Q: How did you end up in estate agency?
A: it may sound like a cliche, but it was my passion for period houses and listed buildings that really pushed me into property. I studied Politics & Law at Newcastle University, and the city and its magnificent Georgian architecture made a big and lasting impact. I didn’t want to go into law and I certainly wasn’t going to go into politics. An invitation to join Blenkin & Co in 2006 was one that arrived at exactly the right time. I have never looked back and, in 2016, took the position of managing director.
Q: How is the housing market faring in York and the surrounding area?
A: The markets across most of the UK are subdued but in York and the surrounding area it remains buoyant, particularly the price band between £450,000 and £925,000. The supply of the county’s best houses, large and small, continues to fall short of demand and this is supporting further price growth. Stock levels are historically low, but with a bit of resolve and diplomacy, transactions are generally progressing to completion. Over the £750,000 threshold, London and international buyers are the biggest players, although strong local buyers do come good at all levels of the market. Historically, the markets viewed as ‘traditional’ and the “golden triangles” are becoming less defined as larger companies advocate working from home. Who would have thought a London lawyer could and would work from the middle of the North York Moors? Market towns continue to perform well – Malton, Helmsley and Easingwold in particular.
Q: Are there any up-and-coming places?
A: The rise of Malton has shifted significant interest east of the A64 towards the very pretty villages of Westow, Howsham, Burythorpe, Langton and beyond to the Wolds. Driffield and Beverley are both towns that are making headway, and we must not forget that this wide, barely populated region across the East Riding of Yorkshire boasts some fabulous period property.
Q:If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why?
A: Stamp duty changes brought in by George Osbourne have really changed the landscape of the housing market; if this goes unchanged people will move less often and downsize later in life. Clearly this is not good for the movement of people up and down the property chain and the economy, but those that stay put generally improve and extend instead. With this in mind I think the planning process needs massive reform; less regulation and inflexibilty is needed to integrate eco friendly energy into listed buildings, in particular.
Q: What are the best and worst things about working in property?
A: There are lots of daily highs and lows. The best feeling is getting deals over the line and enabling families to move into their dream house. The lows are when deals fall through - the buying system in England is broken and a Scottish style system would be welcomed by most professionals.
Q: Where and what your ideal home?
A former vicarage or rectory steeped in history that is crying out for sensitive improvement, ideally close to Malton where my wife now works, but commutable to my office in York.