In conversations about Canada’s buzziest real estate markets, Toronto and Vancouver tend to dominate. But there’s still a demand for housing in the country’s less-talked-about locales, and one company is making its name by prioritizing them.
Regina-based Deveraux Developments builds and manages premium apartment communities across Western Canada, creating luxury buildings that it maintains for a wide range of real estate investors.
“We raise the capital for the projects, find investment opportunities for our clients and manage the communities once they’re constructed,” explains CEO Denis Jones. “It’s a full end-to-end solution.”
The company currently manages $500 million worth of property, comprising 2,000 apartments. This year, Deveraux completed its largest multi-family property to date, a $93.4-million building in Winnipeg, and it now employs more than 100 people.
Jones attributes the company’s success to a willingness to take strategic risks, as well as efforts to constantly rethink how the business’s operations could be further streamlined.
“When we first started out, we deployed technology our competitors weren’t considering,” he explains. For instance, Deveraux started using a modular technique that allows buildings to be constructed off-site while the foundation is laid, a process that Jones says “significantly speeds up” the development process.
The choice to use this approach was risky—would investors be interested in modular properties when they were accustomed to traditional builds? But it quickly proved its value when Deveraux started bringing units to market in six to 12 months, while competitors took two to three years.
Deveraux has since moved away from modular building. While the approach was valuable in forging the company’s reputation, Jones is now interested in pursuing more creative structures, which require more tried-and-true processes.
That doesn’t mean Deveraux has grown complacent. “We are constantly looking at ways of improving our production time,” says Jones. What does that look like in practice? Well, when you’re constructing homes, it doesn’t hurt to gain control of the products and materials you’ll be using to get the job done. The company has been looking for ways to better manage its supply chain (and save money) for years, and kicked things up a notch by adding its own lumberyard in 2016. It’s becoming much more vertically integrated, and the results are remarkable, says Jones: “We own and operate our own lumberyard and we have our own cabinet manufacturer,” he explains. “We’re working to control more and more of what goes into our product, because we know it will speed up our development time, improve the quality of what we make and really set us apart.”