Akash Bedi remembers staring wide-eyed as a child at Realtors who would visit his father to negotiate deals.
"I’d look at them and say, ‘Wow, these men and women, they have such good jobs. They’re working still, but they’re making somebody happy by getting them into a house, or getting a property sold,’" Bedi said. "That was exciting to watch."
That excitement led to a job in real estate after university and now, Bedi steps into the role of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board’s 119th president.
He takes over after a record-smashing year — the organization totalled $6.25 billion in sales in 2021, surpassing $6 billion for the first time ever.
The Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board said those approximately 18,575 sales produced $1 billion in economic impact through spin-offs such as job creation.
These days, a house can be sold within 24 hours, Bedi said, adding the market is heavy on demand and short on supply.
Becoming president wasn’t on his radar as a child — and his dad actively discouraged him from joining the industry.
"My dad said to me, ‘Do not enter this business. Get a real job,’" Bedi said, adding there were different challenges then, including less technology.
After graduating from the University of Winnipeg and specializing in biochemistry and sociology, Bedi came back to his father and asked for a chance in real estate. His dad agreed.
So, in 2003 — his first day on the job — Bedi sold a Fort Garry condo for $50,000.
"I fell in love with the business, and I never looked back," he said.
He owns RE/MAX Executives Realty offices and has been a director for the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board since 2016: all are volunteer positions. Bedi is also a director on the Manitoba Real Estate Association’s board.
He said his love of helping people has resulted in him spending so much time, including after-work hours, in real estate.
"There’s a lot of changes that are happening, so I look forward to having the (WRREB) headed in… a good direction," Bedi said of his new role.
He said he’s cognizant of COVID-19, but Omicron hasn’t much changed how realtors work — the major pivots came with the first wave. Whether the pandemic will continue to propel a competitive housing market remains unknown, Bedi said.
An average house in Winnipeg cost $382,317 last month, a $40,000 jump from the year prior, and nearly $66,000 when compared to December 2019.
Kourosh Doustshenas served as the WRREB’s president throughout 2021 — each leader gets a one-year term — and he’ll take the title of past president. He’ll also keep several committee positions.
"I benefitted from a lot of people before me — their experience, their guidance — and I will continue to do my part to make sure our board is successful," Doustshenas said, adding he’s happy Bedi is the new head.
The past leader has been in the business for 32 years. He said it’s always hard to predict how the market will turn, and he couldn’t say what the year ahead would bring.
Bedi will lead the WRREB, with its roughly 2,300 members, until 2023. Rena Prefontaine is president-elect and set to take the top role next year.
James Scott became the organization’s first president in 1903.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.