All Things Business spoke to David Jackson, Managing Director of Jackson Grundy on the opening of their new office as they celebrate 25 years in business.
We are approaching your 25th year in business, what has been the highlight over that period?
There have been many highlights over the years but, just watching the company grow and adapt year after year in an ever-changing market is a pretty significant achievement in itself. I am incredibly proud of the way we have developed and especially the retention of key members of staff - over 40% of all our staff have been with the company for over 10 years. Also, to have maintained our position as Northamptonshire’s No 1 estate agent for all these years means a lot to us all.
You now have 15 offices, the latest is your flagship office on St Giles Square in the centre of Northampton, a significant investment, talk us through this decision making process?
If I’m totally honest we weren’t really looking for another town centre office at all. I just happened to be walking through town early last year when I saw The Corner House was empty and thought ‘Wow - we have to have that’! It has obviously been a significant investment but we feel it makes a statement that we are confident the traditional high street estate agent is very much here to stay. Having traded from Bridge Street for over 20 years, we will be retaining and renovating that unit too purely for our residential lettings department.
You have a Spanish operation, which some of our readers might not be aware of, how is that going?
The Spanish office located just outside Marbella and Puerto Banus is going very well and has been trading for 3 years now. It’s run by Ben Mitchell, who worked for us in the UK prior to relocating, alongside two multi-lingual colleagues with exceptional local knowledge. It has certainly been a challenge and is a very different marketplace compared to the UK and whilst the exchange rate since the Brexit decision hasn’t helped, there are some great investment opportunities as well as being a beautiful place to live or have a holiday home.
As we start 2018, is this a buyers or sellers market?
I’d say there is actually a nice balance between the two. Whilst there is still a shortage of houses coming onto the market, which you would think gives the seller control, house prices seem to be stabilising so to sell your property it has to be priced correctly and marketed well. Buyers are not being rushed into buying the first thing they see, so it’s up to the seller and the agent to make sure we get it right.
How has the Brexit referendum affected the housing market in Northamptonshire?
It hasn’t really had any affect on the Northamptonshire market at all. The two months leading up to the vote were a little bit quieter because of the uncertainty of what might potentially happen, but once the vote to leave was confirmed it was very much back to business as usual.
You employ over 60 staff, how important is the management team to you?
Very important indeed and my job would be very difficult to do without their support. I have five fellow directors working alongside me and between us we have over 100 years’ experience working for Jackson Grundy. In addition we have a very strong managerial team in place that I have the utmost trust and respect for. When I set the company up in 1994 I tried to surround myself with the best people available and to ensure they were well looked after. As a result we have a reputation of being a company with strong ethics and great to work for – something I am very proud of.
As a business owner, if you had one wish for Northamptonshire as a whole in 2018, what would it be and why?
I would like to see all of our professional sports teams do well. We are very lucky here in Northamptonshire to have football, rugby and cricket, and when any of those teams are successful it creates a feel-good factor around the town and county.
So good luck Cobblers, Saints and Steelbacks!