gurus; that is, the old cliché, “location, location, location.” Really, investors really need to stop focusing on aesthetics and the hunt for the next cheap neighbourhood.

“It has nothing to do with the price,” said Campbell, the owner of 171 investment properties. “Cheapness is not investing. If you’re looking at price you’re way behind me, and you’re way behind sophisticated investors.”

To find the right market, Campbell said investors only need to keep three key things in mind:
•    timing,
•    transitions
•    tactics.

Timing means understanding real estate cycles, while transitions refer to the major stages of that cycle, and, of course, tactics refers to the strategies used to deal with each cycle.

Campbell said investors who understand these three factors and use his “momentum formula,” which begins with looking at gross domestic product (GDP), employment and population growth, will be 18- to 24 months ahead of other real estate observers and the media, who remain obsessed with average prices and monthly sales statistics.

“These are the three things that you must have in a long-term sustainable real estate market,” Campbell said. “You must have economic growth. You’ve got to have job growth, and you’ve got to have population growth, because if you don’t have those three things supporting the market it doesn’t matter the price of that property is.”

Campbell told delegates committed to investing in Canada to smile. After getting back from a European tour last fall, Campbell said he was happy to report that bankers, investors and economists on that continent believe that even in a global economic slump Canada will reign supreme because of the country’s strong resource base.

That’s because the strength of Canada’s natural resource sector will steam ahead, especially in the production of what Campbell terms the “Four Fs”:

1.    food,
2.    fuel,
3.    fertilizer and
4.    forestry.

“We are going to be over the next decade the safe and secure suppl(ier) of the four Fs.”