Property blog: Scaling New Heights

Like parsley, estate agents are everywhere. Now even the world’s northernmost spot has been graced by their presence, albeit temporarily. Lincolnshire agent Andrew Pearce reached the geographic North Pole at 90°C North a few weeks ago and promptly flew a banner of his firm, Humberts to mark the occasion.

Mr Pearce, who raised £26,000 for Macmillan Cancer Relief and The Lincolnshire / Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance with his expedition, is the first chartered surveyor to reach this corner of the Arctic and, true to his call, he brought his Red Book with him to carry out the world’s most northerly valuation.

‘The North Pole was breathtaking,’ is his verdict. ‘The ice surprisingly wasn’t pure white, more of a washing powder blue with flashes of cobalt blue and brilliant green from the frozen water and algae. There were some huge, almost sphinx-like ice formations and when the sun shone, the ice looked like a scattering of diamonds.’

And his surveying eye was quick to note that the North Pole has the remarkable advantage of allowing people to take a tour around the earth in five steps flat or straddle across today and tomorrow (and the International Date Line) in just one.

Although he faced icy waters, force 10 storms and polar bears (with a Second World War German rifle) along his trip to the absolute North, Mr Pearce was unfazed. ‘I was delighted to have undertaken [the expedition] on a totally unsupported basis, having negotiated all the obstacles that were thrown in our path, including open water,’ he says. But then someone who braves the British property market every day can overcome any hurdle, believe me.

Talking of the market, Scotland is the place to watch. According to

last month’s house price index from the Halifax, five out of Britain’s top ten property hotspots are north of the border. Now if only my husband had listened when I told him we should look at pastures Scots. Granted, I was talking about the Highlands, and the best sellers are anywhere but. Fife tops the chart with Cupar (36% up year on year) and Lochgelly (30%), followed by Lanarkshire with Coatbridge (27%) and Lanark (25%). All well below the serious whisky line, but I feel vindicated.

That said, Mr Pearce made me wonder whether I should set my sights a lot further north than Inverness. An igloo on the North Pole sounds like a very promising option. After all, the area is bound to see some serious capital appreciation now that estate agents have set foot on it.