Posted by & filed under Opinion.

Bermondsey is back on the map with its glorious river views, cobbled streets, old railway arches and fab transport links.

It has a very different feel to lots of other parts of South London, quaint, artistic and somewhat industrial but then busy enough to feel very much part of Zone 1. My first experience of Bermondsey was as a fresh faced ex-pat from Leeds, visiting a hairdresser on Jamaica Road, I couldn’t quite get over how different Bermondsey was from Clapham where I then lived.

Historically the Docklands suffered extreme damage in World War 2 and then many of the desecrated wharfs and warehouses remained empty until the early 1980s, and fast forward to 2018 they are now home to some of the most opulent residential properties in London.

Bermondsey is a host, not just to affluent warehouse conversions, but also pre-war, post-war, ex -local authority properties, period properties and now many new riverside developments. There is something to suit every person’s property palette!

The transport links are great too, with the Jubilee line, South Bermondsey Station, London Bridge on the door step and a stone’s throw from Canada Water, Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays.

The Docklands is home to some exquisite restaurants such as Le Point De La Tour, José, Goodman and Scoff & Banter to name a few. There are also parks such as Southwark Park and Bermondsey Spa Gardens and great markets such as Borough Market, Maltby Street Market and Bermondsey Antiques Market.

For me the pièce de résistance is that Bermondsey is very close to The Globe Tavern in Borough Market and anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Bridget Jones and some of my favourite scenes were filmed outside the pub and her fictional flat actually exists and this is the one-bedroom flat above The Globe Tavern.

The Telegraph published an article in September 2016 about whether Bridget could still afford her 1-bedroom flat:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/buy/could-bridget-jones-still-afford-that-flat-above-borough-market/

Estimating the value now, I would gage it as being between £750,000 and £770,000, they anticipated that in 2001 is was worth approximately £190,000 which is around a 300% increase in value, which shows the transformation of the Docklands, which bares similarities to the “gentrification” of Brixton, which was something that I mentioned in a previous blog:

https://www.cherrypickpeople.com/2017/12/11/the-gentrification-of-brixton/

So this brings me back to the original question

“Why would I want to work in Bermondsey?”

Simple answer, I want to sell Bridget Jones flat!

In all seriousness, why wouldn’t you want to work in Bermondsey?! it has such great amenities and transport links, house prices and rents have risen significantly and on top of that as an estate agent, I think it’s great to see such a mixture of well-established boutique independent agencies working next to and alongside the big corporate agencies! The Docklands and Bermondsey, don’t follow the usual structure, they are diverse and culturally explorative. Viva The Docklands!

I would love to speak to property professionals in and around The Docklands as I currently have a number of opportunities for both senior sales and lettings negotiators who are looking for a fresh challenge with either boutique independent agents or larger corporate agencies. The packages are starting at £18,000 going up to £25,000 with healthy commission structures, the time is now to kick start your career!

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Bermondsey, do you live there? Work there? Socialise there? What makes it special to you?

 

 

Posted by & filed under Opinion.

Overlooked:

• To fail to notice or consider
• To ignore deliberately or indulgently; disregard

Underappreciated

• Fail to value sufficiently highly
• To not hold in sufficiently high esteem.

These are the words that I am hearing over and over again this month from candidates who seemingly work for exceptional companies.
Many of them have been with their companies for a substantial amount of time, however are unhappy by the way in which they are being treated.
I went to a seminar a few weeks ago where they stated that employment is at its highest since records began and many job portals are boasting that they are at their highest level of job postings.
I have also noticed that many of these experienced candidates who are feeling underappreciated and over looked, start the process of looking for a job and then go quiet. I think for many of them, this is a confidence issue. They know they are not happy, they then get overwhelmed by the number of jobs available to them and then think:

• “What if things are not better?”
• “How will I fit into this company’s culture?”
• “Will I bank?”
• “What happens if I don’t bank money?”

Across the board, we are gaining new clients who have come to us as they are struggling to successfully recruit themselves, they have offered candidate’s positions and then these candidates have failed to start the positions instead favouring the counter offer, or have just decided to say nothing to their current employer and stay where they are.

