By Geoff Kirbyson
Ken Clark is the new WinnipegREALTORS® president and he has every intention of giving back to the industry has given him so much over his 32-year career.
“I’ve got a special connection to it. It’s been very good to me and my family. It’s probably the most interesting, exciting and rewarding industry that I’ve worked in,” he said.
Working in close collaboration with the new and returning members of the 2019 Board of Directors, Clark’s biggest priority over the next 11 months is professional standards, including making sure the membership adheres to Realtor codes and the highest professional standards in every transaction every day.
“There are bad apples in the industry and there are a lot of good people. Our job is to make sure the rest come along at the same pace,” he said.
Clark also wants to make sure WinnipegREALTORS® is ahead of the curve, technology-wise.
“It’s a not-for-profit but we run it like a business while keeping a strategic focus. We recognize our responsibilities to members from an operational perspective as well. It’s not a club, it’s a very serious organization,” he said.
Clark takes over at a time when Winnipeg’s housing market is balanced with a slight tilt in favour of buyers. It’s remarkably healthy, particularly when compared to Calgary and Edmonton, which have been hit hard by prolonged declines in oil prices, and Toronto and Vancouver, which have seen unprecedented numbers of off-shore investors snap up property as an investment.
“I would say 99.9 per cent of the people who buy here (in Winnipeg) are buying a residence to live in. We’re a lot more stable (than other cities),” he said.
Clark believes Winnipeg’s housing market in 2019 will be very similar to 2018, which was a moderately successful year. While that might not seem great, considering there were record sales and dollar volumes in 2016, he doesn’t think anybody should be complaining.
“When you think about the economic conditions both nationally and around the world right now, if you can hold your own, that’s pretty good,” he said.
One recent development that has had a positive impact on the market is millennials looking to buy their first homes, he said.
“They want faster action. When they get approved, they want to buy the next weekend,” he said.
When the calendar turns to 2020, Clark said he hopes he can turn over to his successor an association with an even more solid financial foundation, a higher level of buy-in to higher professional standards and more members paying attention to “doing the right thing all the time.”
Oh, and his Condo King nickname? Clark is quick to note that he did not bestow it upon himself. He was speaking to clients in a condo conversion project he was working on years ago, the story goes, when some of the older women in the building jokingly told him that he looked like he owned the building and that he needed an appropriate nickname.
“I did own part of the building, I had bought a unit. A couple of weeks later, they said, ‘what about the Condo King?’ I said, ‘sure, I’ll run with that,’” he said with a laugh.