Why He’s Top 40: For bringing Big Data in to help change the way we look at residential growth and development.
For decades, residential development was a business based on some simple, conservative concepts. If it worked before, it should work again. If you built a condo 10 years ago and it sold well, you should be able to build one next door and expect the same results.
Emmett Hartfield got into the residential development business straight out of MacEwan University, and he saw a problem; that, instead of basing their projections on the past, developers should be using the latest data and trends to inform their decisions.
So, at the age of 27, he formed Intelligence House, a real-estate research, marketing and sales company that collects and compiles the latest data, in order to help developers better understand where the market is going. It was the first mover in analytics in the industry.
“The world is moving more and more to Big Data, and we were looking at bringing those kind of analytics, on a granular level, to real estate,” he says.
Over the last five years, Intelligence House has grown by 30-40 per cent on annual basis, and has over $500 million in inventory.
And how have the analytics changed the business? Hartfield saw that Edmonton developers were going big on condos, but the data was showing that 59 per cent of Edmontonians couldn’t afford homes of $360,000 or more. That, along with new government-mandated mortgage rules, led Hartfield to encourage his clients to follow the emerging trend of high-end rentals instead – properties that offered the luxury amenities of condos, but without the mortgages and fees. The soon-to-be-completed Raymond Block on Whyte Avenue is an example of the luxury-rental trend.
Intelligence House is growing. It is now doing business in New York and New Jersey. “We continue to look to innovate,” he says. “There is no ceiling. And, with what we do, there is no limit to geography.” With that in mind, he says he won’t succumb to the pressure to pack up and move the head office elsewhere.