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CCIM Q&A with Eugene Wang, CCIM
Eugene Wang, CCIM, is capitalizing on his diverse skills in brokerage and in the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community to take advantage of Houston's strong market.
“Houston has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, largely due to significant job growth in the area,” says Wang.
Wang is principal/broker at Agate Properties, the Houston commercial real estate company he started in 2016. He began his real estate career in Texas in 2012, working as an agent for Davis Properties, a Houston firm. He focused on the retail sector, concentrating on leases and investment sales, and continues that focus today at Agate. CIRE talked to Wang about his work in the nation's fourth-largest city.
CIRE: Describe how Houston's growth has affected your company.
Wang: Houston has a very pro-business climate. There's been a tremendous amount of real estate development and new homes being built in the area, and this has spurred a cycle of real estate investment and an upward trajectory for the industry here. I do mostly investment sales for my clients, buying and selling shopping centers. I also work with a development group, SGRE Capital Group. We buy and build neighborhood shopping centers in Texas.
CIRE: What have been the long-term effects of last year's Hurricane Harvey on the market?
Wang: Nine months after the storm came ashore, many Houstonians are still in the process of recovering. Overall, the city has shown remarkable resilience. People have supported each other through volunteering and charity and we are a stronger city now because of it. One challenge now is to find the balance between new regulations that will reduce the impact from future flood damage, while maintaining the appeal of Houston's real estate market to families and businesses.
CIRE: What do you see ahead for real estate professionals in the retail sector in your market?
Wang: The retail market is in the midst of major changes, primarily driven by the rapid growth in e-commerce. Retailers and developers that can provide a unique experience to customers or are well-insulated from the threat of e-commerce are the ones that will thrive and survive.
Retail brokers have to stay on top of the latest trends in order to provide their clients with the best service. Furthermore, it's important to understand how a property can be repositioned to improve the tenant mix and unlock value for clients.
CIRE: Can you talk about your work with the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)?
Wang: AREAA has more than 17,000 members and 39 chapters in North America; I'm the current president of the Houston chapter.
The group's mission is to provide sustainable home ownership and promote investment for the Asian-American Pacific Islander community. We do this in a number of ways. We emphasize education and host monthly events with speakers for our members. All our events also involve networking, which leads not only to more shared knowledge, but also more business opportunities among our members.
We're also very active volunteering in the community. After Hurricane Harvey, we helped deliver food and water to shelters, raised money, and helped gut homes that were flooded. Last, we're very active on the policy side, at the federal, state, and local levels. We work with our policy makers to advocate on legislation that promotes investment and home ownership in the AAPI community. Members are a mix of residential and commercial real estate professionals.
CIRE: Has your work in the community been beneficial?
Wang: It is a great feeling to bring people together and to help those in our community. The networking is very powerful; it leads to more business for everyone.
CIRE: You're proficient in both Mandarin and Cantonese - has that been useful?
Wang: Yes, it has come in handy for work, especially with the fast-growing Chinese population in Houston.
CIRE: How has the CCIM designation helped you?
Wang: Having my CCIM has opened the doors to a talented and knowledgeable network of commercial real estate professionals. Just having access to this group has been tremendous for me. I'm happy to say some members are my mentors and friends; I've built great relationships. Being a CCIM designee also gives a credibility boost to commercial real estate professionals running their own brokerages, like myself.