Global luxury brokerage The Agency has announced its 31st franchise office in Muskoka, Ontario, the company told Inman exclusively on Tuesday.
The new Canadian office will be led by brokers and managing partners Steve and Katia Bailey. In recent weeks, the brokerage has announced a number of new franchises in Canada, including in Ottawa and Montreal, establishing a strong presence in the region that also encompasses locations in Toronto, Victoria, Calgary, Oakville, Kitchener, Cowichan and Vancouver.
The Agency CEO and Founder Mauricio Umansky cited Muskoka’s status as an in-demand second-home market as a primary reason for the company’s expansion there.
“The demand for luxury second-home properties in Muskoka, combined with the natural splendor and the desire for waterfront living, made The Agency Muskoka an obvious next hub for our expansion across Canada,” Umansky said in a statement. “The recreational hot spot has become the leading market in Canada for affluent cottage living and we are delighted to further service this Canadian sanctuary.”
“The renowned and flourishing destination of Muskoka has gained recognition as a world-class travel destination situated a quick two hours from Toronto,” Jim Ramsay, executive vice president of franchise sales, added. “The Agency looks forward to satisfying the demand of luxury buyers seeking a home in the crown jewel of high-end real estate in Canada.”
Steve and Katia Bailey, a married couple, are brokers and managing partners of The Agency in Waterloo, Oakville, and now Muskoka. Steve has earned more than $1 billion in sales transactions over the course of his roughly 15-year career. He was born in Prince George, British Columbia and mostly grew up in Oakville, as well as other parts of the world, due to his father’s banking career.
Steve Bailey founded and ran The Bailey Team at RE/MAX for more than 14 years prior to joining The Agency, with the team ultimately ranking as the no. 9 RE/MAX team in Canada and no. 21 globally before he made the switch to The Agency.
In 2018 he stepped down from his position on the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), the region’s regulatory real estate council, amid investigations into accusations that he had violated the council’s Code of Ethics and portions of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (a law meant to protect public interests) during separate transactions in 2016 and 2017.
Steve denied the accusations at the time, and though he was initially facing a public, two-week-long discipline hearing, RECO instead canceled the hearing and came to an undisclosed deal with Steve. At the time, the council pointed to its policy that allows the regulatory body to cancel discipline hearings in the event that an agreed statement of facts (ASF) can be reached with the real estate agent in question.
On Tuesday, the Agency declined to comment on the code of ethics issue.
Katia has more than 17 years of experience in the industry and served as operations manager for The Bailey Team at RE/MAX. She was born in Portugal, and is therefore, fluent in Portuguese, but moved to Canada with her family as a toddler.
“The Agency is making its mark across prominent destinations in Canada and The Agency’s latest franchise office in Muskoka will further differentiate the brand from other renowned brokerages in Canada,” Steve Bailey said in a statement.
“Having spent the majority of my life living in Canada, I am thrilled to be leading a team in one of the most sought-after regions in the country,” Katia Bailey added.