Islamic Finance News – What’s the Alternative?


Welcome to 2018! My year started by waking on 1st January in a beautiful and thankfully warm treehouse amongst the English countryside. As a colleague described it: “Philip is up a tree”, but it really was a fantastic experience with my family, and on reflection this set the tone for the year so far. One rather dominated by alternative real estate.

One man’s alternative, may be another’s mainstream, so to add some explanation to this, the expression is typically used to describe real estate outside of the main sectors of office, retail and warehouse. Residential can be included, or not.

Islamic investors have been open to the attractions of alternative assets for many years now, with certainly my own experience including student housing, care homes, hospitals and hotels, to which you could add leisure (Shari’ah compliant of course), hostels and broadly any operational asset. Anyone for a marina?

The attraction is often a higher return, rewarding those who make the effort to understand the drivers of that alternative asset class. With an apartment hotel currently under development, a leisure asset in the pipeline and the allure of student housing to Islamic investors ever strong, this is occupying a considerable amount of 90 North’s attention so far this year.

However, as we push on into 2018, I am also reminded of the St Mungo’s homeless charity that 90 North works with and supports. Whilst they provide beds for 3,000 people every night, there are typically a further 1,000 homeless sleepers in London alone for which there is no alternative. Puts everything into perspective really.

Wishing you all a healthy, prosperous and compassionate 2018, with treehouses highly recommended!

Original article appeared in Islamic Finance News.