AN INCREASING demand for properties in St Ives has led estate agents and auctioneers Cheffins to open an office in the town. The companys new branch, its sixth in East Anglia, opened in Crown Street on Monday (March 7), and will handle a range of properties, from apartments to country homes. Director Richard Freshwater, who got his first taste of property sales through a summer job at an estate agency in St Ives, said the opening showed that Cheffins was bucking the trend by expanding at a time when many other agencies were consolidating. He said: Weve been looking to expand for some time and this opportunity in St Ives was too good to miss. We have been selling an increasing number of properties in the St Ives area and are seeing a clear demand from both Cambridge and London buyers. We are now in a unique position where our London office is putting our clients properties directly in front of London buyers, bringing huge benefits. The firm has increased its market share across East Anglia in recent years, added Mr Freshwater, and its five established offices were market leaders in their respective areas. Branch manager Michael Houlding, who joined Cheffins two years ago with the St Ives expansion in mind, hopes to maintain that trend in Huntingdonshire. He said: This is an exciting new challenge for me. St Ives is a lovely town and I cant wait to bring Cheffins unique way of working to the local property market. By increasing the competition for houses in and around St Ives we expect to bring great benefits to local sellers of property.