James Pank, director at Auction House West Yorkshire, the region’s leading auctioneers who work closely with estate agent, Manning Stainton..
How did you end up in the property auction business? Originally, I chose a career in surveying as I enjoy meeting new people and didn’t want to be stuck in an office every day. Having worked for five years as an asset manager for an industrial fund, an opportunity presented itself at Auction House and I thought, why not? At the time I didn’t have any aspirations to become an auctioneer, but things progressed quickly and here I am.
How is the housing market faring in Leeds and the surrounding area? We sell properties throughout Yorkshire and the performance of the housing market across this region varies massively. On the whole, the picture is a very positive one at present, with prices continuing to rise at a steady rate. Several parts of Leeds are seeing house prices well in excess of the 2007 peak, but this certainly isn’t the same everywhere with some areas struggling to achieve any capital growth at all.
Are there any up-and-coming places? I think parts of east Leeds such as Garforth and Crossgates are areas to watch at the moment. There is a huge amount of money being invested building new homes and improving the local infrastructure there and the quality of the local shops seems to be improving, with new coffee shops and restaurants opening. The average house price in Crossgates is £156,000, so it’s still a relatively affordable place to buy.
What are the best and worst things about working in property auctions? The best things? Where do I start? People tend to come to us when they are unsure how to value something, so the range of properties we deal with is enormous. Churches, blocks of flats, stables, toilet blocks and disused water tanks have all been sold in our auction rooms. The real bonus though is seeing the face of a client in the auction room when you bring the
hammer down having obtained a sale price far beyond their expectations. The worst? People constantly asking me to perform on a night out mistakenly thinking that a property auction is similar to an episode of storage wars.
Where and what is your ideal home? Anywhere within walking distance of all my friends and family (as long as there’s a large gate at the end of the long driveway to keep them out when required). The house itself wouldn’t need to be huge, but a water park, five-aside football pitch, golf course and adventure playground in the garden would go down very well indeed.
*Auction House West Yorshire holds seven multi-lot auctions each year at the Elland Road Stadium, Leeds, www.auctionhouse.co.uk/westyorkshire