Ananya Banerjee, director of Boyer and head of Boyer Design, on how she got started in property, her top film and podcast picks, her best and worst purchases and the celebrity she would most like to meet

Ananya Banerjee

Ananya Banerjee

How did you join the property industry?

I trained as a chartered architect in India and worked there and in Singapore, before undertaking a masters degree in urban design at the University of Leeds. I then did a further specialisation in architectural history at the University of Oxford while working with Robert Adam at Adam Architecture – it was there that I formally joined the UK residential property industry.

What does your job entail?

I oversee two teams, in London and Wokingham, and my priorities are ensuring a high level of quality in our work, nurturing and growing my team and planning for growth of the service in response to market conditions.

What do you like most about the property industry?

The people. I have met so many people in the property industry who are extremely passionate about what they do. It is their passion that keeps the sector so vibrant and driven.

And what do you dislike most about it?

Its reactive nature, which is inevitable as property is so closely linked to the financial markets, consumer demand, immigration and so many other issues. The industry employs so many people and that is not compatible with its sometimes overreactive nature.

What would you change about the industry?

The housebuilding industry is often criticised from the outside, which is unfortunate. We have a housing crisis and young people are struggling to buy a home. Home ownership is vital to a nation’s long-term growth and we need to solve this problem within the property industry.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

At Boyer Design, we are fortunate to work on residential projects with housebuilders that appreciate the importance of quality of design and craftsmanship. This is very important to us rather than approaching projects that just aim to provide numbers.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The ability to adapt. I moved to England aged 24, leaving my family, comfort and support system in India. I have been fortunate to benefit from some great mentors, who have thrown me in at the deep end and provided the opportunity to work on some great projects. I have had to work long hours and days, but it has been worth it.

I am also proud of the role I have taken on as a borough councillor for a Surrey council. The divide between local communities and developers is very pronounced. It has become as divisive as the Berlin Wall, and it is not going to come down through blame and mockery. As a councillor, my job is to work at a grassroots level, involve all generations and make change happen as a positive force to our local community.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Keep an open mind and stay focused. Young people want to achieve a lot at the start. This industry will take you on a journey that will give you a lot of opportunities. Keep an open mind and take advice, but also stay focused on your goals.