– Story by Joe Leary Photography by Lia Crowe
He is featured in Who’s Who in Canada,
Who’s Who in America, BC and the US, as well as Louis Rukeyser’s Who’s Who. But the name Ozzie Jurock is synonymous with real estate. Ozzie has played a vital part in leading the real estate ranks over the years, including taking on roles as president of Royal LePage Canada and Royal LePage Asia, based in Taiwan.
He’s been chairman and CEO of NRS Block Bros. and has served on the boards of the BC Real Estate Council, the Vancouver Real Estate Board, the Quality Council of BC and the advisory board of BCIT, and done stints such as president of the real estate boards of Burnaby, Coquitlam and New Westminster.
He is also a best-selling author and an in-demand speaker, giving more than 80 speeches per year. He has appeared regularly on TV and continues to air on CKNW radio as he has for the past 26 years.
Ozzie is a fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada and is one of this country’s leading business motivators. And that’s just the thumbnail sketch. With such a loaded CV, one has to ask how it all began.
“I came to Canada in 1966, fell in love with it and became a Canadian as soon as I could,” Ozzie says. “I started in the hotel business as a waiter at the Hotel Vancouver and within a year I was the maître d’ at the brand new Devonshire Seafood House.”
Here, he says, he saw people who were “doing well” financially.
“There was the head of a brokerage house who had a monthly lunch account of $400—and I was making $300 a month. I thought to myself, ‘What does he have that I can learn?’ I didn’t have the education and I certainly didn’t have the standing, but I kept watching him.”
When Ozzie asked the question “What is out there for me?” people often suggested he get into the real estate business.
“So I got the license and became a realtor and through a series of very fortuitous events, I [eventually] became the president of Royal LePage Canada with 10,000 employees.”
Next, it was time to go solo.
“By 1993, I decided that I wanted to go out on my own. I started writing a real estate newsletter and then went more into real estate investing,” Ozzie recalls. “Around then, we [launched] two major conferences that we’ve continued doing for 27 years—one in the spring, one in the fall.”
The one constant takeaway from a conversation with Ozzie Jurock is that he’s a visionary, as fully evidenced by his early forecasts.
“I wrote a book in 1998 called Forget About Location, Location, Location! In 1963, the average home price was $13,500. By 1998, it was $278,000 and if you extrapolated that for the next 35 years— as I said in my book—every house in Vancouver would be worth $5 million. Everybody thought, ‘What are you smoking?’ But I never changed my view. Two years ago on the West Side, the average price clocked in at $4.4 million.”
Ozzie says the current real estate market is a veritable hotbed.
“Right now the market is an absolute madhouse,” he states emphatically. “It’s on fire in a number of different areas.” As an example, he says, Etobicoke, Ontario is up 27 per cent in single-family home prices; in fact, there are nine areas in Ontario that are up over 30 per cent.
“And we’re not talking Toronto—we’re talking, like, Barrie,” he says. “This is unusual, but it is exactly what I forecast.”
His basic philosophy, he says, is: “Inflation is number one; number two is supply and demand, and number three is immigrant/migration. You read that on the basis of affordability, Vancouver and Toronto are the numbers five and six worst cities in the world, yet that doesn’t determine prices. Vancouver has never been affordable in over 40 years. If you wanted to live in Vancouver or Hong Kong or Manhattan or Berlin, you had to pay over 65 per cent of your income towards a mortgage. Vancouver is actually better off than most places, but it’s a worldwide phenomenon.”
As active as Ozzie remains on the real estate circuit, his life is a split between work and play.
“Every year I go for a three-month cruise with my wife,” he says. “We love cruising. I have a boat, and in the summer months we go to places like Secret Cove [on the Sunshine Coast], and in the winter we have a house in Kimberley and I ski. But in between, when we have our big events, I work very hard.”
And for his personal philosophy on living in the current environment: “This is a new world; truth is in, bluffing is out. As Jordan Peterson says, ‘Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie.’ When you look at the world right now—stay committed to yourself, stay committed to your family. I’ve been married 53 years and I’m proud of it. My mother used to always say—and it’s an old quote—‘Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.’ Just make sure that your actions are congruent with what you say.”
That aptly describes Ozzie Jurock and by his own description of life, it’s been a charmed existence: “I could not have written a scenario that could have been more exciting.”