Islamic Finance News – 90 North Expands Team & Pole Position For Growth

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90 North Expands Team

Shariah compliant real estate investment specialist 90 North Real Estate Partners has expanded its team in London with its recent recruitment of four new members to include: Mark Peck as head of operations; Cherine Aboulzelof as head of Continental Europe; Sabira Hasham as an asset management analyst; and Pylyp Likhterov as an investment analyst.

Pole Position For Growth

As I have reported over the last six months, investors have been increasingly optimistic about the prospects for the UK real estate market. Such confidence was endorsed last week by the IMF, which materially increased the UK’s projected 2014 GDP growth rate from 2.5% to 2.9%.

Whilst this growth may appear a little pedestrian compared to what is being achieved in the home markets of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Islamic investors, it places the UK in
pole position among the major western economies, ahead (just) of the US with a forecast 2.8% growth this year.

With such economic optimism comes confidence to go geographically further outside London and seek more value add opportunities, and again Islamic investors are ahead of the pack. Recent research from Deloitte reported that it is “seeing more international investors looking at regional opportunities”. Islamic investors have been ahead of this curve, and I’m aware of a number of successful exits, particularly in the industrial, logistics and student accommodation sectors, where Middle East investors have bought well in these sectors and have been able to realize a healthy profit.

As for the risk spectrum, whilst hard to compete with the UK funds for value add office investments, we are still seeing opportunities in the retail and so called ‘alternative sectors’, with a growing proportion of predominantly Middle East Islamic investors looking for more core plus, value add or operational risk. Meanwhile, as I reported last month, those seeking residential development exposure are growing by the day.

Is this all too much too soon? I don’t think so. With positive economic news and the weather finally improving after the UK’s wettest winter since records began, the man in the street has a spring in his step, which translates directly or indirectly into positive news for the real estate industry. The caveat (as ever) is that investors should always buy the transaction, not the market, i.e. diligent due diligence and identifying why (or not) a particular transaction can beat the market is paramount, even if that market is going up already.

Philip Churchill is the founder partner of 90 North Capital Partners. He can be contacted at pchurchill@90northrep.com.


Article from Islamic Finance News