IREM on the International Front . . . in Japan, at IPMSC and FIABCI, in Canada
(May 2015) IREM President Lori Burger, CPM, was in Sapporo, Japan, for the annual meeting of the IREM Japan Chapter and installation of 34 new CPM members there. This brings the total to nearly 300 CPM members in the chapter, which has taken major strides in elevating the stature of the real estate management profession in Japan.
Prior to going to Sapporo, Burger, together with IREM CEO Russ Salzman, was in Tokyo. On their Tokyo itinerary, organized by Noriaki Shiomi, CPM, and Masayoshi Fujisawa, CPM, were a meeting with the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism; tours of several high-profile properties and successful management companies; and a presentation before the Japan Property Management Association (JPMA).
In the meeting with the Ministry and in speaking at JPMA, Burger gave an overview of IREM’s international strategy, citing four main themes. “First is a focus on advancing and participating in the development of global standards,” said Burger at JPMA. “Second, IREM is working to identify, refine, and spread the use of best practices in the management of real estate.” Continuing, she noted that “These best practices may come from the United States, but just as likely will come from managers in other countries.”
“Third on IREM’s international strategy list is sustainability, which is truly a global issue,” said Burger. “Scarcity of resources, global warming - these are concerns of people throughout the world. And because buildings are the number one consumer of energy, IREM has made sustainability one of its priority issues.”
IREM’s fourth international strategy relates to natural and man-made disasters. “Property management has an important role to play in helping to avoid, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies of all kinds,” said Burger, which is why IREM has made emergency preparedness and crisis management one of its strategic priorities.
Also last week, as a member of the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC), IREM was represented at a coalition meeting in Kuala Lumpur by Nancye Kirk, IREM Vice President of Global Services and its trustee on the IPMC board. Coalition members from around the world came together to discuss implementation of the International Property Measurement Standards for Offices, which was released in late 2014, and progress being made toward the development of similar standards for residential properties.
The IPMSC meeting was hosted by FIABCI and held in conjunction with the FIABCI Congress. The theme of the FIABCI Congress was Urbanization: Perils or Prosperity? It is projected that 75% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2020, making this theme relevant to real estate professionals everywhere.
Meanwhile, IREM President-elect Chris Mellen, CPM, was in Vancouver, Canada, for the annual meeting of the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) and a leadership conference sponsored by IREM for its chapter leaders throughout Canada. This year’s regional conference focused on marketing to the industry, and included a dynamic session on how to focus messaging for a target audience, a panel discussion on innovative chapter projects, and Region 14 RVP Mary Aubrey, CPM, led leaders through an activity to test their knowledge of chapter requirements and best practices.
Ron Penner, CPM, of Winnipeg Manitoba stepped down as REIC president and Candace Le Roux, CPM, ARM, of Vancouver, BC, was installed as the president for the 2015-2016 term.
IREM President Connects with CPM Members in Shanghai
(February 2015) IREM President Lori Burger, CPM, was in Shanghai, China, in February, reaching out to CPM Members there and gaining insights into the Shanghai real estate market. During a meeting of the IREM China Shanghai Chapter, Burger commented on the fast-changing world of real estate management, noting that “there’s a lot going on in the world today that is affecting each of us – in our homes and in our workplaces and in our roles as real estate managers. IREM regularly looks at what is happening, studies the impact of change, and shares what we learn with our members and the industry at large.”
She then zeroed in on four trends that are affecting the industry: technology, generational blending, the acquisition and management of talent, and globalization. “In today’s highly competitive environment, it would be easy to hoard our knowledge, to keep what we learn to ourselves,” said Burger. “But as professionals, we know that it is through shared knowledge and the free exchange of ideas that we all rise and become better.”
While in Shanghai, Burger visited two new projects that are under development: UCenter in southern Shanghai, which will comprise nearly two million square feet of Grade A office space plus hotel and retail space; and TODTown, which will be developed as part of a major new transportation hub and will include residential, office, and hotel space. Both projects are being developed by Shanghai Industrial Urban Development Group, IREM’s first and only AMO firm in China.
IREM’s presence in Shanghai is growing, with nearly 50 CPM Members, regular offerings of the CPM educational program, and a chapter led by President Guoqiang Pan, CPM, of Shanghai Golte Asset Management Co., Ltd.
Real Estate Practitioners in Uganda Learn from IREM
(November 2014) As part of an initiative to support the professionalization of the real estate industry in Uganda, IREM delivered a one-day seminar at the third annual Real Estate Conference in Kampala last week. The conference was sponsored by AREA-Uganda and focused specifically on expanding and promoting women’s property and land rights and helping women in the real estate industry by providing quality education and networking opportunities.
