In profile: Stonebridge Property Group's director, Philip Gartland


Agent: Philip Gartlandphilip-gartland-profilke

Position: Director

Company: Stonebridge Property Group.

Office Location: Sydney.      

How long have you been in the industry?

17 years - 11 in Australia and six in the UK    

What's happening in the area you specialise in?

The retail investment market is particularly aggressive at the moment. The combination of pent-up frustration of capital trying to find a home, coupled with historically higher yields and very competitive financing rates / increased bank funding competition, has led to very strong purchaser appetite. The issue now is that stock levels are now significantly lower with owners sensing an upswing in pricing.  

Describe the most interesting property you have sold?

The most interesting property I have sold was back in my days working in the City of London. It was a large prime office building close to St Pauls Cathedral, which was predominantly held on a freehold title but had a small/thin parcel of land running right through the middle of the built improvements held by way of 699 year sub-leasehold interest with a 700 year head lease.

The transaction hit a stumbling block as in doing their due diligence, the purchaser identified there had been breaches in both the head lease and sub-lease as development had taken place without the freeholder's consent and the freeholder of the land had disappeared from records!

It was a very interesting transaction because of the history involved;  from the perspective of having to review hand-scrolled Chaucerian style "Auld English" leasehold documents and where the purchaser ended up having to take out a very expensive insurance policy to cover them in the unlikely event the freeholder's ancestors turned up and claimed the breach of lease (the freeholders whereabouts had been lost around 200 years ago). The implications of them coming back would have been very material!    

What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?

Number one is relationships. Then it  is reacting to information. Being respectful, tenacious, organised and persistent are also pre-requisites.    

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

Dealing with people and being able to get out of the office on a regular basis.    

Where would you invest a spare $750,000?

Buying existing income producing improvements in urban infill locations. Like industrial assets in Alexandria for example. Subject to planning restrictions, they are highly likely to have a higher and better use down the track.    

Which football team do you support?

Being from the UK, the football I prefer is soccer! For my sins - Newcastle United. If talking other codes; league - Roosters. AFL - Swans.    

What's your favourite app or techno gadget?

Evernote. This keeps me organised and able to access my notes wherever I am.  

How do you use social media?

We use Linkedin to advertise all of our properties and I personally use Facebook to keep up with Friends and family in the UK.


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