Jordan Fletcher knows Ontario real estate.
He has been the president of Gorge Holdings Inc. for 12 years, expanding and improving the real estate company’s portfolio throughout the many Ontario towns where it owns and manages properties.
Gorge Holdings is mainly focused on southern Ontario, which already had a highly competitive real estate market — even before that competition went into overdrive during the pandemic. The company’s home base is in the Niagara Region.
Jordan started with the company in 2006 as the property manager. He has since worked hard to develop the company’s diverse portfolio of commercial and residential properties, as well as retail and industrial developments. He’s been able to grow Gorge Holdings by capitalizing on promising markets, diversifying its portfolio, and using his extensive network of contacts to find great properties and opportunities.
Gorge Holdings currently has developments in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold, Niagara on the Lake and London.
We talked with Jordan Fletcher about the complexities of modern real estate in Ontario and what the future likely holds for the booming Canadian marketplace.
What is the biggest challenge right now of working and developing in Ontario real estate?
Jordan Fletcher: Well, I feel the biggest challenge right now is properly developing properties while controlling costs and meeting time frames and deadlines. It has become increasingly more difficult to finish projects on time. It has also been more difficult budgeting and controlling costs. The costs for materials and labour have increased significantly over the past couple years and I believe this will continue. This is mostly due to the high demand and limited supply, as well as the issues we have been dealing with regarding supply chain and availability of products and materials. There’s just so much demand right now. The supply has not been able to keep pace, and it’s unlikely to catch up anytime soon.
Are there any current projects that you can share with us that you’re particularly excited about?
Jordan Fletcher: I’d love to. We have several projects in the works that will open very soon, and a few others in the early stages of development.
In London, we have a new luxury apartment building that we’re developing in partnership with Domus Developments. It’s called Bellevue North, and it’s a four-story, 60-unit building with a variety of apartments from 1-3 bedrooms.
It’s a great location in North London’s Upper Richmond Village. It’s near some great parks and trails, along with all the necessities like dining, groceries and entertainment. We are just finishing the construction of the building and the first group of tenants will be moving in within a month.
What do you see as the biggest challenges of Canadian real estate moving forward?
Jordan Fletcher: Well, there’s a need for more supply of residential buildings, especially apartments. It’s a challenge for the marketplace, but an opportunity for businesses like Gorge Holdings. If we can develop great properties that people want to live in, the demand is there and I think it will continue to be there for the foreseeable future.
For the market at large, however, it’s going to be a challenge to keep up with demand, and I’m not sure anyone knows when the supply will catch up. Lots of people want to live in Canada, and especially in Ontario.
The pandemic caused a lot of changes to real estate. What are some of the biggest impacts that you see as a result of the pandemic receding?
Jordan Fletcher: It’s an interesting question. A lot of realtors think that people will be moving back to major cities like Toronto now that the worst of the pandemic is hopefully behind us. So many people took advantage of remote work to find bigger places outside the larger and more expensive metropolitan areas.
Personally, I think the outcome will be mixed. Yes, some people are going to move back. But I also think that many of the broader changes to work-life balance brought about by the pandemic will stay with us. Many people will be able to keep their remote jobs, and maybe prefer it. For those people, life outside of places like Toronto may continue to hold appeal.
Do you have any advice for those trying to become realtors in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada?
Jordan Fletcher: I’d be happy to. First, I’ll say that if you can get into this market, I think it’s a great place to be doing business. We have one of the most visible, exciting and desirable regions to live anywhere in the world right now. The population growth will continue, and that’s good news for realtors who want to sell homes.
However, I believe the competition among realtors is very high. There’s lots of realtors out there, and not as much inventory as needed. That will likely improve as we move forward from here, but it’s likely going to continue to be an issue in the foreseeable future. And the competition — among both realtors and buyers and sellers of homes — means that it’s an increasingly complicated marketplace. There’s a lot to learn. But I don’t want to deter anyone from pursuing this. If you can learn the ropes and find a niche that works for you, I think there’s lots of opportunity here.