The IREM seminar introduced 80 attendees to the field of property management and provided basics on how to establish a property management company and to utilize social media tools to develop business.
Delivering the seminar on IREM’s behalf was IREM instructor Natalie Brecher, CPM, who wrote from Uganda: “I am so very impressed with what is happening here. [Those attending the seminar] are so eager to learn and elevate the profession! It’s exciting!
IREM’s participation in this program was organized with support of IRPF (International Real Property Foundation) and funded by the IREM Foundation.
IREM Deepens Presence in Brazil with New Members, Information Sharing
(August 2014) IREM’s presence in Brazil’s real estate management community has been strengthened with the addition of 24 new ARM Members in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who were installed in those cities by President Joe Greenblatt, CPM. “Through our collaboration with SECOVI-SP and SECOVI-RIO, and with the strong support of IREM’s Sao Paulo Chapter, IREM is actively engaging with real estate management practitioners in Brazil, creating the opportunity for cross-country sharing of best practices and innovative ways of doing business,” said Greenblatt.
In Sao Paulo as part of SECOVI-SP’s Real Estate Week, Greenblatt participated on a panel with representatives from Europe and Latin America that focused on trends in the international real estate arena. Greenblatt zeroed in on the sustainability movement, noting that green buildings not only save money through reduced energy and water consumption, which lowers long-term operations and maintenance costs, but also can improve occupant health and well-being and ultimately increase employee productivity, making them more appealing to users of office space.
“In simplest terms,” said Greenblatt, “energy-efficient buildings are more competitive – and that drives asset value. In addition to trimming utility and water costs, studies show a pattern of green buildings being able to more easily attract tenants and command higher rents and sales prices. This is especially true in markets where green buildings are becoming mainstream.”
Joining Greenblatt in Brazil was IREM CEO Russ Salzman, who delivered a session on leadership sponsored by the IREM Sao Paulo Chapter.
IREM Foundation Funds Grant to Promote Women’s Property Rights in Uganda
(June 2014) The IREM Foundation has awarded a grant to The International Real Property Foundation (IRPF) in partnership with IREM to sponsor a property management seminar at the third Annual Real Estate Conference in Kampala, Uganda. AREA-Uganda, an association of real estate agents, started this conference with the goal of assisting in the professionalization of the real estate industry in Uganda, specifically by expanding and promoting women’s property and land rights and helping women in the industry by providing quality education and networking opportunities.
The real estate sector in Uganda is a fast-growing market and key to the country’s overall economy. Among real estate practitioners, brokers still form the majority, but they are generally an informal group, with no trading license or education. As a result, the market distrusts them and there is resistance to using their services. Consequently, many businesses have collapsed and service level is generally poor, despite the fact that the majority of the Ugandan society would benefit from a professional real estate sector.
Ugandan women, in particular, face injustice and struggle when it comes to having security in their land and property. Property rights in Uganda, like many African nations, tend to be male dominated. This dependency on men leaves women vulnerable and without a stake in their property in the events of divorce, death of a spouse or male relative. Females account for the vast majority of agricultural labor (around 80%) and food production, and thus have a major stake in land issues. However, the majority of Ugandan women lack education in real estate, where land is a basic component, making them vulnerable when negotiating property rights. This conference aims to advance and empower women by providing them knowledge on property rights, and exposing them to greater opportunities to earn an income and secure a role in their communities in a real estate profession.
IREM’s one-day seminar will introduce the field of property management, and include the basics on how to establish a property management company, as well as a section on using social media tools effectively in business. Organizers expect close to 100 attendees, including representatives of various Ugandan government ministries. The conference has also secured funding from the Women’s Council of Realtors and Serena Corporation. It is planned for November 2014.
Japan Property Managers Gather in Kyoto for Seminar, New CPM Installation
(June 2014) Kyoto was the gathering place for real estate management professionals from throughout Japan who assembled last week for a seminar sponsored by the IREM Japan Chapter and featuring speakers representing real estate markets in the United States, Taiwan, and China.
IREM President Joseph Greenblatt, CPM, the seminar’s kick-off speaker, noted that successful management companies understand that a new real estate business model has emerged. “The business model of today is based on a return to fundamentals, to value creation through operational excellence,” said Greenblatt.
“Property managers are being asked to do much more, to move beyond the maintenance and operation of a building and manage the property as the financial asset it is - in effect, to function as asset managers.” What this means, according to Greenblatt, is that “management is being recognized and relied upon for the value it brings to the real estate investment process.”
