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Leadership Connect – Emily Cheung, Director, Data Analytics & Insights

By April 29, 2022November 7th, 2022Leadership Connect

As part of our ongoing Leadership Connect Series with Teranet’s thought leaders, our latest feature is with Emily Cheung, Director, Data Analytics & Insights. 

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your career and how it brought you to your current role?   

I am a Chartered Professional Accountant by training.  I started out at PwC as an Associate before moving on to Rogers Communications in the Finance team.  At Rogers, I progressed through a number of different positions with my last role there as the Director of Business Performance and Intelligence.  In that role, my team was responsible for all the management reporting and insights that supported decision-making at all levels of the company.  I believe that experience laid the foundation for my affinity for data and insights. 

At Rogers, I had a very specific and defined role within the Finance team.  To round out my career in Finance, I decided to take on a more traditional Finance role in Financial Planning and Analysis, which is what led me to Teranet. 

As the leader of the Financial Planning and Analysis function, I was tasked with insights in and forecasting of our revenue, which at the time, was primarily driven by Ontario registry transactions.  Extracting transactional data from production databases was extremely time-consuming, and then analyzing the data using traditional tools like excel was inefficient and ineffective.  It was for this reason that the company decided to stand up a small Data & Analytics team, including the implementation of a Big Data platform, to gain better insights into our registry volumes for decision-making and forecasting.  I was then moved out of Financial Planning and Analysis to lead this new Data & Analytics team.  As the value of data insights and applications leveraging data such as Artificial Intelligence became better understood, the Data & Analytics program at Teranet grew to what it is today, and my role with it.  Data & Analytics has emerged as the new “oil” and industry buzzword, and its impact and value is real and tangible. It is a very exciting time to be part of the team because the opportunities to generate value are endless. 

2. We refer to Teranet as having authoritative data. Can you elaborate on the data that Teranet has and the value it delivers?   

Teranet has exclusive rights to commercialize the data in the Ontario and Manitoba land registries, subject to government approval.  This gives us unique insights into all the land and mortgage transactions in these jurisdictions.  We further complement such data assets with other partner data to create fulsome property data sets to meet the needs of lenders and real estate professionals in the property ecosystem. 

3. 2021 was a record-breaking year for real estate in Canada. What are some data trends that our customers are looking for to help them understand the trends in the housing market?  

In the Ontario market specifically, there has not been a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of the buyers that are participating in the market – whether it be foreign buyers, first time homebuyers, or multi-property owners.  Most of the analysis have been either survey-based or anecdotal.  Understanding the buyer profile can help better identify and forecast buying behaviour, which may in turn support policy-making at the government level, lending decisions for financial institutions, and real estate professionals in terms of marketing, property intelligence and lead generation. 

Since 2021, Teranet has demonstrated our thought leadership in the Ontario real estate space by filling many of these data gaps. Through the Market Insight Reports, we have published our analysis of: 

  • Buyer classification: segmented all the purchase activities based on buyer type – first time homebuyers, movers, multi-property owners, and others 
  • For the “movers” buyer type, identified where they moved to and from.  This analysis addressed the many newspaper headlines about anecdotal accounts of Torontonians moving out of the city to rural areas 
  • For the multi-property owners, their portfolio of real estate owned could indicate properties owned as principal residence, for investment, or for leisure. We seek to understand the magnitude of their real-estate portfolio, their buying preferences, and their purchasing patterns. Our next report, due to be published in May 2022, will feature this analysis. Subscribe to our Market Insight Reports to ensure you receive the report as soon as it’s released   

All of these analyses garnered much attention in the press, as well as interest from many real estate and lending industry participants who wish to have a deeper understanding of our analysis to inform their specific business needs. 

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