Canada Mortgage & Financial Group
Years as a commercial broker: 6
Sales volume in 2015: $102 million
Totals deals in 2015: 23
CMP: You became a commercial broker in 2010. Did you work in residential before that?
Ameera Ameerullah: I started as a mortgage agent in 2001, mainly on residential.
CMP: What are the main differences between the two?
AA: Well, commercial deals take longer to close. The due diligence process is much longer. The asset classes and the way you structure the deals are very different. A commercial deal could be a construction loan or a hotel or a mining project, whereas in residential, the structure of the deals is pretty much the same.
CMP: So do you prefer the commercial side?
AA: I still do some residential, but I like doing commercial because it educates me more about real estate. I eventually want to make my brokerage a lending company, so I want to fully understand the commercial side of the business. Commercial also allows you to do more internationally if you want.
CMP: Is your business mainly located in the GTA?
AA: No, it’s across Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, Manitoba and of course Ontario.
CMP: The markets in Toronto and Vancouver receive a lot of the media’s focus. What is it like in Manitoba currently?
AA: It is actually coming up well. The government
there is very involved with the First Nations, so there are a lot of community projects happening. Also, there is a lot more condo construction happening now in the province. It is cheaper to invest money and also safer. In Vancouver and Ontario, that market is much more inflated because of international investment coming in, so there could be a collapse.
CMP: Where do you see a lot of international investment?
AA: The Chinese investors are investing $1B in developing a trade centre. They are also proposing to build an airport. We are currently facilitating a large hotel deal in the Niagara Region for $220 million. We're also working a world class mixed used project inclusive of a speedway in Fort Erie which is over $500 million that will generate substantial revenue, create jobs and boost the economy.
CMP: In regard to the markets in Vancouver and Toronto, do you think they’re headed for a bubble?
AA: I think the markets there will slow down in November and December. When inflation happens, the government comes up with extra rules to limit borrowing. But as far as the real estate market crashing, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
CMP: You mentioned international opportunities – are you looking to expand outside Canada?
AA: Yes, I would like to expand my business in the United States in particular. Right now we are looking at Ohio, New York, Atlanta and Florida – those are the main areas for both residential and commercial projects. We do deals already in condo construction and hotels in those areas.