Who is Jonathan Christie? CEO & Co-Founder
Over the past decade, the landscape of property investment has undergone a serious transformation, witnessing a remarkable evolution in opportunities and strategies.
This shift has given rise to a collaboration between cash buyers and investors, both striving for a shared vision of success.
At the forefront of this stands Jonathan Christie, CEO and co-founder of The Property Buying Company.
From ignition of an innovative business model to the current phase of executing strategic acquisitions, Jonathan’s journey epitomises an unwavering passion for reshaping the property investment terrain.
As the demand for streamlines property acquisition and sourcing reaches new heights, Jonathan’s role as Co-Founder of The Property Buying Company has propelled us forwards to becoming the UK’s most rated cash house buyer.
Join as we delve into the life and passions of Jonathan Christie, as he shares his pivotal moments that have allowed our company to evolve into a leading house selling solution.
Who is Jonathan Christie?
In this section of the interview we will explore Jonny’s experience and knowledge within the property industry from his entry to the property industry in 2006 where he was poached from being the UK’s no2 best car salesperson, to how he met co-CEO Karl McArdle and how they started The Property Buying Company.
Can you tell us how you got into the property industry?
From when I was young I’ve always had a keen interest in property, I always knew it would be somewhere I would make my mark, but in all honesty, I never thought I’d be heading up the team at TPBC.
When I was 11, I used to visit the local estate agents, asking for the details of all the beautiful houses that caught my eye – which is where my passion eventually grew from, and it kind of stumbled into a career from there.
Later, I was working in car sales at Ford Motor Group, a job I really enjoyed, and was quite successful at too! At one point, I was the second best in the country, a success that would lead me being asked If I wanted to switch Industries into property.
Not long after the career change, I became senior manager of a property company and I met my current business partner and Co-CEO of The Property Buying Company, Karl McArdle.
In 2012, we formed The Property Buying Company, and the rest is history.
How have you seen the property industry change since you began your career?
One of the most significant shifts has been the integration of technology into every aspect of the property industry. Back in the late naughties, property listings were primarily still in print publications, the internet was just starting to gain traction as a platform to market property and a lot of property market analysis relied heavily on manual research and historical data.
Fast forward to today and we have online portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, virtual tours, AI-driven property search tools, completely online estate agents and cash buyers, company websites that can gain hundreds of enquiries a day and so much more.
We have access to real time market data, predictive analytics and machine learning that help us as property leaders to calculate accurate pricing, and make informed decisions on investment decisions and risk assessments.
If you didn’t work in property, what else could you see yourself doing?
If I didn’t work in property I’d still be in the car sales industry, maybe I’d even be the no1 Ford salesperson!
Much like the property industry, the car dealing industry involves significant financial transactions and business acumen. I have a genuine passion for finance and entrepreneurship, which would serve me well in the world of buying and selling cars.
What is a typical day in your life like?
I’m a firm believer in balancing work with personal life and I try to spend as much quality time with my family as possible. Due to the nature of the industry we’re in, no two days are the same and one minute I could be in the office, the next I could be at a meeting with investors in London.
But, my typical day will usually begin with getting up early and clearing my mind with a long walk, before diving into my emails, reading the news and making sure my family are off to school in time.
When I get to work, we often have meetings with various departments, including our managers, co-CEO’s and any investors who decide to pop into the office. I spend a lot of time building and maintaining relationships within the industry and allocating time to attend industry events.
Which actor would play you in a film?
Well my daughter is obsessed with Marvel at the moment, so I would probably have to choose Tony Stark just simply because he’s not just a superhero, but also a brilliant inventor and entrepreneur.
As the CEO of a leading cash buyer and property sourcing company, I can relate to his innovative spirit and passion for pushing the boundaries of an industry. I think it would be quite fascinating to step into his shoes for a day!
As a leader in the cash buying market, what piece of information do you wish you had when you first started?
Starting and leading a property cash buyer has been a rewarding experience, but there has also been some troubled waters.
While I recognise the value of acquiring properties in the cash buying market so early on, what I’ve learned over time is that diversification across property types, locations and investment strategies is vital to the success of any investor.
Understanding the cyclical nature of the property market and how different types and locations perform during various market phases is essential.
Initially, I didn’t fully appreciate the significance of adapting our investment approach to align with market cycles. Having this insight earlier would have allowed us to make more informed decisions during economic downturns and upswings.
Jonathan Christie & The Property Buying Company
In this section, we delve into Jonathan Christie’s role with The Property Buying Company — and how he acts as our overseer of property purchases and how this helps us stay ahead of the curve.
Jonathan’s expertise and oversight in property purchases have been instrumental in our continued success and strategic growth.
How do you ensure that the business keeps growing and maintains ahead of the competition?
Staying ahead of the curb is all about self-development. As a company, we strongly believe that passion, innovation and ambition are fueled by your need to never stop learning. It’s something we distil in all our team, as well as any new talent we take on board.
It’s also the reason behind how we run our business: as a democracy not a dictatorship. We actively encourage collaboration and creativity - in fact these are two of our values!
How does being a leading cash buyer differ from a high street estate agent?
I agree with Karl when he said that there’s a space in a market for estate agents and cash buyers to co-exist. But, cash buyers do allow for that speed and convenience that estate agents can't compete with.
As a leading cash buyer, we specialise in buying houses directly from sellers with cash from our own funds. Our primary focus is on acquiring properties to either buy directly or acquire via our property sourcing company.
Our seamless approach to buying houses means there are very little property chains and the chance of a house sale falling through is significantly reduced.
A high street estate agent will often act as an intermediary between property sellers and buyers. There are mortgages often on both sides of the chain, as house sellers look to acquire their next home, and property buyers wait on the mortgage approval from the property in question. The chance of a house sale falling through due to mortgage approval is high and the process is lengthy.
