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England & the World Cup 2018

What has England, the World Cup and real estate got to do with each other?

The World Cup season is upon us! CSI Prop examines the unlikeliest connection between England, football and real estate.

Did you know that since its inception in 1930, 79 national teams have made at least one appearance in the FIFA World Cup Finals but, of this number, only 8 nations have ever won the Cup?

Drilling down a little further, now: England made history when it won the trophy for the first time in 1966. It may remain the only time, to date, that this will ever happen — pundits are claiming England has just about a smidgen of a chance (4%, to be exact) of winning the World Cup this year.

But where are we going with all this footie talk? Patience; we’re getting to it.

Watch England’s winning goal and a very pretty young Queen E presenting the cup!

History shows that 1966 is not just when England won the World Cup.

It was also a time when house prices in the UK were at a stupendously affordable average of £2,006.

Research shows that UK house prices are 106 times higher now than they were when England won the World Cup, catapulting from an average price of £2,006 in 1966 to £211,000 today.

Wages, meanwhile, had risen at around a third of the rate, moving from £798 to £26,500. Meaning, it’s 3 times harder to get on the property ladder than it was in 1966, when the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine rode the top of the charts, the miniskirt came into fashion, David Bowie released his first single, and Gordon Ramsay was born.

It gets a little grimmer. House prices aren’t deflating any time soon, not with demand far outstripping supply and driving prices to increasingly stratospheric levels.

In February, research by Heriot-Watt University showed that England is facing its biggest housing shortfall ever, with a backlog of 4 million homes. Meanwhile, rough sleeping or homelessness has risen by 169% since 2010.

This means, in order to address the escalating housing crisis in the UK, the government needs to build 340,000 new homes each year until 2031.

This is a significantly higher figure than the government’s annually targeted 300,000 homes that we talked about in some of our previous posts.

In 2017, Professor David Miles, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, said that the shortage of housing and restriction on the availability of land in the UK, will mean house prices keep soaring for decades to come. He referenced analysis that showed that house price inflation over the past 30 years is likely to continue for the next 50 years.

Britain is wont to remain a nation of renters, by the looks of it, particularly as the younger generation moves increasingly towards the idea of renting a home, rather than owning one.  

If you’d hedged your bets (and currency!) on UK property all these years, you’ve certainly scored big time on rental returns. We suggest you continue taking your chances on the UK property market, and forget about betting on England’s remote chances of winning the World Cup this year. Keen to talk property or even football? Call us at 03-2162 2260 or email Or share your thoughts on who’ll win the World Cup this year in the comment box below!

By Vivienne Pal


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Serviced offices: workplace & income-generator of the future?

Global demand for serviced offices is growing rapidly

The United Kingdom is the world’s largest market for serviced offices. Growth of the sector is set not only to continue, but accelerate, with optimistic suggestions putting the sector’s value in the United Kingdom at £120 billion by 2025.

Today, more businesses than ever are seeking more flexible and dynamic workplaces.

The changing reality of modern business is placing serviced offices as an attractive option for a wide variety of companies. Serviced offices typically come furnished, providing its tenants with ready reception services and use of business facilities, allowing businesses to get started immediately without the hassle of setting these up.

This paradigm shift is not just limited to new start-ups or small firms, but also larger businesses looking to maintain a presence in distant markets or establish a project office – as serviced offices offer a ready package of services and contractual terms that cannot be matched by conventional commercial accommodation.

Traditionally, office space has been aimed at large corporates with a large footprint. In the United Kingdom back in the 90s, businesses generally only had the option of a 25-year lease to secure office space.

This has changed in recent years, with long lease structures becoming less common. The average lease length is now between three and five years.

The modern worker is mobile and can work away from a central office hub. Email and conference call facilities make a fixed centralised office less important. Office-based start-ups require more flexible contracts, while established businesses increasingly use satellite offices or temporary spaces to accommodate expansion.

According to software multinational company Citrix, which provides networking and cloud computing technologies across the globe, 91% of businesses worldwide are adopting mobile work styles.

It is unsurprising, then, that the growth of the serviced office sector in the United Kingdom has been so strong.

The United Kingdom is the world’s largest market for serviced offices – a British success story. Serviced offices in the United Kingdom account for around 36% of the world’s serviced offices, with more serviced office centres than in the Americas, and more than in the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific combined.

Research firm Ramidus Consulting estimates that there are over 6,000 serviced offices operating in over 100 countries around the world. Just 50 cities account for 46% per cent of the total global market; of these 50, twelve are in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom is at the forefront of the serviced office revolution (Source: Capital Economics)

Serviced offices have grown by over 30% in the United Kingdom since 2008. London is by far the largest and most mature market, with Manchester the second largest, followed closely by Birmingham.

