Sutton Group Management Ltd. (SGM) has acquired Sutton Group – West Coast Realty, making it the largest real estate company in British Columbia. SGM also owns Sutton Group – 1st West and Sutton Centre Realty.
Michael Lam, president and CEO of SGM, says the latest acquisition brings the total number of real estate agents working with SGM to about 1,500. Lam says the company plans to continue to grow its brand in the Vancouver area.
SGM now has brokerages in more than 20 locations throughout British Columbia. It specializes in exclusive presales, assignment, residential and commercial trading and property management. Sutton Group – West Coast Realty has between 1,150 to 1,200 agents, Lam says. “It’s a big acquisition.”
Lam joined Sutton Group – 1st West Realty as a Realtor about 19 years ago. In 2018, he took over the company and last May, he acquired Sutton Centre Realty.
Lam says the three SGM subsidiaries have built a reputation as Western Canada’s leading brokerages, securing the highest volume of sales and deals for residential and commercial real estate transactions combined in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Lam says that lessons learned from his original brokage, 1st West Realty, have led to his successful expansion. “One of the reasons we’ve been able to do all these acquisitions is because of my original 1st West Realty,” he says. “When I picked it up, we only had 40 agents. We’re the first brokerage since I took over to go paperless, direct deposit, all these systems. Once I started to do the changes, people started to leave us. We were down at one point to 32 agents but then from that point on all the older generation agents left us and we built from scratch. Pretty much everyone that joined us after was a young crowd in their 20s and 30s. We hardly have any people in their 50s.”
Lam says one of the reasons the company has grown so fast is “because of the pre-sales access that we have.”
He says every month, the brokerage has “about 15 to 20 people join.” He says he can see other agents joining the SGM umbrella “left, right and front” and that it will continue to open more branches. Lam is hoping to open one more office on the west side, one more on the east side and two in the Fraser Valley.
“Right now we don’t even have to do too much recruiting….We have a great internet presence. We do a lot of marketing for agents, making their lives easier,” says Lam.
In a news release, Lam says, “Our leadership team (chief strategy officer Kelly Mo and COO Surp Rai) have spent a considerable amount of time determining the best direction for all companies, taking into consideration our employees, our agents and their clients. “Sutton Group – 1st West Realty, Sutton Group – West Coast Realty and Sutton Centre Realty are all successful, recognized brokerages that offer well-rounded services and extraordinary exposure to potential buyers, sellers and landlords with over 20 locations collectively. With the acquisition, we wanted to ensure we continue to build upon their achieved successes, and enhance their offerings.”
Lam described the current residential market in the area as “going nuts” with demand and supply extremely unbalanced.
“We have an all-time low in listings. The price is actually really good but people are hesitating to sell because after they sell they need to go somewhere else.
“Any single-family home that comes out in the market will end up into multiple offer situations. Selling is obviously not an issue but buying is the problem.”
He adds, “If you look at the demand and the supply, I cannot see the market going anywhere. Building costs continue to go up. I can’t see the price coming down at all. No chance. And I don’t see a bubble either . . . Even increased interest rates isn’t going to make much of a difference.”
In the news release, Lam says, “The real estate market shifts continuously, and so do the needs of our consumers. We are committed to adapting to these changes by providing our agents and agents’ clients with the most cutting-edge tools programmed to suit their needs. As the largest powerhouse in town, we are looking forward to collaborating with industry partners to offer even more home choices to our agents and their clients, assisting them in making the best possible decision.”
Mario Toneguzzi is a contributing writer for REM. He has more than 40 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald, covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer for several national publications and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list.