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Rollout of auctions sees jobs created.

Byline: Karen Dent

ESTATE agent Pattinson has taken on an additional 40 staff after a surge in demand for its auction service which it is now rolling out into Yorkshire and the Midlands.

This comes as the agency jumped to sixth place in the national league of property auctioneers, making the Newcastle firm the biggest business in the sector outside London.

Pattinson, which has 30 estate agent offices in the region and employs 207 staff, put property worth more than pounds 90m under the hammer last year.

It has been auctioning property since 1991 but alongside lettings, this division is now the fastest-growing part of the business and it is set to establish auctions in Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Pattinson managing director Justin Anim said: "People are looking at it for speed and efficiency. The benefit of auctions is that the buyer has to pay a deposit and there is a commitment to buy. It is a significant element of the business."

He said the market for property investment has changed radically since the recession and the problems for the sector caused by the continued difficulty for buyers seeking mortgage credit.

"The interesting thing is pre-credit crunch, we had a lot of people involved in property investment. There was almost a property bubble because of that, people were buying and selling immediately," said Mr Anim.

"Even the Government was encouraging people to put their pensions into property. Now the investors are professionals."

The group's property management


wing has also benefited from the lack of available credit for potential buyers. "We are seeing an increase in rental transactions among first-time buyers who are struggling to get deposits," said Mr Anim. "And people who can't sell decide to rent. For the first time since the 1980s/90s, the spectre of negative equity is upon us." Pattinson's turnover has dipped from a pre-recession pounds 9m to around pounds 8m but Mr Anim said there are signs of improvements on the horizon. "Turnover is up this year compared with last year," he said. "We're seeing an increase in activity, certainly the most since the credit crunch. We are having to work hard. "People move usually because of changes in lifestyle - they get married, divorced, have children and people will become more mobile for employment. "The whole world is a different place now and I suspect that after the election it could become different again." The company has taken on a further 40 people in the past year and in addition to its employed staff, it has a pool of freel
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2010
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