Other speakers at the seminar were Michelle Wong, CPM, and Hideki Hayashi, both of Honolulu, Hawaii; Michael Tseng, CCIM, of Taipei, Taiwan; and James Lee, CPM, of Boston, Massachusetts, whose primary business interests are in China and who shared insights into China’s fast-growing real estate market.
The day following the seminar was the annual meeting of the IREM Japan Chapter, where the highlight was the installation of 46 new CPM designees. Speaking to the more than 150 in attendance, Greenblatt congratulated the new class of Japan CPM Members, telling them “You are now part of a global community of dedicated real estate management professionals throughout the world, as well as members of one of IREM’s most vibrant, growing chapters.” He attributed IREM’s success in Japan to “an outstanding cadre of strong leaders and a commitment of all of its members to elevating the real estate management profession in Japan.”
IREM Explores Opportunities in Kazakhstan
(April 2014) IREM recently accepted an invitation to participate in the first-ever professional real estate conference in Kazakhstan- Commercial Real Estate Week. Commercial Real Estate Week, a 2-day event in the capital of Astana, fills a desperate need in this booming economy, where, up until recently, practitioners looking to attend a professional conference had to travel to a neighboring country to find one. Kazakhstan, a former Soviet Republic located in central Asia, has become a hot spot for real estate thanked to its oil economy.
At the conference, IREM (represented by Leah Misbin, Senior Manager of International Programs) presented on the Profile of US Property Management Companies and using social media as a business resource. It is anticipated that Commercial Real Estate Week will become an annual event. An MOU was signed between IREM and the conference organizers, CREW, with a goal of further developing an IREM presence in Kazakhstan through the relationship.
Sergey Apenko, CPM, a property manager from Astana attending the conference, stated, “We need training locally; our market requires quality management specialists. Right now, the market is not open to it. Developers think they can oversee management themselves and cut costs, but the result is actually more costly in the long run.” He sees this conference as a sign that Kazakhstan is starting to understand the importance of real estate education and, by presenting sessions solely on management, it is highlighting an important aspect to the ongoing success of Kazakh real estate projects.
In Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, Denis Makeyev, CPM, provided a tour of Esentai Towers, a 53,704 sqm (578,065 sqf) Class A multi-use complex, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. Esentai Towers includes a retail center, luxury residences, office space, and a hotel. Its state-of-the-art amenities have facilitated the expansion of many international brands and companies into Kazakhstan includes Central Asia’s first Saks Fifth Avenue and Ritz Carlton.
IREM Advances Collaboration with Colleagues in Hungary
(April 2014) IREM President Joseph Greenblatt, CPM, was in Budapest last week to meet with members of the Hungarian Association of Real Estate Managers (HAREM). IREM has had a relationship with HAREM since 1996, when the two organizations first entered into a protocol agreement that committed both organizations to enhancing the profession of property management in Hungary and exchanging best practices between practitioners within the two countries.
Speaking before some 35 property management executives, Greenblatt reinforced the trend toward globalization, noting that “As the real estate market gets bigger and more global, successful management companies will see value in being part of a global network – either by being part of a multinational company or by being connected with other professionals through organizations like IREM and HAREM that reach out beyond their own national borders.”
IREM Connects Globally at MIPIM
(March 2014) IREM leaders traveled to Cannes, France, for MIPIM 2014, which brought together more than 20,000 real estate investors and practitioners from 86 countries.
“MIPIM has been called the world’s largest property market,” according to IREM CEO Russ Salzman, who was there with IREM President Joseph Greenblatt, CPM. “For IREM,” continued Salzman, “MIPIM provides four jam-packed days of opportunity to meet with partner organizations from throughout the world, engage in dialogue about where the market is headed, and get an inside look at global trends in real estate both through casual conversations and by attending formal presentations.”
Among some of the topics generating discussion at MIPIM were technology, with emphasis on its impact on office space utilization and office design, and sustainability.
IREM Participates in Guatemala Conference
(January 2014) IREM joined representatives of real estate management organizations from nine Latin American countries for a conference in Guatemala City held on January 27-28 that centered on the theme of innovation in property management. Throughout the two-day conference, the focus was on elevating the stature of property management and strengthening the role it plays in the real estate sector. Technology, legislation, sustainability, and client relations were among the topics that wove through the presentations.
Representing IREM was Nancye Kirk, Vice President of Global Services, who spoke on the topic of building value through effective property management. Also taking part in the conference, hosted by CADIG, the leading association for property management in Guatemala, were delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
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