(As originally posted on LinkedIn, July 17 2017)

To Canada 150 and beyond: the role of real estate

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By Tony Ianni, EY Canada’s Real Estate Leader

In light of #Canada150, we’re reflecting on what we’ve accomplished and what awaits us in the next century and a half. We’re asking ourselves the kinds of #BetterQuestions that challenge, inspire and unlock new solutions.

Q: How is real estate embracing innovation?

A: The real estate sector has traditionally been slow to innovate, but economic conditions are forcing leaders to fast-track towards new approaches. Much tighter rates of return are pushing landlords to look for creative ways to reduce costs and enhance tenant experiences.

Moving forward, we’ll see improved building-centric systems in the areas of security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as power management. The sector isn’t immune to robotics either – landlords will continue to look to robotic process automation to improve efficiencies in the back office, like tenant onboarding, for example.

Q: What role does entrepreneurship play?

A: While the real estate sector is increasingly dominated by multinational and integrated property owners, there’s always been tremendous opportunity in Canada for smaller entrepreneurial enterprises. 

Whether or not these mid-market companies see real estate as their core business or as a safe and stable investment, they’re an important and influential part of the Canadian real estate market.

Q: How can diversity move this sector forward?

A: Real estate leaders across all segments of the market are experimenting with new and innovative approaches to the way they use their space. With today’s challenging market conditions, there’s an acute need for more flexibility, creativity and ingenuity. Companies with a diverse workforce automatically have a significant advantage over their competitors. Diversity brings different perspectives, which lead to the most creative ideas and solutions.

Going forward, the real estate sector has to embrace diversity wholeheartedly and faster than it has so far.

Innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity are vital to Canada’s future success. Those who seize the opportunities that arise from disruption in every sector are poised to lead in the years ahead. Happy #Canada150!

What does the future hold for your business and how do you plan to get there?

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.