Current estimates using a conventional office leasing business model estimate that the United Kingdom’s serviced office market is worth £16bn. However, a dedicated serviced office model based on workplace rental income, plus the additional charges from supplying a range of services typical to such offices, puts the sector at £19bn, close to 20% more.

“Growth of the sector is set not only to continue, but accelerate, with optimistic suggestions putting the sector’s value in the United Kingdom at £120 billion by 2025,” commented Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation.

Investment management company JLL has predicted that by 2030, office space around the world will become 30% more flexible.

Economic research firm Capital Economics estimates that the United Kingdom serviced office sector could see its value rise from £19bn to £62bn by 2025. On more optimistic projections it could increase in size over fivefold and be worth over £120bn, an echo of Leech’s predictions.

These predictions are based on favourable trends and developments that are having a very positive impact on the sector, making it a compelling investment proposition.

While the serviced office market in the United Kingdom is more mature than other markets globally, it is still underdeveloped, with large untapped potential for further expansion. Following current trends, the growth in demand for serviced offices is set to continue and even accelerate over the coming decade.

The office market in Liverpool

The city of Liverpool is currently seeing its current stock of office space dwindling, with barely any new supply in the pipeline.

The city’s overall take-up for the combined commercial district and city fringe area increased by 25% in 2017, compared to the previous year. Available office space has decreased by 25% since 2016, and a whopping 53% since 2014.

The amount of total office stock in the commercial district has decreased by more than a million square feet since 2014, a 20% decrease. This highlights the continuing reduction of office stock, and the lack of new build activity in the Liverpool office market.

There is now no supply of prime Grade A office space within the Liverpool commercial district. In 2012, 8.6% of total available office space was in the Grade A sector. B* stock, which is comparative in quality to Grade A, and key to filling its void, has fallen by 40% since 2014.

62% of the currently available stock is in the poorer quality and unrefurbished Grade C and D categories.

Investments in Liverpool offices totalled £87 mil in 2017, which would have been higher but for the lack of suitable space.

Liverpool’s huge growth in demand for office space has created lucrative opportunities for investors. In 2016, London-based real estate company GKRE reported a 76% rental growth rate for serviced offices in the city.

New serviced offices in the city are positioned to take advantage of this rapid growth in demand, and the correspondingly high rental yields.

Centric Serviced Offices, located right in the heart of the CBD, is a prime example. Its location opposite the Moorfield train station makes it extremely accessible, which will be of importance to any business tenant. It is professionally-managed, and offers to investors attractive 7% nett returns which is assured for 5 years.

As one of the major cities of the Northern Powerhouse, Liverpool is set to grow in the next couple of years as billions of pounds are ploughed into the city. Already we can see massive redevelopment projects gearing up to push the city into a major economic powerhouse in the North.

The savvy investor will note Liverpool as a vastly untapped market in the office sector, with a huge potential for rapid growth over the next couple of years.

Do you think serviced offices are the workplace of the future? Drop us a comment below. If you’re interested to tap into the attractive potential that the Liverpool office market has to offer, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 03-2162 2260, or email us at

Article by Ian Choong


  • Serviced offices: A new asset class, Capital Economics
  • Commercial Office Market Review 2017, Liverpool BID
  • Workplace of the Future: a global market research report, Citrix



Grade A space is defined as office space that was completed since 1st January 2013, Grade B space completed before 1st January 2013 or other accommodation recently refurbished or due to be refurbished, Grade C as unrefurbished but ready for occupation. Grade D is office space which could not be occupied without substantial refurbishment and where no plans exist for such refurbishment

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Putting on the Ritz with CSI PROP

CSI PROP’s Investor Club Series is our own special way of adding value to the clients who invest with us, in line with our company’s core value of Having Fun. Yes, we not only work hard, but have fun together as well!

We have several exciting events lined up every year, and a total of five have been planned for 2018.

While humour was the theme of our curtain-raiser in February, our second Investor Club event on 20 May had a touch of glamour: we reserved the entire dining area of the elegant Cobalt Room at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, and threw our clients a smashing dinner!

The Ritz-Carlton delivered a sumptuous buffet spread with traditional delicacies hailing from all over Malaysia, to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.

Each Malaysian state was represented in the many dishes available for savouring. Diners were thrilled to encounter new dishes they had never tried before, relishing in a myriad of flavours and textures. 