The counter offer and making the right choice when moving company, is actually something that both my director Lema and I have written about in previous blogs, as it is something that is very current in today’s market:

https://www.cherrypickpeople.com/2016/08/23/6-reasons-accepting-counter-offer-rarely-good-idea/

https://www.cherrypickpeople.com/2016/09/21/changing-jobs-right-reasons/

As recruiters, this has meant that we are just as busy, if not busier than we were and with there being more jobs but less committed candidates, it means a lot more search and selection and effective headhunting.

To me the current situation raises three main questions:

• Can employers do more to engage with and retain existing employees?
• Do experienced candidates need to have more confidence in the value of their skillset and what they have to offer a company?
• Once a company have recruited a member of staff what can they do to make the on boarding process smoother to ensure that the member of staff joins and stays with that company?”

These are all things that we as a company specialise in, so rather than just securing our clients the right employees, we can help with the on boarding process and look at how to retain existing employees.
With candidates, we aim to build the kind of relationships with them which allows them to understand their worth, meaning that they make better and more informed decisions, that in the long term, they will be happy with.

What are your thoughts? Are you struggling with employee engagement and retention? Or are you looking to make a move but are lacking the confidence in either yourself or the market?
If so it would be great to have a chat about this, feel free to get in touch with me, you can send me a message on here or drop me an email at Lisa.Clarke@cherrypickpeople.com or call 0203 5877 051.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Opinion.

Every time I glance over these stories, I always say to myself that one day when I have a few minutes, I’m going to read these as they just sound too good to be true don’t they?!

If I could get a house for £5, imagine how many I could buy in a year…

The yields would be out of this world…

I’d never have to work again…

Definitely too good to be true, I’ll just read it another time…

Well today was the day!

Looking into this in closer detail a lady named Marie won a £845,000 manor house in Lancashire, tickets were being raffled for £2 each so she bought herself 20 and won not only the house but the title of Lady Melling of Melling Mannor.

There have been a few stories in the past few months of similar types of raffles in London, but as far as I can see none have been successful as yet.

A company has capitalised on this recently and describe themselves as “the UK’s first property competition platform”

It is legal to run a competition for profit as long as there is a level of skill demonstrated by participants so they must answer a question correctly in order to enter the raffle. The question however cannot be deemed as too easy, as if not conducted in accordance with The Gambling Commission rules sellers can land themselves in trouble with the law.

The seller must achieve enough ticket sales to cover the value of their home, otherwise a cash prize will be offered instead, the fee charged is 5% + VAT if the sale price is achieved however they “aim to sell for a little more than open market value”.

This would obviously appeal to buyers as the prospect of buying a house for a price that can be likened to the cost of a “Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato” is a dream come true but what’s in it for the sellers?

They end up paying more that they normally would in standard estate agency fees and would not benefit from the local expertise, in-depth knowledge, help and support that a good estate provides as part of their daily role.

From what I can gather the sellers who have successfully sold by using this process, have used this as a last resort after failing to sell through traditional methods. I think the prospect of having thousands of people purchasing tickets to buy their homes is appealing however based on London prices, is it that appealing?

Based on an achieved sale price of £600,000 with a fee of 5% not including VAT, that would be an astronomical fee of £30,000 (not including VAT).

Do you think this will catch on?

I asked a similar question in a previous blog I wrote Online estate agency vs traditional estate agency

Having worked in estate agency, I have always believed in the value of a knowledgeable estate agent, who knows the market, the neighbours, the schools and amenities. Someone who is passionate about property and people and sees the value in what they do, I know that my clients feel the same.

So after reading this, if a role in property appeals to you, or you are already in property and would like to have a chat about your next steps, please do get in touch.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts?

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Opinion.

The gentrification of Brixton is something I had not actually sat down and thought about for a while, however I went to a comedy night in Battersea recently and the headline act Mr Dane Baptiste made light of it, which got me thinking….

This month marks the 5-year anniversary of my move to London from Leeds and takes me to over 10 and a half years in the property sector, starting my career in mortgages, moving onto Estate Agency and then now property recruitment.
What have I seen in my years in property…. Price increases and, as I say in most of my blogs, the increase in calibre of Estate Agency.

