Liza-Jane Kelly is Head of London Residential at leading estate agents, Savills. We get the lowdown on her career and ask what she thinks makes London property so special.
Tell us about your career to date and how you came to head up London Residential at Savills
I started my property career in Dublin in the early ’90s – a tough time in the housing market, but I learnt a great deal operating through that period, and many of the skills I gained then I still use today. I continued my property career in London working for Hamptons International, as it was known then. In 2005, a business partner and I acquired Marsh & Parsons and together we built the business to become an 18-office estate agency operating across the Capital. After selling Marsh & Parsons I was approached by Savills to join the London residential management team, to head up and grow specialist departments concentrated on the sale of properties up to £5 million. Over the last few years, this part of the business has grown and evolved significantly, both in terms of people and markets covered, and I am extremely proud of the results the teams have achieved. At the start of this year, I became Head of London Residential, taking over from Jonathan Hewlett who became Chairman of Savills Private Office late last year.
What does a typical day at work look like?
I always start the day with exercise, and while it keeps me fit, it also keeps me sane! No day is the same, but I do make it my mission to have most of my meetings in person where possible. We’ve just over 40 offices across London so my morning could begin by attending one of their weekly team meetings, or I could be catching up with colleagues and clients at Savills’ global headquarters in Margaret Street. I have always valued connecting in person, even more so after the pandemic.
What’s been your greatest achievement so far?
Acquiring and then building the Marsh & Parsons business was a huge undertaking; there was virtually no infrastructure and my business partner and I had to put in place everything from HR to IT systems, as well as restructure the teams. It was 12 years of solid, hard work but we built a fantastic well-respected brand that became known across London. I recently celebrated my five-year anniversary with Savills – it’s been a pleasure to see and support the teams develop in this time and I’m looking forward to leading the business into the next phase.
Are you seeing any property trends in London?
I think the biggest trend that we will continue to see across London is a desire from buyers to live in a neighbourhood that offers a village-like lifestyle. London is so unique in that sense and offers a sense of community in spades, whether you’re in Wimbledon, St. John’s Wood, or Marylebone.
Where is the next London hotspot for property?
The regeneration in and around Bayswater over the last few years has been much talked about, and with improved public spaces, greater connectivity, and new build developments such as Park Modern, The Whiteley, and No. 18 Porchester Gardens, the area is well on the way to catching up with its prime London neighbours. Bayswater has also benefitted from buyers looking for more space for their money during the pandemic, as well as access to green space nearby. savills.com