In early 2007, to the annoyance of some of my professional colleagues, I suggested that we may have witnessed the top of the housing market. The FT were brave enough to run the story and it got me my first interview on the Today program. At that stage there had been no queues outside Northern Rock branches and we hadn’t heard of a ‘credit crunch’. Flatteringly described subsequently on both radio and Tv as “the BBC’s favorite property expert” I have since made nearly 500 appearances.
On leaving school in 1983 I worked for Savills for 10 years and then went on to run the country house department in London for Strutt & Parker. In 1992 I set up the first of what became known as the “affiliate groups”, The London Office for provincial estate agents. After 12 years I sold my interest and started an ill-fated multi-listing business called Charles Lister (my middle names). In 2006 this business was bought by Lonres.com.
For the past nine years I have worked as a ‘buying agent‘, sourcing homes for the rich & famous and for the plain hard working. Working both inside and outside London I acquire properties between £500k and £30m.
For four years I worked with the Board of CLEA, publishers of The London Magazine whose owners make up 48 of ‘the Great & the Good’ of London estate agency and include Savills, Knight Frank, Hamptons & John D Wood. The original brief was to advise on digital data sharing options – a job which culminated in CLEA Limited becoming majority shareholders in Lonres.com. Thereafter I stayed on to help with improving communications, arranging seminars, the CLEA shoot and the launch of the revamped London Magazine. All of these tasks are now completed.
I have written for numerous websites, newspapers and magazines including BBC Online as well as providing contributions to the regular property roundtables held by MoneyWeek. I was invited to join the judging panel for The 2012 & 2013 LSL Property Press Awards and for two years helped judge the prestigious Times/Sunday Times Letting Agency of the Year.
In 2014 I now divide my time between providing market comment and analysis for the media, working with the best agents in the land for some of the nicest clients who are looking for new homes and building a tiny property development business. I am writing two books and working on a couple of tv programs for the BBC which I hope to have commissioned later this autumn.
I am fortunate to live in the country surrounded by great friends who help us produce our own pork and make our own bacon in a pale imitation of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.