Here is a link to one of my previous blogs;  https://www.cherrypickpeople.com/2017/07/24/its-all-gone-south/

In the first Property Agency that I worked at, I remember walking into the kitchen and hearing the manager and the senior negotiator discussing how they knew that Brixton was on its way up and as soon as the larger agencies spotted the potential in that area, we would see house prices go up and the gentrification process would begin.

By definition gentrification means:
“the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste”

So what have we seen in the past 5 years:

Has Brixton become middle class?

Has Brixton changed for the better, the worse or are we still undecided?

Is it the new Shoreditch? Is it even trying to be the new Shoreditch?

Is it unaffordable?

I personally think Brixton has changed for the better, the increase in house prices has helped many of the vendors that I worked with 5 years ago, they were able to make the most of the money that they had made on their properties. Many of them were able to move further out to areas such as Croydon, which has fantastic transport links, often buying bigger properties, without having to take a mortgage out and still having funds left over. Many people were selling their homes for over double what they bought it for.

Having pop ups such as ‘Brixton Pop’, the ever changing Brixton market, lots of trendy bars and diverse restaurants around has brought money into the area which you can see has been invested back into the community.

The community is still very culturally diverse and the Brixton spirit is present and is as strong as ever.

Looking at house prices too, I remember a 4-bedroom house on Saltoun Road, being on the market for £900,000 and many people claiming that it was overpriced and that “anyone who bought it must be mad as they wouldn’t make money on it” – that house eventually sold for £875,000 buy only a few years has passed and it is now worth approximately £1,200,000 which looks like a pretty good investment to me!

Brixton is full of little gems like this and with house prices still increasing, it makes it a really exciting place to work.

I currently have a few opportunities in the Brixton area for senior sales and lettings negotiators who are looking for a fresh challenge and to experience the changing face of Brixton and its surrounding areas first hand. With packages starting at £16,000 going up to £24,000 and healthy commission structures, there is no time like the present, where will you be in 5 years’ time?

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the gentrification of Brixton and would love to know what changes you have seen over the years.

Posted by & filed under Industry News, Opinion.

“Skills shortage” is something that I have become accustomed to hearing all too often over the past few years and even more so since the Brexit decision.

This opinion is voiced either in the newspapers, at networking events and while engaging with clients. So what is really going on and are we doing enough about resolving the issue?

Construction Skills Shortage and what is causing it?

The construction industry is one of the big players within the UK Economy, generating around £90bn year on year. It has around 2.9 million people working within it, which accounts for circa 11% of employment within the UK.

There is no doubt that since the crash of 2008 there have been fewer people joining the Property and Construction industry, as they are securing employment in more “stable” industries.

In addition to the potential loss of migrant workers post Brexit and economic instability in the UK impacting recruitment within construction. We also find ourselves with 27% of construction workers over the age of 50 and approaching the retirement age. With a lacking pipeline of people joining the industry and an ageing workforce, we will find that the skills gained by the older workers will retire with them reinforcing the shortage.

8% (175,000) of workers in the industry are EU nationals, with Brexit slowly creeping up on us, we need to look at how this is going to affect the industry. What are senior figures within the industry doing to ensure that migrant workers are protected? Will we be looking at the potential of an Australian based points system to ensure that we have skilled migrants within the UK? Getting the right deal to protect the industry is paramount, otherwise we could see the UK’s £500bn infrastructure project slowly coming to a standstill.

The issue is not just with the blue collar labour roles, but also the professional white collar side of the business. From speaking to our clients we find that the need to actively headhunt and keep in touch with our network is more important than ever. The majority of vacancies our clients are looking to fill have become harder to satisfy, due to the candidates lacking in the correct skills, qualifications or experience.

With the demand for commercial space and housing across the country increasing, the requirement for staffing, skills and experience within the industry has never been greater.

Are we doing enough about this?

Irrespective of a poor pipeline of workers into the industry, are employers doing enough to help the situation?

