Property People Q&A: Nina Barker

Nina Barker
Nina Barker
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Nina Barker is Head of Northern Residential Sales and Marketing at CBRE

How did you end up working in property? After joining a local estate agency to answer the phone over a summer holiday from university, I realised I’d found my calling and decided to defer my education in favour of

work experience and pursuing a career in the property industry. I have now been in the property sector for 17 years. I spent 12 years at a Leeds-based surveying firm, specialising in residential development consultancy and have recently joined CBRE. I am responsible for development consultancy and new homes sales and marketing across principal Northern cities.

How is the market for land faring? Due to the demand for housing stock within many of the boroughs in the north of England, the suburban land market prices remain high in areas commutable to major employment zones, such as the city centres in Leeds and Manchester. We are finding that offers are in some cases received prior to marketing but that competitive tension is increased by pursuing best bids and informal tenders reflecting buyers confidence.

What are the biggest obstacles for developers at the moment? Developers face many barriers, including the availability of land, build cost vs market values. Following the last market downturn there has been a shortage in the necessary skills in the construction and development sector, which has then impacted on demand and supply. Planning gain (highways/Section 106) and lack of resources at local authorities is resulting in a slower rate of permission grants – applications are down approx. 25 per cent but the length of time to process applications has increased.

If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why? Only around 11 per cent of land in England has been built on - we are simply not building enough and there isn’t enough diversity between the small and large house builders. I would also look to simplify the planning system and enforce pro-active local authorities to have a positive effect on sustainable brownfield development. This would also have a positive effect on employment for all involved.

What is the What are the best thing about working in property? The satisfaction of finding people their new home in addition to contributing to making cities vibrant and exciting places that people want to invest in.

What is your ideal home? An urban house with outside space. Located in a sustainable community with good transport links and green open space. This doesn’t yet exist, but I believe it’s coming.