Avison Young’s claim to being the world’s fastest growing commercial real estate services firm was bolstered in the new year with its acquisition of Toronto-based property appraisal company Metrix Realty Group (Ontario) Inc.
“Avison Young and Metrix had some discussions over the past two years and realized in 2015 that an acquisition of Metrix was a good fit,” said Metrix Ontario founder and president Paul Stewart, who will become an Avison Young principal along with Metrix Ontario vice-president Matthew McWatters.
“The transaction was a five-month process. The opportunity to be a part of the Avison Young organization and for Metrix staff to go to the next level made the move an obvious choice.
“On a personal note, I get to spend more time focused on clients’ real estate issues as opposed to some of the administrative components of owning and operating a small business.”
The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Purchase adds 18 employees to Avison Young
The purchase further expands Avison Young’s valuation and advisory service business-line coverage across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the rest of Canada. It also adds 18 employees to Avison Young’s operations.
Work is underway to accommodate most of them at Avison Young’s Markham offices. A group primarily focused on institutional real estate will be installed at the company’s downtown Toronto offices, according to Stewart.
Metrix Ontario was launched in 2002 and has become a leader in property valuations and consulting, acquisition and disposition due diligence, feasibility and litigation support services in the GTA. It has completed appraisals on office, retail, industrial and multi-family properties, as well as all types of development land.
“It is not an easy task to organically grow an appraisal division, as it has taken me 15 years,” said Stewart. “The acquisition route had immediate benefits for both parties and forms the basis for Avison Young’s future growth in this sector.”
Metrix Ontario brings diverse range of clients
Metrix Ontario’s clients have included a diverse range of public, private and institutional investors, as well as a variety of financial institutions. Stewart expects those clients to follow him to Avison Young, where he’ll lead the GTA valuation and advisory team and help grow the company’s valuation service line across Canada.
“The appraisal sector remains a relationship business, as clients often want to bounce ideas off us or test the creditworthiness of a deal early on,” said Stewart. “Quick response and personal service remains a top priority for the valuation team at Avison Young.”
Metrix Ontario adopted technological innovations and the most up-to-date financial software to present contemporary appraisal documents. While valuation fundamentals haven’t changed over the years, Stewart said the time allotted to complete an assignment has.
“While many institutions book annual valuations well in advance, the mortgage industry needs an increasingly rapid response — likely due to the competition in their industry.
“Reporting is now catching up in that cumbersome documentation in the form of voluminous reports are not wanted, and thus we have been striving to provide more focused reports hitting on key performance indicators, while remaining Appraisal Institute-compliant.”
Continued growth for Avison Young
Avison Young has grown from 11 to 74 offices and from 300 to more than 2,100 real estate professionals in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe over the past seven years. It opened new offices in Mexico City on Dec. 2 and in Memphis on Dec. 7.
The Toronto-headquartered company provides value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and multi-family properties.
Metrix Southwest Inc., based in London, Ont., wasn’t part of the Avison Young transaction. Its management and staff will continue to provide real estate valuation and consulting services in southwestern Ontario.