Andrew confesses to having another passion outside work, one that is a little unusual in the Midlands. He is a keen supporter of Burnley Football Club, having been born in the Lancashire town before moving to Solihull as a child. After his education at Solihull School and Manchester University, where he read Law, he qualified as a solicitor, becoming partner in a large Birmingham firm before leaving to set up his own business.
He founded Arkade Property in 2000 with former client Beatriz Rose. Following Beatriz’ retirement from the firm in 2012 two employees, Sybilla Rose and James Clapham, bought a stake in the business, securing its future.
“The early years were difficult as they often are for start ups,” says Andrew “but by 2004 we had built up a significant client portfolio and have continued to develop since.
”What is the state of the local property market?
“Despite what some commentators say, I do not believe that the market here is overheating and I expect a period of steady but sustainable growth in prices. It needs to be remembered too that the recession actually helped the buy to let market which accounts for a sizeable part of our business.
As prices fell, rents remained stable, which meant a significant increase in yields, with 10% per annum being quite achievable. Prices have started to rise again but yields are still good, certainly much better than any other form of investment and you benefit from capital appreciation too. If you have money to invest, property really is a no-brainer.”
Andrew points out too that sales to owner occupiers also represent a significant proportion of the firm’s business.
What can Arkade offer prospective clients that other estate agencies cannot?
“Estate agents are never going to be the most popular profession,”
Andrew says with a smile, “but we set up Arkade on ethical principles. Ethics are very important to us. I think too that I am possibly unique among estate agents in being a former practising solicitor. When I worked in the legal profession I specialised in property law. I have a deep knowledge of both the legal and taxation issues around property investment and believe that, at Arkade, we have a combination of knowledge and experience that is possibly unique in the industry.”
What is the future looking like for you?
“There are a number of developments, such as HS2 and the rebuilding of New Street station, that will make Birmingham an even more attractive place to live. The property market will continue to be buoyant. In business I am a cautious optimist but, like all true fans, a pessimist when it comes to my football team!”
Arkade Property is thriving and will surely continue to thrive under the leadership of a man of such energy and enthusiasm. And Andrew’s other passion isn’t doing badly either, with Burnley well placed to win promotion to the Premier League. But Andrew is not getting too excited yet.
GEM Feature Writer