Acar buah and umai were some of the more exotic foods available to taste
The chef busy flipping tasty murtabaks on the hot grill
The delicious, succulent roast lamb was a hit with the diners
A large variety of traditional, mouth-watering kuih-muih to end an amazing food journey

Ritz-Carlton’s delicious food aside, we gifted our investors and their family members with handcrafted marble coasters, specially calligraphed with our company motto, Making a Difference.

Our handcrafted marble coasters were there to greet our investors and their family upon arrival

Our Investor Club Series is one of the ways in which we hope to make a difference in our clients’ lives. Club events are where we update our clients on the construction of their projects and discuss the investment market; it is also where clients get a chance to have fun, and know each other — and our team — better.

Our next exciting event will be held on 15 July. Some of the more football-crazy among you will recognize this date — yes, it’s the World Cup Finals, and we at CSI PROP are counting down to it, as are all of you fans!

We’re watching the finals together! (Source:

Our CSI grand hall will be turned into a super cool mamak with a hearty selection of food, drinks and games, while previous match highlights and the World Cup finals are flashed on a huge high-definition screen. And we mean HUGE. Get ready to catch all the action with us and stand a chance to win some amazing prizes too! Football fans had better not miss this — we’ll see you there decked out in the colours of the team you’re rooting for!

Don’t you wish you were there too at our exciting Investor Club at the Ritz-Carlton? If you’d like to get started on property investment overseas and be a part of our ever-growing group of savvy investors, give us a call at 03-2162 2260, or email us at Don’t miss out on watching the World Cup Finals with us! 

Article by Ian Choong
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Can Tun Mahathir Solve the Malaysian Housing Crisis?

Houses in Malaysia are seriously unaffordable for the masses (Source: The Malaysian Insight)

UPDATED; 5/6/2018

Uncertainty has been reflected in the volatility of the stock market ever since the country voted in a new ruling coalition. In the past few weeks, steps have been seen to be taken to address corruption and debt in the country. A new Local Government and Housing minister has been elected and her first order of business is to discuss with the Finance Ministry and Bank Negara Malaysia, the difficulties faced by first-time house buyers to get loans. It’s a start, but can the Tun M and his merry men (and women) of the Cabinet take Malaysia through the housing crisis? 

With the recent change in government, all eyes are on Pakatan Harapan to solve the housing supply-demand crisis in Malaysia. The current situation is dire with a severe lack of affordable housing, and a glut of expensive properties, and many Malaysians not being able to afford to purchase their own home.

The previous Najib administration had set a target of building 1.1 million affordable homes by 2018 to address the shortage, but after 5 years, only 23% (255,341) of the total was completed.

In November 2017, Tan Sri Noh Omar, the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister blamed state governments for the delays, citing a lack of cooperation.

Addressing a question in the Dewan Rakyat, Noh said that 25.6% (285,097) of the houses were still under construction while 39% (432,415) was in various planning stages. He said the remaining 12.4% (138,775) had yet to make it to the planning stage.

At the same time, there was an overhang in the amount of PR1MA homes for sale nationwide. Slightly under half (12,492) of the total PR1MA homes (25,132) had yet to be sold.

The PR1MA Malaysia Corporation was established under the PR1MA Act 2012 to develop housing for middle-income households in key urban centres, with a target price range of between RM100,000 to RM400,000.

This programme that was initially meant to help the average Malaysian buy his or her first house was relaxed in 2013 to allow purchases of second homes, and eligibility was widened this year to include households with a monthly income of RM15,000.

The overhang showed that PR1MA homes were still priced out of reach for its target market. The maximum affordable house price in Malaysia is estimated by Bank Negara to be RM282,000.

Property expert Ernest Cheong has said PR1MA should stick to its objective of providing affordable homes to middle- and low-income earners instead of jumping on the high-end property bandwagon. In PR1MA’s Jalan Jubilee development in Kuala Lumpur, the largest unit, a 1,089 square foot unit with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, was going for RM445,000.

A nationwide housing expo was held in March this year entitled “Housing Sale Expo Towards a Million Dreams, Experience A Wholesome Lifestyle”. The expo was a joint initiative by the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, the National Housing Department (NHD), PR1MA Malaysia Corporation, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), 1Malaysia Housing Projects for Civil Servants (PPA1M) as well as state government agencies.

According to a report by The Malaysian Insight, hopeful buyers at the expo in Kuala Lumpur were disappointed with the severe lack of homes below RM250,000 for sale.

Pakatan’s pledges for the housing sector

Pakatan has pledged to institute a couple of reforms in the housing sector. One of those reforms is to ensure that developers under the PR1MA program do not merely build a small number of affordable houses, after obtaining land at discounted prices.

