PROPERTY BOOM SPARKS RAPID GROWTH FOR HUNTERS-PSM

by Scott Douglas

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

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Property PR experts help tell property agent’s impressive turnover and growing reputation

Property PR photography for lawyer Michael Maloco of PSM Law Group

HUNTERS-PSM, the newly formed solicitor-estate agents, has further underlined the strength of the Edinburgh property market by announcing an 80 per cent jump in turnover in its first year of operation.

The news comes at the same time as the company leapt – for the first time – into the top five (out of 265 firms) in the league table of annual property sales compiled by the highly-influential Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre (ESPC).

Hunters-psm is the estate agency division of the PSM Law Group and was created in January 2003 when the Edinburgh firm Hunters, founded by Wilson Hunter, joined forces with the award winning Fife-based Peddie Smith Maloco.

The division currently operates out of two property centres in Morningside Road, Edinburgh and Bonar Street, Dunfermline. Further expansion within the central belt is currently under consideration.

Figures compiled by the company show that in the 12 months to January 2004, Hunters-psm achieved total sales of 517 properties, worth £71,575,97.00 at an average sale price £138,443.  The performance catapulted Hunters-psm into fourth spot in the ESPC table. The annual rise in turnover for Hunters-psm is based on a comparison with the combined turnovers of the two previous businesses prior to the restructuring.

Michael Maloco, one of the founding partners and vice chief executive of The PSM Law Group, said there was no doubt the continuing growth of the Edinburgh property market had accelerated the rapid expansion of its Hunters-psm division, particularly its Edinburgh operation.

He said: “At the launch of Hunters-psm our Edinburgh office housed eight staff, by July 2003 that had risen to 14 and now we have 20.  The growth of the Edinburgh office – driven by the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the capital’s property market – has been dramatic both in estate agency and conveyancing terms.  However, that is not to understate the importance of the Fife market which is now one of the fastest growing in Scotland and benefiting from a significant ripple effect from Edinburgh.

“The result is we’ve seen turnover of the estate agency grow by 80 per cent and Hunters-psm is now a main player with the big boys of the property scene.

“It is a remarkable achievement in a very short space of time and a position we are committed to maintaining over 2004.”

Property PR photography of Edinburgh property solicitor Brian Warner of PSM Law Group

Much of the success of Hunters-psm is down to its property team, which The PSM Law Group regard as the best in the country due to its exceptionally strong combination of both legal and estate agency expertise.

Partners Wilson Hunter and Brian Warner, the founder and former Senior Partner of Warners who left the company he set up in August to join The PSM Law Group, head the legal team. Matthew Gray is the Group Property Director in overall charge of the estate agency division with Joyce Allan the director in charge of the Dunfermline office.  August also saw the strategic appointment of Gary Middlemass, formerly the Property Manager of Lindsays, as Property Director in the Edinburgh office to work alongside Matthew and Joyce.

The buoyancy of the Scottish property market was further highlighted earlier this month when Scottish Executive figures showed the value of the Scottish housing market is set to exceed £12 billion in financial year 2003/2004 and another report which suggested house prices will rise by 12 per cent in the next year, far outstripping those south of the border.

Wilson Hunter said it was good news the property market was looking so buoyant across the whole of the country, but he sounded a note of caution if the growth continued unabated

He said: “What we want to see in the coming months is sustainable growth and that is to a great extent dependent on the lifeblood of the property market – first time buyers. If they cannot get a foot on the property ladder it   could well have a knock on effect for the rest of the market and potentially then we would all have a problem.

“At the moment everyone is reaping the benefits of a booming property market and long may that continue. The only storm cloud is that we must be getting very close to pricing the average first time buyer out of the market.”

Gary Middlemass of PSM Law Group in property PR photo

Mr Hunter said there was expected to be a rush of people taking advantage of proposed new Pension legislation which would allow you to put buy to let residential property within your self invested pension plan. This will inevitably encourage residential property purchase for investment purposes only, further putting the squeeze on first time buyers.

However, he envisages many more will see the potential of remortgaging to develop their homes upwards or outwards.

He added: “If it is going to cost £80-90,000 to buy a house with an extra bedroom then many people will think hard whether it is worth it. As a result I suspect we will see many more people choose to develop their existing home, happy that with the market growing the way it is, they will more than recoup that investment in the future.”

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Scott Douglas, of public relations agency Holyrood PR in Scotland

Scott Douglas

Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood Partnership, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.

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