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Interview of David Ruddock
Written by the Estate Agent Today team

Who are you and what does it say on your business card?

David Ruddock – Partner and Head of Residential Sales Operations at Carter Jonas.

How has your company had to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic?

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Before the pandemic began, we had just completed setting up the infrastructure enabling our people to work effectively from home, so the move to remote working was a fairly smooth process.

We had also started to focus on virtual viewings, and despite the easing of restrictions, we’ve continued to provide this option. It’s a great way to allow people to see the property in the first instance and it invites serious buyers for in-person viewings. Additionally, our clients are happy as it helps to ensure that all procedures remain as safe as possible.

How is PropTech helping agents to be more efficient?

PropTech has made a huge difference to Carter Jonas in terms of how simple it has been to collate all of our portal and website leads into one place, which enables us to prioritise calls and manage them efficiently. Throughout this difficult time, this software has also helped us in maintaining communication with clients and internally with our people.

What role do agents have to play when it comes to new homes developments and resale markets?

New homes are often sold to those attracted to the many lifestyle benefits that come with a scheme and the economies of scale, the cost advantages associated with living in a modern, purpose-built setting. Developers of all sizes benefit from working with agents as they have access to a wide network of contacts, marketing expertise and specialists with a proven track record of devising and implementing effective sales strategies that incorporate local and national campaigns.

What is your greatest achievement in your current role and what made it so special?

Navigating our way through the last 18 months has not been easy but the dedication of our team allowed us to reassure and support our clients and eventually achieve some great results. Alongside constantly monitoring and changing our working practices, our team has doubled the number of sales than we originally anticipated at the start of the pandemic.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

We are so lucky at Carter Jonas. I work alongside such a great team of professional and brilliant people. My favourite part of my role is communicating and collaborating with the residential sales teams daily - sharing in their highs and helping with the (very occasional) lows.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing letting agents at the moment?

The decline in the buy-to-let market and the pressure on supply that this creates is particularly challenging, especially as we are experiencing such high demand. Sought-after locations outside of London, such as Cambridge and Winchester have very little available stock. For example, in Cambridge, a reduction in the number of available properties have caused rents to increase by 10% in the past year. We also currently have 50% fewer properties than usual for this time of year being advertised, whilst our occupancy rates are unbelievably high at 99.5%. 

I expect that this supply and demand imbalance will stabilise over the next 12 months as we continue a trajectory towards pre-pandemic levels of confidence in the UK property market. This should have a positive impact on this type of investor.

Across prime central London, we are already seeing a phenomenal bounce-back across our lettings branches which is a positive indication for how the market will develop. It’s been remarkable to see the transformation in the market – within three months, we have gone from having the most available stock to the least available stock.”

What is your property prediction for the remainder of 2021?

Demand should remain buoyant, despite the ending of the SDLT holiday, and the sales market will continue to perform well. With the lettings market in central London bouncing back, I predict that the high demand experienced elsewhere will remain, especially with so many people looking to test the water and try out different lifestyles and locations.

Individuals may take on a try before you buy approach, through renting a property as opposed to buying, to see if a move they have been contemplating does suit them after all.

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Country house or city apartment?

A country house. I love being in the countryside, as I enjoy the stunning views, the wide-open spaces and the peace and quiet.

Trendy roof terrace or traditional English garden?

That’s a difficult one but I would say a trendy roof terrace as it’s ideal for entertaining and importantly, low maintenance!

Would you rather be a free-moving tenant or settled owner-occupier?

I am someone who has moved around over the last few years, so at the moment I’m very happy being a settled owner-occupier.

What is your favourite room in your home?

The kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and I’m a very keen chef!

Homes under the Hammer or Location, Location, Location?

Homes under the Hammer – it’s a classic.

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