However, Pakatan’s manifesto has not addressed the pricing issue that PR1MA is currently facing. The reforms they undertake must include pricing homes within the means of the average Malaysian, otherwise the current overhang of PR1MA homes will continue.

Pakatan plans to establish a National Affordable Housing Council which will:

  • Build 1 million affordable houses within 2 terms of their administration, by 2028;
  • Coordinate an open database on unsold affordable housing;
  • Coordinate a national rent-to-own scheme for the B40 and M40 group, with a special scheme for young people;
  • Coordinate with the banking sector to expand access to financing for first-home buyers.

Building one million affordable homes by 2028 is a more realistic target versus the previous one set by the Barisan Nasional administration. Nevertheless, current house building efforts must be doubled to meet this target, judging from the rate of construction we have seen so far.

The open database on unsold affordable housing is a welcome one in the interests of transparency, allowing potential house buyers to find information on available affordable housing. This will prevent unscrupulous developers from hiding information from unwitting house buyers, and maximising their profit by marketing the premium market instead.

The expansion of financing for first-home buyers will allow more Malaysians to own their own homes, while the rent-to-own scheme acknowledges segments of the population that do not qualify for financing, or are otherwise unable to purchase an affordable home.

Other plans Pakatan has for the housing sector include raising the quota for affordable houses; to introduce a time limit for developers to complete constructions, so that land-hoarding can be avoided; and tax incentives for developers who focus on affordable housing, to encourage the use of efficient building technologies to reduce cost.

The new government’s manifesto appears to address many issues in relation to affordable housing shortage. Still, one hopes that the PR1MA reforms they take will fix the current lack of focus in the programme. The nascent Pakatan administration is yet untested, but under the experienced hand of Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, buyers and stakeholders alike can look forward to a comprehensive reform of the housing sector, with hope that the current crisis can be solved.

For a start, Housing and Local Government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin will meet the Finance Ministry and Bank Negara Malaysia to discuss difficulties faced by first-time house buyers to get loans. Zuraida promises that the ministry will find the best mechanism to ensure related issues can be resolved, namely involving applications for the purchase of affordable housing.


Investment prospects in the housing market

The current glut of higher-end housing, and undersupply of affordable housing is causing activity in the investor market to remain stagnant. If Pakatan can correct the supply-demand imbalance, property prices may start to rise again. Policies will take time to be implemented, and it will be some years before we see real change.

As we have said previously, the local market in 2018 is shrouded in uncertainty — a situation thrown into even sharper relief as the nation waits for the current Government’s plans to take effect.

With the recent fall of the UK and Australia currencies, properties in those markets are more attractive than ever, offering investors an opportunity to take advantage of the currency rate and get on to the overseas investment bandwagon.

Do you think Tun Mahathir and Pakatan can do better than BN in addressing housing affordability concerns in Malaysia? Share with us in the comment box below. If you think your money would be better spent on property investment overseas rather than the local market, give us a call at 03-2162 2260! 


Article by Ian Choong



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Are We Birkin Up The Wrong Tree?

The Hermes diamond and Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin handbag at Heritage Auctions offices in Beverly Hills, California September 22, 2014. Image credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

The iconic Hermes Birkin handbag is said to be a worthy investment, outperforming gold and the S&P 500 in investment returns and stability. CSI Prop investigates how this bag holds up against brick and mortar.

So the Birkin smashed the almighty Box Office of Buzzwords a few days ago when a raid at one of former Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s residences uncovered the haul of the century: 284 boxes of luxury handbags, a good number of which were in the signature Hermes orange hue.

The former PM’s missus, as the entire world probably knows by now, is a huge fan of the Birkin. Word on the street is that a rare, record-setting Hermes Birkin could be among the 284 handbags seized during the raid. The purse, which has white gold and diamond hardware, fetched an eye-watering $221,755 at an auction in Hong Kong in 2015 — the most expensive bag sold at auction at the time.

One wonders if Datin Sri Rosmah’s collection could give Victoria Beckham a run for her Birkins (note: Mrs B apparently has 100 Birkin handbags). Especially since a New York Times article reportedly quoted a broker’s estimation of Datin Sri Rosmah’s Hermes Birkin collection to be worth at least US$10 million.

Whatever the rumour, it looks like the cat’s finally out of the handbag…err, bag.

So, what has a handbag got to do with property, you might ask. Here’s our cheeky comparison between bag and brick — after all, both are investments in their own right and share many similarities. Or do they? You decide.   

