Estate agency Pattinson has confirmed to EYE that it did try to acquire Sanderson Young out of administration – but pulled out “due to lack of information and co-operation”.
Sanderson Young went on to be bought last week by a company solely owned by the wife of founder Duncan Young.
However, less than two weeks earlier Pattinson had registered a new company at Companies House called Sanderson Young Estate Agents, incorporated on September 19. Its directors include Keith Pattinson and Caroline Pattinson.
Yesterday, Caroline Pattinson – managing director of Pattinson, which also runs a national auctions business – told EYE: “We can confirm that we did enter into negotiations with the administrators.
“However, unfortunately due to a lack of information and co-operation it was not feasible to complete the transaction.
“Pattinson have been established for over 40 years and we have expanded in that time to 27 offices across the north-east of England.
“Sanderson Young has a strong reputation in the area and has some excellent experienced staff which is what attracted us and we were intending on running the business under its separate brand.
“However, estate agents know better than anyone that sometimes transactions fall through, and whilst we are disappointed, there are other opportunities to focus on.”
She also told EYE that Pattinson is moving its head office ahead of further expansion.
She said: “It is an exciting time for us.
“We are combining our head office and professional services (auction, property management, commercial, financial services and survey departments) and our seven day a week customer sales and care centre, currently split between Newcastle city centre and Gateshead.
“We are bringing them all under one roof in a new office at Silverlink Business Park.
“We are focused on expanding our white label auction service nationally with partner agents and hoping to double the size of the auction team.
“Moving offices gives plenty of space for us to expand and continue to grow.”
Pattinson said of current market conditions: “It is a tough time at the minute for agents as they are currently faced with lower transaction levels, rising costs, increased pressure on fees and the prospect of the loss of income with the letting fee ban.
“The cost of moving is high due to the Stamp Duty so people are not moving as often as they once did.
“First-time buyers might save for longer and buy a house rather than a flat, while people who need more space may choose to extend rather than move.
“In many areas of the north-east, whilst there has been price stability for the last ten years, some properties are still selling at prices below what they would have achieved at the peak of market in 2007.
“We often hear about the housing crisis and property ownership being out of reach for some generations, but we have properties for sale from £20,000 upwards.
“We are also seeing an increase in interest in the north-east from investors from the south and midlands, as they are attracted by the high yields.
“Overall, I am positive about the market. Property is affordable in the north-east and people will always need a roof over their heads.”