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2017 NAEA National Conference

Friday 10 February 2017

Last week’s sold out NAEA National Conference enjoyed a diverse and extraordinary line-up.

NAEA MD Mark Hayward kicked off the day with the headline grabbing announcement that the property industry is changing and that Propertymark is born. Set up to be at the forefront of that change, NAEA Propertymark will be the go-to organisation for consumers seeking professionalism and protection.

While providing a large scale, physical gathering of members and non-member agents to talk to about the launch of Propertymark and transition to NAEA Propertymark, the topics covered and quality of speakers left delegates with a lot to consider as they made their way home across the UK.

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP addressed the NAEA Conference in his first speech since the Housing White Paper was released. The audience then had the chance to put the minister to the test, asking questions via audience engagement tool Sli.do, voted for by other delegates in the room.

Sally Bundock, presenter of flagship BBC Business show Business Live, added a powerful, journalistic perspective to her handling of discussions, cornering the Housing Minister on regulation.

NAEA and its members have long campaigned for mandatory regulation of the industry. During the Q&A, a delegate asked “Rather than piecemeal bits of legislation is it not time to regulate the whole industry?” The Minister responded “if there’s demand there we could consider it.” Sally Bundock asked for a show of hands in support of regulation to almost unanimous approval. She quipped “There you go, we’ve saved you some time”.

When asked about the future of stamp duty, the minister stated that the Government is always looking into it but that stamp duty considerations are ultimately the Chancellor’s responsibility. He was however more confident when it came to housing supply, assuring agents that his target of a million new homes by 2020 was achievable.

In contrast to last year’s conference, when few delegates in the room raised their hand for the microphone, 165 of the 560 attendees either posed or ‘liked’ questions making for very democratic and inclusive Q&A. 

We were live tweeting from the event and many delegates took to social media to tell us how great the day was -

@IMS_Bicester: Absolutely brilliant day at the NAEA Conference today! @JezRose was hilarious but completely inspiring! @neaa_uk #propertyexpert

@NicolaJaneHugh2: Great day, fabulous speakers and presenters

@StephenChayter: A very good day indeed. Well done to everyone involved

The Bank of England’s Peter Andrews gave an informative and graph-centric presentation outlining the UK’s economic outlook for the next 12 months with listeners left stunned by the specifics.

Green & Blacks former branding expert and now Marketing Director for Pret a Manger, Mark Palmer, demonstrated innovative ways to build and create a brand that people will pay for. Pret does not currently advertise; they use people who love their brand to target those who don’t.

Commercial Director for Rightmove, Miles Shipside, bought passion to the conference with his Valentines themed lovefest. Miles highlighted the relationship between customers and agents and presented statistics showing the ‘value’ vendors place on the services agents offer. Given £100 to spend on agent services, Miles broke it down and calculated that a vendor would use just £6 on an accurate valuation; £24 on the creation sales details; £16 on having accompanied viewings; £25 on promoting the property on Rightmove; £13 on offer negotiation; and just £8 on sales progression.

Keynote speaker and behavioral expert Jez Rose challenged attendees and asked ‘why do we do what we do in the way we do’? In an action-packed segment, Jez’s energetic and entertaining presentation posed the message that whilst we all strive to deliver exceptional customer service, the unexpected is what sets you apart.

Dr Kristian Niemietz from the Institute of Economic Affairs and Paul Miner from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England discussed whether building on the Green Belt is the answer to the housing crisis. Not surprisingly, Kristian said ‘yes’ and Paul said ‘no’. Dr Niemietz highlighted that housing costs in the UK are amongst the highest in Europe and if only 2% of Green Belt land were released, there would be provision for a million homes. Milner’s counterargument was that there are better options than using the Green Belt, citing that 63% of the public want it to be protected.

Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, gave an excellent presentation on the state of the current market, noting that they expect a 14.2% increase in prices on average across the UK by 2021.

Proptech expert James Dearsely rounded off the day with his insight into the future of agency technology.

Mark Hayward then bought the conference to a close –

“I am Mark. This is Propertymark. Goodnight”.