An Interview With CEO Mike McGahan: The Future of Canadian Real Estate

Canada Landscape

Mike McGahan is a CEO and realtor with more than 30 years of experience in the real estate business. He’s the President and CEO of CLV Group Inc. and the CEO and Trustee of InterRent REIT. We talked to Mike about his work with those companies, his philanthropy, and the future of Canadian real estate.

Can you give us some background on CLV Group and what you do there?

Mike McGahan: Absolutely! I’ve really enjoyed my time working as a property manager and ultimately as CEO at CLV. We’ve grown quite a bit over the years. Our portfolio now includes around 2,300 residential units and close to 500.000 sq ft of commercial. And we have had many big names in Canadian business, including Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Hong Kong, InterRent REIT, PBC Real Estate Advisors and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation over the years.  As well as many others .

CLV Group is now one of Ottawa’s largest private property management firms, and we plan on seeing continued growth for the foreseeable future.

Tell us a little bit about InterRent REIT as well.

Mike McGahan: Well, InterRent is a real estate investment trust. We focus on multi-family properties in urban marketplaces experiencing rapid growth. We’re very careful about the properties we choose to acquire, as we always want to be adding more value to our portfolio with properties in great locations that are highly likely to return a very sustainable investment.

We’ve seen a lot of growth of this company over the last year. We recently released our report on the fourth quarter of 2021, and can proudly point to more gains in both occupancy and average monthly rent. For example, our occupancy rate in December 2021 was 95.6 per cent, which is in line with the company’s long term run-rate. We also have grown our average rent per suite by 5 per cent overall.

Canadian real estate is clearly a very competitive market with no signs of slowing down. What are the challenges of working within a marketplace like that?

Mike McGahan: You’ve got to be agile and fast. With both CLV and InterRent, there’s a big focus on hiring people who know how to be leaders, but who also know how to collaborate, how to play well with others. Like any industry, you want to focus on finding the best possible people – just that often solves a lot of problems.

While the market is certainly competitive right now, it’s also a great time to be in Canadian real estate because it’s so popular right now, and I don’t think that’s likely to change any time soon. I’d say one big challenge of that is the ongoing management of properties when prices are constantly rising and so many people are changing their lives right now and looking for new housing options in a market that’s going to remain competitive for at least the rest of 2022.

Right. Canadian housing has been really fluid over the last few years, thanks to the pandemic, with many people moving to new homes, often in new cities. Do you see that trend continuing in 2022?

Mike McGahan: Yes, I think so, though it remains to be seen which way that movement is going to go. The pandemic experienced an all-time high of Canadians moving to new cities and homes within the same province.

That was driven by remote work and rising prices, among other things. Many of us believe that people will move back to cities as the pandemic restrictions recede, but it’s too early to tell if that’s actually going to happen, though that is firmly our belief.  Regardless, I see the market remaining robust and in high demand.

You’ve done some philanthropic work as well. Can you tell us a little about that work, and why it’s important to you?

Mike McGahan: I’d love to. I’ve made charitable work a priority at both CLV Group and InterRent, and been really encouraged by the way other people at the companies have leaped to help.

We’ve donated to many local as well as national charities, like Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Youth Services Bureau, several others.

A big example was a golfing fundraiser that CLV Group hosted back in 2019. We named it The Mike McCann Memorial Charity Golf Tournament for a close friend of mine who passed away earlier that year. We enlisted dozens of golfers for the fundraiser, which ended up raising more than $1,000,000.00 for local charities this year in the middle of the pandemic. I was very proud of our Team to be able to pull this off and the great support we received throughout the community.

Our company tries to be a big contributor to our community. We have many examples of giving to some great causes, such as the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, Montreal Sun Youth Association, Hamilton Boys and Girls Club and many more. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.