An industry veteran of over 25 years, Ron Margolis has moderated the Finance Panel at every Winnipeg Real Estate Forum since 2010. He is frequently consulted by developers, property managers, lawyers, investors, lenders, real estate agents, and even other mortgage professionals.
Tell us about the current situation in Winnipeg’s commercial mortgage segment.
For the past dozen years, Winnipeg has enjoyed a competitive commercial mortgage market, as property values are generally stable across all four industry segments. Also, net income for debt service is not prone to much fluctuation due to our stable economy.
In your view, what is it about Winnipeg that gives the strongest impression?
It’s the fact that things are just so stable here. There are other markets that tend to be “boom-bust”, where economies and values go high and then come crashing down a few years later. However, Winnipeg is a steady-as-she-goes market. That’s very attractive from a lender perspective, because it means they won’t have to guess where rents are going to be.
What are the issues and challenges that you encounter as a commercial mortgage professional in Winnipeg?
Strong credit unions compete with the chartered banks, pension funds and life companies for quality commercial mortgage business in Winnipeg. Our local market knowledge, deep professional relationships, and strong credit background enhance the quality of information that we can provide to local as well as national lenders—who in turn rely on our strong underwriting of the property and the sponsorship—in order to put forward their most aggressive lending terms.
What advice would you provide to your clients who are trying to navigate the current market conditions?
With most of our clientele, we focus on a strategic rather than transactional approach to financing. Managing their portfolio flexibility and mitigating credit risks, while at the same time selectively encouraging new lender relationships to enhance overall loan terms and achieve the most attractive pricing.
What trajectory do you see for the market based on current trends?
We have a very diverse economy, so overall, it’s an even keel. As the market continues to grow, there will certainly be more development opportunities—and thus, more opportunities for investors to participate.