On average a larger proportion of construction companies do not provide training compared to other industries, relying on apprenticeship providers to carry out the training, only to put apprentices back with other job seekers once trained. Apprentices are therefore facing a problem of not having the experience to match the training.

The construction industry needs to make a commitment to apprentices making the construction industry more desirable to younger people over other options. Highlighting a clear line of opportunity and earning potential once training has been completed is paramount.

Companies such as Berkeley Homes, Redrow and Kier having specific departments set up for apprentices and training. On the Thames Gateway Project, construction firms have been asked to commit to 1 in 50 places to be given to apprentices. CrossRail and other major organisations have set out plans alike.

A clear commitment from both the public and private sector on projects can help them identify skills gaps early enough to ensure suitable people are trained and are available, ready for when they are needed. Rather than just employing ‘value for money’ skilled workers when recruiting simply adding fuel to the fire.

Closer alliances between businesses and colleges can ensure that students are being educated on the career options available in construction and taught the correct skills to ensure up-coming shortages alleviated.

In addition, other options at grass roots level could be, taking candidates from across the property sector working in different functions such as Customer Services, Administration and Sales etc. We regularly meet exceptional candidates who are motivated to working in construction that could bridge this gap in the short to medium term, with a bit of development and training from the construction industry.

More experienced professionals, with project or contracts management experience from other industries making the transition over into construction, with the right support could make the transition into construction far more swiftly, helping with the issue from the top down

As an industry, we need to work together to make an effort to appeal to both ends of the spectrum. On one side, guiding people to choose an apprenticeship/training in construction with a clear pathway for personal and professional development in the industry.

The other side, conveying to the construction industry the long term value in employing and training apprentices and other experienced professionals to assist with the skills shortage.

Sources
http://www.independent.co.uk/property
https://www.theguardian.com/business/
https://www.theguardian.com/money/property
https://www.ft.com/
http://www.ciob.org/media-centre
https://www.ons.gov.uk/
https://www.rics.org/uk/

 

Posted by & filed under Opinion.

It has been a challenging market for the residential lettings industry in recent times, with rents dropping for the first time in six years in the first quarter of this year. It has been suggested that this was down to the pandemonium created late year, with many landlords rushing to buy before the stamp duty surcharge came into play, this has caused an influx of properties available to rent. It has also been reported that there was a drop in the number of tenants registering, which obviously had an effect too.

I’ve spoken to many of my clients here in South London about this over the past few months as despite this they have achieved record figures. When I pressed them for more information as to how they had achieved these record months, they attributed this to taking the change in the market as a positive opportunity to hone their skillset rather than focussing on the doom and gloom that has been portrayed in the media. They said that they had taken the time to invest in training and development and employees were learning more about their vendors, applicants/tenants and the market in general. In turn they have passed the benefits on to their clients by educating them on market conditions thus allowing them to offer a more bespoke, knowledgeable and trusted service.

When asked about the future for residential lettings there was a common theme that seemed to crop up, which is the abolition of lettings fees. There is definitely a concern in industry in regards to this, as many see this as a significant challenge in months to come. The fees are being scrapped but in reality they are not, the referencing still needs to be done, the inventory need to be undertaken etc, these jobs do not cease to exist because the fees have been abolished.

The bulk of these fees will no doubt be passed on indirectly to the landlords, by passing these fees onto the landlord the concern is that this will cause landlords to shop around more than ever, thus meaning that there will also be pressure on residential lettings agents to keep their agency fees competitive, and in order to do this they will have to absorb a portion of the fees. This will put a squeeze on income for estate agents as they will have less money coming in and as mentioned before the residential lettings support staff will still need to be paid. Rents will no doubt rise also due to the increased agency fees, which could also lead to an increase in landlords renting privately, which will lead to added pressure on the lettings agents.

Yes, the next few months will be a difficult few months, however now more than ever, continuing to educate landlords on the market conditions and the significant role that residential lettings support staff play is important. As after the initial knock on effects, which will no doubt cause landlord to shop around based on fee, we should then begin to shift move back toward service again.

Only time will tell but the one certainty is, we have seen difficult markets before and we will see them again, estate agency has always survived as people will always need a roof over their heads.

What is your take on the future of the industry?