Research Predicts the future of Real Estate Development

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Mar. 9, 2010

March 29th RENX Breakfast Seminar speaker profile: Jennifer Podmore Russell

We’ve all heard the throat clearing and hedged statements from Federal officials about interest rates going up at some point this year. It’s anyone’s guess as to when. And it’s accepted logic that any upward federal rate change will influence mortgage rates in the same direction. But what will this mean to the new home development industry? How will consumers react? What should we build in anticipation of these new realities? Jennifer Podmore Russell can shed some light on this.

Jennifer Podmore Russell is a Senior Manager in the Deloitte & Touche Financial Advisory practice in Vancouver, and specializes in advisory work for the construction and development industry. She’s been at this crystal-ball-fused-with-research game for more than a decade. She has a background in commercial real estate with Colliers International, and went on to found MPC Intelligence; a real estate consultancy firm which focused on best and maximum use analysis, and planning/valuation studies for residentially focused developments. Now with Deloitte, she spends her days providing trend analysis, demand forecasting, market planning and opportunity assessment to Deloitte clients. All of which could sound very dull, until you realize that she knows far more about tomorrow than you do.

“It’s fairly evident,” she says “that if wages don’t change, but mortgage rates do, it will change how much house people can afford to buy.” Consequently, she’s spent a lot of time lately analyzing the incremental impact of this, and what it will mean to our industry. “It’s important to remember that a rate increase doesn’t just impact consumers. It also is a game-changer for developers, because it becomes more expensive to build. We make sure our clients have planned for this ahead of time.”

If rates go up by 1%, what happens? What contingencies are required so it doesn’t overtly reduce the bottom line for developers? How do you make presales work in an environment that is not fuelled by fear of rising rates? What is the new normal? “It’s about establishing standard business practices in a changing world.” Podmore-Russell says. “The more information you have, and the more scenarios you are aware of, the better equipped you will be for success.”

What else do developers need to be thinking about? “Let’s assume that prime sites in downtown locations are more coveted, and more expensive, if you can even find one. This scenario requires developers to stake a claim in more suburban areas. How can you be successful in these situations? How can design, communications, and consumer insight help you stand out from the four other projects surrounding you that you are competing with?”

Podmore Russell has crunched the numbers, and she’s willing to share. Interested? Sign up to hear her speak, along with myself and sales guru Hunter Milborne, at the RENX Breakfast Seminar on March 29th. You can register by clicking here. Proceeds from this seminar will go to a GTA charity, thanks to our generous sponsors; The Toronto Star’s Website NewHomes.com.

We have one sponsorship opportunity remaining, at $1500, and if you are interested in getting your company name in front of a room full of real estate movers-and-shakers let me know. You can email me at david@braunallison.com for more information.


David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

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David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more





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