Diary of an estate agent: Fitzrovia

This week a Fitzrovia estate agent gets ready to run a half marathon and debates the Government's Help-to-Buy scheme
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Diary of an estate agent
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I’m doing a half marathon in three weeks — that means no alcohol and long, early morning runs in Regent’s Park and Hyde Park. My son was born with pyloric stenosis, a muscular disorder affecting digestion, and at six weeks old was successfully operated on at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital, so I am running to raise money for them.

After my run today, my first appointment is with a client who bought a building not far from our office. I meet him on site and he asks for advice about how best to develop the place. I tell him I’d recommend splitting it into flats, as there is little or no outside space, and also because that way he won’t be putting all his eggs in one basket.

It’s great to be involved at such an early stage and in this case the architect has been forward-thinking, having already supplied drawings.

Another early start. At 8am I meet an applicant for a new position in our commercial division at the Charlotte Street Hotel. It turns out he is doing the same half marathon so we exchange training tips before beginning the interview.

I am often asked whether I think the market is too hot, and today is no exception. I believe all the signs are that it will continue to grow. Money is cheap to borrow, there is still a housing shortage, more land is not being made available, and new Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is committed to keeping interest rates low in the short-to-medium term. Plus, there is a lot of foreign money still pouring into London. However, that’s what we all thought in 2007.

Ultimately, you can never predict the top of the market. A rising market sees people keen to buy, so it’s a good time to sell, too, especially if you think an increase in interest rates or another downturn might put you under pressure. My advice is either to cash in while you are ahead or, if you can afford it, hold on for the long term. After all, history has shown property to be a great investment.

Robert Burwood, who heads up our busy Covent Garden department, has just been instructed on a two-bedroom flat overlooking the Royal Opera House with very unusual decoration themed on living in Northern Cyprus. He is determined to find the right buyer as these flats do not come up very often.

Robert is known for being in the right place at the right time and getting instructions from unexpected sources. A few years back his hairdresser told him of a client (a popular club singer in the Sixties) who had a flat to sell. Within a week, Robert found a buyer who wanted it for accommodation for his staff in a nearby restaurant.

I leave work a little early today to meet a neighbour who works at an embassy. He is going to introduce me to the head of property there, which I am looking forward to, as the property he has accumulated over the years will be very interesting.

This morning I go to the new Ivy Club in Covent Garden, which has a spectacular glass lift. I meet lots of high-net worth individuals, one of whom is huge in property development, and we exchange business cards.

When I get home I find out that my son, now almost six, has been made school councillor for his year.

I complete my longest run, 12½ miles, around Regent’s and Hyde Park this morning, which makes me feel more confident about the race. I could have gone further but I have to work.

As I hobble into the office with stiffening leg muscles, the team are talking about help for first-time buyers under the Government’s scheme. We agree it is a good thing — but also that it’s wise for them to leave headroom in their budgets in case interest rates rise.

I check up on the Cyprus-themed Covent Garden flat and Robert already has two offers, including one at the full asking price. It’s great delivering good news for our client for the weekend. No team drinks for me tonight. I keep telling myself it will all be worth it… only 16 days to go.

Jonathan Hudson is a director of Hudsons Property, based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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