How did you end up working in property? My interest in property began as a young boy. My father was a chartered surveyor who, in the latter years of his career, worked in the Valuation Office in Wakefield. We used to walk through the local village of Woolley after he finished work quite often and admire some of the grander houses whilst putting values on them. After a non-vocational degree at St Andrew's University, I decided to enrol in a Postgraduate Diploma in Property Management at Sheffield Hallam University. I then qualified as a Chartered Surveyor at Sanderson Weatherall in 1999 then went travelling overseas for a year. When I came back I joined Chesterton in residential property valuations. Our team then opened the Leeds office of Allsop LLP in May 2002; the rest is history.
How is the housing market faring? In Yorkshire is generally very healthy. Capital price growth in the last couple of years has varied between marginal and substantial depending on area.To no surprise, the best performing locations are Ilkley, Harrogate, Wetherby and York. It has also been encouraging to see the re-emergence of the apartment market in Leeds city centre. There is a much stronger and sustainable market than it was before the 2007 downturn, mainly due to the wider cross-section of buyers for example, not just investors but also a good mix of owner occupiers and parents of students, but also because the convenience of city centre living is now properly supported by a far better range of city centre amenities.We now live in an want-now-have-now culture which is reflected in the residential property market. Demand for newly built properties is very strong indeed, Established residential areas with improving amenities which are within easy commuting distance, by car or train, from Leeds city centre including the likes of Rothwell, Lofthouse, Crossgates, Woodhouse and Farsley. House prices in all of these areas have further room for strong price growth.
Are there any up-and-coming places? Kirkstall is certainly one to watch, due to Kirkstall Forge and the new train station from which the connection time into the centre of Leeds is nine minutes. The village of Wheldrake, which is further away from the centre of York than the surrounding villages of Bishopthorpe and Heslington, will continue to see healthy price rises in the coming month
If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why? This Government has introduced some very punitive measures on landlords including the introduction of the three stamp duty surcharge on second homes purchases in and the gradual withdrawal of tax relief by 2020. The thresholds on stamp duty need addressing, particularly on higher value properties, as does inheritance tax on principal family houses.