How did you end up working in property? Completely by accident. I’d never had strong sense of vocation but always had a strong sense of purpose. Having wandered a little for a few years, I bumped into an old contact who had just opened a brand new agency in Headingley and he offered me a commission only job, selling and renting. This is where I learnt my lessons. I co-founded Morgans in 1997. It is now the leading city living agency in Leeds and the business has been at the forefront of the urban revolution in the city for over 20 years. We work with individual landlords, private developers, housing associations and institutions I am a big believer in civic life and responsibilities.
How is the housing market faring in your area? The city centre market in Leeds is very strong and held back only by the low supply levels which have defined market conditions since the slump of 2007. Typical residents have always been young professionals, mainly aged between 22 and 35 but we fully expect to see more down sizers move into the city through this next generation of development.
Are there any up-and-coming places? Whilst historic activity in the city centre has focused around the established districts such as the riverside and the business district, this is fast changing in areas such as South Bank, Hunslet Riverside and the Northern Quarter, where significant new development is coming forward.
If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why? There’s a standing joke in the industry that the typical tenant stays longer than the typical housing minister and it’s sadly true. So, I’d start by committing to a meaningful term. Then, I’d bring the industry brains together, to work out exactly what it is that’s broken. Then I’d set about fixing it with a 10 year view. It’s fundamentally wrong in my view, that housing (along with education and healthcare) is allowed to get kicked around in the political system.
What are the best and worst things about working in property? The best things about working in property are making new markets where everyone says it will never work, and looking after our clients property interests over the long term. The worst of it has to be the incessant introduction of new legislation around the lettings industry in particular, much of which we feel is ill-conceived and unnecessary. That said, we fully support the notion that the lettings industry should be regulated.
Where and what is your ideal home? That’s easy. My wife and I have spent the last year converting a former office space on the top floor of a listed warehouse on the riverside in Leeds city centre and we absolutely love it.