Searching for commercial properties helps businesses find the right space for growth

by Geoff Kirbyson

If it works on the residential side, it willl work with commercial properties, too.

That’s the mission of the commercial division of the WinnipegREALTORS® Association, which partnered with Michigan-based developer Catylist Real Estate Software a couple of years ago, to launch the new WinnipegREALTORS® Commercial Property Infor-mation Index — or CPIX® — at

The goal is to mirror the success of both public and REALTOR®-only websites for marketing residential properties, with the ultimate goal of seeing more commercial business done in Winnipeg by local, national and international developers.

As of mid-September, the site had 1,317 listings and 190 commercial REALTORS®  have signed on to post properties there.

“It was a long time coming but it has improved our industry substantially. From a  WinnipegREALTORS® standpoint, it’s a real value add,” said Trevor Clay,  acting chair of the association’s commercial division.

“From the point of view of brokers and the public, the new site has stepped up our system and our game to modern technology. It allows the user to look for properties by asset category or location on the map. It’s a huge step in a positive direction.”

The site’s functionality also gives commercial REALTORS®  the ability to prepare reports on particular properties as well as compare and contrast them with other listings available in the market.

Catylist’s first foray into Canada was in Vancouver, with Winnipeg close behind. The company is hoping to expand into other centres across the country. It has also developed similar listing services for more than three-dozen real estate boards and associations in the U.S.

But because the commercial site is part of a network of related sites across Canada and the U.S., it’s hoped that investors in other cities will see opportunities in Winnipeg and decide to invest in them.

“The previous system was a paired-down multiple listing system that wasn’t built according to the needs of the commercial real estate industry,” Clay said.

“You don’t have an option to list your commercial property on an MLS®  system. This is the option,” he said.

Catylist has a deep knowledge of the real estate industry so its built-in systems help REALTORS®  sell or lease their properties as quickly as possible and help the public find the information they need when they need it.

“The biggest task in getting the new site up and running from a local perspective was transferring all of the data from the old system to the new one,” Clay said.

There’s no question that the residential website at is reaching a large number of would-be homeowners.

“There are some significant differences in marketing homes versus commercial spaces. Chief among them is commercial properties tend to stay on the market for considerably longer periods of time,” Clay said.

This website fills in a gap for a central online location to search for available business locations. Business owners looking to grow and expand their location can use the site to see what’s out there.

“It gives people more tools for their tool box. If you want to properly market commercial properties, this is the way to do it in Manitoba. We’re looking to grow our membership by providing a higher level of service to members. Hopefully that convinces people to get involved and stay involved,” Clay said.