|COVER Upstart service challenges PricewaterhouseCoopers for latest info on Vancouver’s new condo market
Strata Data Battle
ANDREW PETROZZI/DERMOT MACK
|Jennifer Podmore: tracking the condo market with a stable of Smart Cars|
A former Colliers International research director is behind the launch of a new real estate enterprise aimed at providing subscribers with online detailed information about Lower Mainland property developers and developments.
The new service is a direct challenge to the long-established annual Greater Vancouver Condominum Market Review, a print version published by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP that has won respect for its frank appraisals of market conditions.
MPC Intelligence is a Web-based residential real estate research and analysis service specializing in what it claims is unbiased information about residential developments such as condos, lofts, single-family, townhomes and high-rise apartments in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Analysts travel through-out the Lower Mainland in Smart Cars preparing four-page reports for a database on as many as 450 projects in all stages from development permit through to sold-out projects.
“We saw a huge hole in the market for a company like ourselves that provides information to developers and the development industry,” said MPC Intelligence managing partner Jennifer Podmore, a former research director at Colliers International in Vancouver and Victoria.
“The development industry is moving at such a lightning speed pace right now,” said Podmore. “It’s really hard to keep up with your competitors and with all the areas, and with what’s happening on the ground from day to day.”
For a $4,650 annual fee, MPC subscribers are given access to information ranging from purchaser demographics, analysis of developer strengths and comparisons of all developments by region to how well buildings are selling and which sales team is working on a project, according to Podmore.
Other data include municipal development applications, pricing, finishings used and how and to whom the development is advertising its project.
“A subscriber will really understand exactly what is happening in that market, not just today, but what is going to happen in six months, and in a year from now,” she said.
Podmore, the daughter of Concord Properties Ltd. CEO David Podmore, said the early response to the company’s services has been strong.
More than 350 companies and individuals registered in the two months leading up to the site’s launch, she said.
Podmore added that response from prospective subscribers to demonstrations of the service have been positive.
“In over 50 meetings so far, everyone who has seen it is subscribing,” she said.
Interested groups have included developers, builders, lawyers, architects, municipalities, investors, financial institutions, interior designers, realtors, landowners, property management companies and marketing companies.
MPC revenues will be generated through subscriptions and expansion, according to Podmore.
The company was formed after six months of planning that determined it would offer an interactive website instead of creating printed reports.
“The second you print it, it’s dated,” Podmore said. “This market is changing so constantly that we needed something that was going to keep up with that.”
Three analysts update the website’s information daily, she said, and there are plans to expand their numbers soon. MPC also plans to expand its website to include Victoria later this month and the Interior, from Kamloops to Osoyoos, by October.
Podmore said plans are also in the works to move east into Alberta and Ontario.
MPC offers one free feature for the public on its website: access to a map listing residential development projects on the market and those being developed. The visitor is then linked to the developer’s website.
Peter Simpson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, believes the time is right in the industry for the services offered by MPC. “I think she’s filling a void, quite frankly. There’s likely going to be a need for this type of intelligence.”
Simpson said that as long as the information is consistent and dependable MPC would be well received by developers.