A good first question from Kate Garraway on LBC radio this morning; “Let’s talk now to housing expert Henry Pryor. Henry, firstly what qualifies you to be described as an expert?”
To be honest, the description is one first bestowed on me by a young BBC researcher who had booked me for a 5Live spot and who wasn’t quite sure what I did. Like many old habits it’s stuck. Most people hope to give their business a plug when going on radio or telly but in fact I’m quite content with the moniker – although perhaps it’s worth considering my qualifications for such a title, just for the record.
I left school in 1983 and went to work for Grey Cook & Partners in Cambridge, for commercial partner and life-long inspiration Chris Dodson. Having burnt a hole in his new Wilton carpet (a long story!) I went to Savills new office in Cambridge and from there to their country house department in London. After ten years with the firm I was offered the chance to run the country house department at Strutt & Parker, in Hill Street. Whilst there I had the idea for The London Office, something I went on to found and to run for twelve years working with 160+ agent offices across the country.
For the last seven years I’ve been a buying agent acting for private clients typically acquiring in excess of £50m worth of properties a year. I bid on one property a week typically and buy one a month!
I have bought and sold homes for clients across the country, worked with industry leaders on a wide variety of projects and acted as consultant for major brands in and outside the industry.
So, that’s my cv. It doesn’t necessary make me an expert and neither does the fact that other people describe me as such. However, it’s been enough to give me the chance to contribute to newspapers and magazines, to websites and round-tables. It’s also been just enough to be invited to contribute to radio and TV programs on BBC, ITv, Channel 4, Sky, Channel 5, LBC, CNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera.
Over this summer as housing stories have broken and during the Autumn conference season as political parties have fought for distinguishing policy I seem to have been a popular guest on both BBC radio and tv channels and have been a quoted source and even a guest contributor on the BBC website. I have done turns for NewsNight, Today, You & Yours the News Channel (e.g. on Friday & Sunday in early October), for Breakfast, the One, Six and Ten. For Your Money and provided expert comment for WatchDog and Rip Off Britain. I have done phone-in’s for Radio 4 and Radio 2 programs and endless spots for 5Live as well as regional radio stations from BBC Wales to Three Counties.
None of this confirms my expertise but some of it would form the case for the defence and perhaps the rest just goes to show what we all know – “you can fool some of the people most of the time”!