Nicola Spencer is head of Spencer, The Estate Agent, Sheffield, www.spencersestateagents.co.uk.
Q: How is the housing market faring in Sheffield? Sheffield has always had a remarkably robust property market, even through troubled times, we haven’t seen the disastrous effects like some smaller cities and towns. Currently we have plenty of first-time buyers looking and the Help to Buy has definitely encouraged some to the market. Aspirational movers are also on the up and a shortage of supply in the most popular areas means that there are multiple bids pushing the values higher, sometimes with extraordinary results. Largely this is led by school catchment. Investors are cautious with the changes in regulations and taxation, but are still out there in their droves buying particularly in the city centre.
Q: Are there any up-and-coming places? Not long ago, the idea of living in Sheffield City Centre was laughable, but now it is affordable, convenient, diverse, and on the rise in popularity. The buyers are as diverse as the properties and the long term prospect of the city centre is such that it is worth looking into.
Q: If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why? The regulation of the estate agency business is a must. We have been regulated and licensed for decades and have always felt that the credibility of being audited and regulated should attract more conscientious clients and discourage those with the wrong intentions. If landlords were licensed and so were agents, we would not need such heavy over protection of tenants, which would lead to a fairer overall management of property, tenancies, monitoring of bad advertising, and would improve the industry overall. And the internet agencies would need to comply.
Q: What are the best and worst things about working in property? Every single day is different so life is never dull. My worst day ever was attending a repossession on behalf of a bank about 20 years ago. The lady had mental health problems following the suicide of a loved one and had started to collect animals for comfort. When she was repossessed, the RSPCA took all her animals at the same time and my heart broke for her. On the flip side, many people feel super excited to move and can’t wait to get their keys for their new home so it is great to hand them over at the end of their journey
Q: Where and what your ideal home? If price and location and planners were not a consideration I would have a Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater-inspired house surrounded by hills and views. I would also love a penthouse apartment in the thick of it with a huge roof terrace and with extensive city views. If money were no object though, the apartment would be in New York, Paris and the FLW would likely be in Mykonos...one can dream