How do you make a fortune through property? Ask John Howard

John Howard

John Howard - Credit: Archant

Property developer John Howard shares his East Anglian heaven and hell with Gina Long

As one of the most experienced property developers in the UK, Suffolk based John Howard has bought and sold over 3,500 houses and ?ats in his 35-year career. He is also Director and Shareholder of Auction House UK and Director and Shareholder of a number of estate agencies across East Anglia. In his Inside Guide to Property Development & Investment for Newcomers, he shares his vast experience in property development and investment, offering insider tips and hard-nosed, practical advice. He spoke to Gina Long.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

My roots are in Suffolk. I was born and grew up in Felixstowe.

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

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The wonderful coastline. We are so spoilt with an abundance of beaches and picture-perfect coastal towns.

What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

The A140 at 9am! I spend a lot of time travelling this route, the journey can be hellish at times.

What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

Greg Morgan's Waterfront Bar Bistro. Exquisite food, also happens to be located in my favourite Ipswich place – the Ipswich Waterfront.

What's your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

Walking between Dunwich and Walberswick, finishing at dusk and appreciating the sea air.

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

This is an obvious one for me. The iconic Winerack on the Ipswich Waterfront. A landmark which began its life encased by negativity, now it is a statue of positive change.

What's the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Suffolk Day. It's such a great event and concept, with Norfolk recently following suit.

What your specialist Mastermind subject?

Some would think that my answer should be property development or horses, but I would actually opt for my speciality to be Motown Music.

What is always in your fridge?

James White organic Apple Juice.

What's your simple philosophy of life?

To always treat people like you want to be treated yourself. I have the same tone of voice with everyone.

What's your favourite film?

Something about Mary, the 1998 American rom com is my go to film of choice.

What was your first job?

Estate Agent.

What is your most treasured possession?

My quality of life.

Who do you admire most?

Theresa May. For her determination and commitment against all adversity, even though she's not a natural leader.

What is your biggest indulgence?


What do you like about yourself most?

My enthusiasm and tenacity.

What's your worst character trait?

Some would say that I am impatient!

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

The Silver Coast, Portugal.

Best day this year?

I recently visited 10 Downing Street for a briefing on Brexit, as part of my role as Chairman of the Ipswich Conservatives Association. My Grandparents sacrificed so much to give me a good education and I'm sure they would have been very proud.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Banana Brioche, bacon and maple syrup at Pump Street Bakery in Orford.

What's your favourite tipple?

Non-alcoholic cider or in other words, apple juice

What's your hidden talent?

I played rugby for Norfolk.

When were you most embarrassed?

Because I used to stammer until my early 20s, it was when I was made to read aloud in class whilst at school.

What's your earliest memory?

Looking round at an empty house in Felixstowe in 1966 that my parents were buying.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Together again by Janet Jackson.

Tell us something people don't know about you?

I stammered until I was 20 years old. And that I am a keen horseman. I've been involved with horses for over 35 years in a number of capacities, meeting some fantastic and inspiring people along the way.

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

When I was 17, I went to an Estate Agent for a two week trial. They said I wasn't suitable for the job, which maybe gave me the determination to prove them wrong and to go on and make it as a property developer.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else

East Anglia is a unique and beautiful area, with so much going for it, with so many pockets of hidden gems. It's so close to Stansted and London, as well as having Felixstowe Port on the doorstep. I can't believe it's taken so long for people to realise its potential.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

About my new book. I have just had my first book published 'Property Development and Investment.'

The book offers the basics of how to get started and actually put a deal together. Where to find funding and investors for your property deals. How to avoid common problems and pitfalls faced by novice investors. Which types of property to choose, where to find and buy properties, tips on buying to rent and buy-to-let mortgages. And much, much more.

John Howard's Inside Guide to Property Development and Investment for Newcomers is available on Amazon