What’s been the proudest moment for you as CEO?
Easy one - my proudest moment as CEO is the way we handled the Covid pandemic and managed to make sure everyone in the company was able to keep their job.
When we realised the true severity of the crisis back in February 2020, we were unsure as to whether we’d be able to maintain full operations, as like the majority of our industry.
Thanks to our amazing support staff and everyone else within the company, we were able to make some smart choices and not one member left due to Covid. In fact, we actually started recruiting as the crisis turned us into a stronger, more adaptable team.
How did you find doing an interview on NASDAQ?
I think I can speak for myself and Karl when I say, we thoroughly enjoyed our interview on NASDAQ, and the 6am walks around Central Park. The experience has reinforced our commitment to innovation and transparency, and it underlined the significance of adapting to the evolving landscape of property investment.
We’re excited about the future opportunities that this exposure may bring and remain dedicated to delivering value to our investors, house sellers and customers in the UK.
Opinions on the housing market
Aligned with his responsibilities as our purchasing overseer, Jonathan Christie brings to the table a wealth of industry-leading expertise in the housing market.
His deep knowledge of market trends, property valuations and investment potential has significantly contributed to our company’s ability to make informed decisions and stay at the forefront of industry developments.
In this section of our interview, we delve in Jonathan Christie’s opinions on the housing market and how the landscape is likely to change in the near future.
What do you think the biggest problem in the property market is?
Uncertainty is definitely the most significant problem the property market is facing, however, it is somewhat unavoidable.
Part of the thrill of the property market is that it is always changing, however, this thrill also brings with it its own issues, and rising interest rates have been fanning the flames for over this past year.
The current uncertainty within the property market has had a knock-on effect on everyone. People are naturally holding off on purchasing new properties due to the rising interest rates as they wait for better homes, rates, and prices.
Ideally, we will need a prolonged period of stability in order to remedy the current issues, but we may find ourselves waiting a little longer for the market to stabilise and operate at full capacity again.
In your opinion, what are some emerging trends or technologies that will shape the future of the housing market?
AI is a technological advancement that seems to be slowly creeping into all aspects of life, and the property market is no exception. Whilst it is early days, there have been rumours swirling about the possibility of AI being used to pull data from multiple sources and used to create much more accurate, data-backed valuations.
As far as emerging trends appear to be going, the rental market may be about to undergo some drastic changes. With the increase of stamp duty on second homes, paired with higher rates of council tax on second properties in some areas of the UK could spell trouble for short-term rental properties and Airbnbs. Although it is across the pond, New York has recently banned Airbnb properties in New York due to their interference with residents and the housing shortage.
Whilst there is no evidence of this happening here, there have been growing concerns with Airbnb properties, and London has introduced tighter regulations surrounding them. Once again it is early days, but it could be a sign of things to come.
How do you think the concept of homeownership will evolve in the coming years, and what role might alternative housing options play in this evolution?
Homeownership is seen as a benchmark for many people, it signifies independence and stability. However, with the current market conditions, rising interest rates and house prices, it is becoming an increasingly unattainable dream, especially for first-time buyers.
If conditions keep up the way they have been, homeownership may no longer be the be-all or end-all. We may instead see a shift to a renters market, as while it is often more expensive than a mortgage, renting can offer more to the modern home buyer. Unlike home ownership, renting is often a quicker process, with fewer hoops to jump through. It offers quicker results as well as independence from home and more freedom to move about as opposed to going through the house-selling process.
What sources do you rely on to stay informed about the housing market, and how do you ensure the information is accurate and reliable?
I am fascinated by all things property-related, whether it’s changes to renters' rights, rising or falling interest rates, or the latest housing developments, I love to keep my finger on the pulse of the property market and keep up to date with any and all changes.
I get a lot of my property information online, being sure to read from various trusted sources and doing any background reading on more in-depth subjects. It’s important to read different articles on the same subject in order to fact-check and get a varied opinion on any news or changes in the wider market.
When I’m not reading about changes in the news, I am often listening to what the team here at TPBC have to say about what is going on in the market. As a leading cash buyer, we have the valuable and privileged position of hearing from homeowners across the UK in a variety of house-selling situations, which allows us to have a great handle on current market conditions.
We get to see in real-time each month the different reasons our customers may have for selling, and this allows us to notice trends long before they make their way to the front page of property news.
How has Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis impacted the housing market, and do you believe its effects will be long-lasting or temporary?
It’s all swings and roundabouts really - the uncertainty surrounding Brexit had an initial impact on customer confidence and investment sentiment. Some property investors took a cautious approach leading to a slowdown in transactions, especially in hotspots like London.
As we move further into the future, the impacts of Brexit have begun to stabilise as the new trade relationships and our position outside of the EU have gained clarity, investor confidence is expected to grow steadily.
The pandemic introduced an unprecedented level of disruption to the housing market as during the first lockdowns, the property market experienced a brief downturn as transactions were put on hold. But, it did also accelerate the demand for properties outside of inner cities as people began to favour remote working.
The stamp duty holiday introduced by the government also provided a temporary boost, spurring activity and price increases in some areas.
As the immediate crisis from the pandemic subsides and the economy continues to recover, the housing market is beginning to bounce back, with some shifts in homeowner behavioural trends like buying in commuter towns, rural towns and moving away from city centres.
Each economic situation will have its own mix of long lasting and temporary impact, but as we move forwards into our roaring 20’s, we believe that there will be some form of market rebound.
It will take a while for people to regain confidence and sentiment within the market, and it may take a lot more knowledge being passed down to homeowners on how they can regain it for themselves.