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Residential agents 'need more expertise' claims

Residential agents 'need more expertise' claims

Residential managing agents may need to upskill to take advantage of new business opportunities.

They arise because developers are facing a skills gap, with not enough property managers equipped to face the challenges of modern mixed-use developments.

Demand for urban dwellings has fuelled a boom in high-value flats in mixed-use developments across cities – particularly London. Income that is generated through retail, office and leisure supports development finance and provides opportunities for managing agents – but creates a host of complexities as well.

A panel of experts convened for the Deverell Smith Property Summit queried whether some residential agents are currently up to the job.

They agreed that reporting by commercial managing agents is slicker, with transparency and reporting expertise that residential managing agents need to take on board.

Robert Soning, founding partner and chief executive officer at Londonnewcastle, said: “Higher prices have fuelled higher expectations, and our focus is not on finding residential management agents any more – but estate management.

“We need a better understanding of how mixed-use works, as it’s difficult finding those agents. Traditional agents are at a turning point and need to move on.”

Andrew Deverell-Smith, managing director of Deverell Smith Recruitment, said: “As a global city, London needs to provide – and then expertly manage – mixed-use developments to attract a diverse range of investors and end-users.

“Getting the right skills in place is crucial and the key to this is to look at broader service industries like hotels and high-end retail.”

Gavin Sung, head of residential development lettings investments at Savills, said: “One of the key functions is how managing agents report to institutions. It isn’t that we don’t have the skills, it’s that we need to transfer them from commercial.

“There’s lots to learn from commercial management – how they run buildings is so much slicker.

“It’s for this reason that we [at Savills[ combined our teams at the start of the year.”