This month we’re talking to Edward Dent Head of Land and Residential Development. As well as what the job involves and his experiences as a developer, we ask him to look into his crystal ball for the future for London’s development market.
Q1. So, does your job title tell the whole story about your role?
Pretty much – although I also advise clients about the potential of their assets and get involved in investment work as well where there is potential for repositioning or development. During Lockdown it has been all hands to the pump though – I have also been helping out with residential and commercial departments – in fact the first retail letting I have done for 30 years has just started selling their pizzas on Lordship Lane!
Q2. Are you a Londoner?
I am from Birmingham originally but have lived in South London for over 30 years so I consider myself a naturalised citizen now. Its always an advantage operating in an area where you have lived for so long and brought up your children as you have a detailed knowledge of prices, planning, schools and other factors important in valuation without having to research them
Q3. Have you always worked in agency?
No – I started out there as a commercial agent in Shoreditch, then got swept up in the ‘Loft Living’ boom – I am showing my age there – and set up my own business. After that I was director of a small development company based in East London . We were early adopters of modern methods of construction and built several developments in London and also Harlow. I joined Hindwoods about four years ago – so I have gone from gamekeeper to poacher and back again.
Q4. How do you think that this client-side experience affects your approach?
Being at the sharp end of development and having your assets subject to personal guarantees certainly gives you a different perspective. There is no substitute for first-hand experience of the development process and this can be invaluable when advising clients or trying to arrange an equitable deal between land owner and developer.
Q5. What do you think the next year holds in store for the London development market?
Ah thanks a nice easy question to finish. There has been an unexpected bounce in the residential market over the last few months, but I would expect this to cool after Christmas. Even if developers become more circumspect should prices level off or fall, there will still be opportunities . For example, these may come from the relaxation of planning laws and also redevelopment and reworking of retail centres.
What is certain is that London will always bounce back – it is still a great place to live and work and the property sector has always proved itself to be resilient and creative in responding to the challenges it faces.