Avison Young has established itself as a leader in the real estate research field since Bill Argeropoulos arrived in 2009 to coincide with the beginning of the company’s rapid national and international growth.
“As the company has grown, so have the needs of our brokers and clients,” said Argeropoulos, principal and practice leader, research (Canada) for Avison Young. “Our research is being used in a variety of ways and has much broader coverage and readership than it did when I started.”
Avison Young has grown from 500 employees to 2,400 and from 11 offices to 78 in five countries. Its global research affinity team has increased in size by 60 members to 71 since 2009, while Canada now has 15 researchers.
“We’ve complemented our internal proprietary databases along with third party providers and other tools because the business demanded it,” said Argeropoulos. “We’ve equipped ourselves with the right tools to be able to service our clients and win new business.”
Affinity groups play important role
Argeropoulos is the global and Canadian affinity group leader for Avison Young’s research department. Affinity groups are ways through which the real estate services firm’s employees collaborate, exchange information and build expertise outside of traditional internal corporate silos. Argeropoulos’ role is to “facilitate communication, coordinate resources and guide the group” in driving and executing business plans, sharing best practices and moving initiatives forward.
“We’ve had to retool and rethink who we hire regarding background and experience,” Argeropoulos said of the evolution of his team. “Ideally the plan is to have real estate research professionals who want to stay long term.
“There are other broker models where they hire research staff to come in and learn the basics of research and then they enter the brokerage field. Our view is that we want to have dedicated research professionals to service the brokers who service our clients. From a research perspective, our brokers are our clients.”
Avison Young’s reports are used by the breadth of the real estate community and Argeropoulos said analysts and real estate investment trust representatives often tap into his expertise for insights and statistics.
How reports are put together
One of Avison Young’s key publications, the “Mid-Year 2016 North America, U.K. and Germany Office Market Report,” was released earlier this month. Argeropoulos detailed some of what went into compiling it, citing a collaborative approach to data collection, report layout, copy-editing, proofreading, press release preparation and launch instructions that involves every researcher, local market managing directors and even chief executive officer Mark Rose.
Initial discussions began in mid-June and a detailed timeline and guidelines of what had to be done over the next month were ready by the end of June. A master data file was distributed among Avison Young’s offices and local market researchers gathered data on a number of metrics that were collected and analyzed. Commentaries were then provided for each market.
While there are opportunities for review and managing director sign-off along the way, a core group of a data coordinator, layout coordinator and a copy-editing team that included senior members of the research staff saw the project through to the end.
Providing intelligence and perspective
Since world events can impact local markets, Avison Young aims to provide intelligence on drivers that will affect real estate decisions going forward.
“Some other service providers are always rushing to get the report out by June 30 so they can be the first to the press, but we always strive to provide a quality report with perspective and insight and not really worry about speed to market,” said Argeropoulos.
Once a report is published, Argeropoulos explained that a variety of metrics are employed to statistically measure readership information.
“We can track how viewers are looking at our reports by platform and whether they’re using a desktop or mobile device. We know where unique visitors reside. We know the number of page views and downloads, how long they spend on pages, what type of search queries they do, what cities and sectors they’re looking at most. We have this arsenal in our background that helps us focus on what the next research report should be.”