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The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Property Investing: An Inter-generation and Regeneration Game

Brighton based property developer Harley Wilson talks with the editor, Richard Bowser

I met up with Harley Wilson on the upper floor of a mid-terrace commercial property situated some fifty metres from the hustle and bustle of the Lanes area in Brighton. It's now a very popular and 'trendy' location, which has seen significant regeneration in recent years, aided by its proximity to the mainline station in Brighton, which provides a fast commuter service into London in less than an hour.

"My grandfather occupied these premises in the 1970's and he ran a wicker and crafts making business," says Harley, "but he also sub-let some parts of the building to tenants. He understood the value of investing in property but purely from a landlord perspective. At that time, this part of Brighton in the 1960's and 70's was comprised of commercial warehouses and many occupiers were tenants in the artistic trades."   

At just 20 years of age this individual is clearly very young for a property developer but as I learnt during the day that I spent with Harley, he's already packed in a fair amount of experience in the property business and is very committed to learning, particularly from more experienced developers.

"From a young age I saw both my father and grandfather working on various property projects," he adds, "and in my father's case he has always been very hands-on with the build process. I started out in property in 2013, and although my family have been involved in property locally over many years it's only in the last few years that we have gone into developing property as opposed to being a landlord.

"My father (Russel) had drummed into me over the years about the value of holding property assets but over the years he's always been very hands-on with refurbishments and conversion projects in the Brighton area.  He's done guesthouses and holiday lets as well as commercial and residential property extension. I suppose my own main core and logical belief which most attracted me towards investing in property is that people will always need somewhere to live, and what could make more sense than owning and capitalising on something which everyone will always need."

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