Class Notes

Sowing the seeds of success in Spanish real estate

Miles Barnett (Hispanic Studies, 2012)

Multilingual alumnus Miles Barnett (Hispanic Studies, 2012) has leveraged his language skills to forge a successful career in real estate in Spain, where he now has his own property development company, Balst (co-founded with his fiancée and business partner, Sofia Holst). Here, Miles writes about his love of languages and Spanish culture, his journey from the heart of London to the south coast of Spain, and how his time at King’s has helped him along the way.

Destination King’s

‘I was always determined to study at King’s due to the university’s fantastic international reputation and the amazing Strand Campus. I studied French and Spanish at A-level. I wanted to pursue Spanish further and knew that King’s has a very strong modern languages department.

‘King’s gave me the confidence to further my education with a master’s in real estate at the Universitat Politècnica de València (conducted entirely in Spanish) and spurred me on to learn Swedish.’

Why real estate?

‘My goal was always to work in real estate and, more specifically, property development. From a young age I’d read articles about real estate pioneers such as the Candy Brothers, and always found it inspiring how they consistently innovated and pushed the boundaries of global real estate with their London developments. Christian Candy is also a King’s alumnus. He and his brother Nick are definitely role models.’

Getting a break in the property sector

‘My first jobs in property were unpaid to get work experience. After moving to Spain in 2014, I worked in a solicitor’s firm before getting a job as a listing’s agent at the Torrevieja office of Sweden’s largest estate agency, Fastighetsbyrån. By then, I had become fluent in Swedish. While at the agency I started buying, renovating and selling properties with my business partner and fiancée, Sofia.’

Founding Balst

‘Realising that I not only had a passion for property development but also achieved great returns, I quit my job and started Balst in 2021. We are now on our 10th project, a luxury redevelopment of a four-bedroom villa with a private pool in a prime location.

‘One of the best ways to gain business advantage is by using technology. We use AI (artificial intelligence) for our website and some of our content creation and are the first company in our area to use augmented reality renders for an off-plan project. I am also a big believer in the benefits and potential of blockchain technology.

‘I credit my time at King’s not only for giving me an invaluable understanding of Spanish culture, allowing me to master the language, but also helping me understand the architecture of language and its possibilities.’