The cat’s out of the (hand)bag: Some of the Birkin handbags confiscated from one of former PM Najib Razak’s residences last week. Image credit: The Malay Mail Online/Hari Anggara


  1. Time = Perfection

It takes Hermes artisans a minimum of 5 years training before they’re allowed to independently create a Birkin. The artisan makes a Birkin by hand from start to end, a process which takes possibly up to 48 hours.

A house, however, takes a good many months or years to complete, requiring the skill of experts from various fields in order for it to withstand way more than a huff, a puff and a blowing down by the Big Bad Wolf.

  1. Undersupply = Exclusivity

Birkins are expensive because they are scarce, with only 200,000 bags in circulation around the world. One cannot simply buy a Birkin without a purchase history at the store or knowing someone who has bought a Birkin, before getting on the wait list.

Property prices are also governed by the rule of demand vs supply. The UK is experiencing a critical undersupply of homes, and the government is facing challenges in achieving its goal of building 300,000 homes a year to even out the demand-supply balance. This continues to push property prices upward, making it increasingly difficult for first-time house buyers to get on to the property ladder. Oh, and for the record, you can’t own a property just like that either — you need to clear checks by the regulators first. Think AML, bank loan approvals, that sort of thing.

  1. The Right Price

The price of the humblest Birkin starts at around $12,000. It could go all the way up to more than $200,000. That’s the price of a house in some parts of Petaling Jaya, according to a report in The Star.

Property is expensive, too; the greater the undersupply, the higher the price. Take Melbourne property as an example. AUD$500,000 could likely get you a landed property, but we’re talking some 16km away from the city centre. For AUD$550,000 you may get a 2-bedroom apartment in the stylish Palladium Tower apartments in Melbourne CBD, but apartments in this part of the city, at this price, is becoming a rare find (call us if you’re interested; we can hook you up).

  1. Capital Appreciation

According to research by Baghunter, the price of the Birkin had risen by an average of 14.2% since its launch, outperforming traditional investments such as the S&P 500 and gold markets. A Himalaya Birkin handbag made from the albino Nilo crocodile hide with white gold and diamond hardware and auctioned in 2014, was reported to cost as much as a 2-bed/2-bath apartment in the heart of Brisbane!

Interestingly, Savills predicts that property in the UK will grow by 14.2% over the next five years in spite of Brexit-related uncertainty. One might argue that this was a drop from the 28% price growth between 2013 and 2018 but, hey, that was during the good times. Like, pre-Referendum. We remain confident that the UK will recover after a spell of uncertainty following Brexit in 2019. 

In Australia, meanwhile, the average price of a property in Melbourne had increased by more than 6-fold from A$142,000 to A$943,100 today!

And we haven’t even talked about rental yields yet! Investment in the UK commercial property sector such as purpose built student accommodation and commercial care homes, can fetch handsome yields of up to 9%!

  1. The Show-Off Factor

Of course, all said and done, one can debate that you could bring a Birkin anywhere and show it off to anyone, while a property is most ‘inconveniently’ tied to the location in which it is built.

OK, that’s true but, hey, you can’t live in a handbag, can you?

Birkin worshippers will probably have more compelling reasons why the Birkin makes a fantastic investment, and naysayers would have equally compelling arguments for rebuttal. Perhaps we could all put ourselves in the shoes (or sandals) of the current Prime Minister and think on how to have a bata (better) management of our finances. What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comment box below. Or if you think your money is better spent on property investment, give us a call at 03-2162 2260! Don’t be birkin up the wrong tree now!

Current PM Tun M seems to have a bata grasp of what the simple things in life is. Image credit: gempak dot com
By Vivienne Pal


  • Image credit: Reuters



UK Facing Housing Crisis for Elderly; Critical Need for Care Homes

The severe shortage of “accessible and adaptable” housing in England lead to accidents and hospital admissions among elderly and disabled.


A leaked report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found Britain’s current planning rules are fueling a housing crisis for the elderly and disabled, forcing them to live in dangerous conditions, leading to a clarion call for more adequately equipped care homes. 

The Commission, a human rights watchdog, inquired into the state of housing for disabled people in Britain and found that there was a severe shortage of “accessible and adaptable” housing in England. A paltry 7% of houses had minimal accessibility features.

The Commission’s report comes at a time of a growing social care crisis in Britain. The UK’s population is ageing rapidly, with numbers of the elderly and disabled on the rise. ONS predicts that the number of those aged 65 and over will grow to nearly a quarter of the population by 2046.

The report found that elderly and disabled people were left in unsafe homes which led to accidents and hospital admissions. Some were forced into “eating, sleeping and bathing in one room” and to rely on family members to carry them between rooms and up stairs.

Many elderly and frail people are currently stuck in hospitals, unable to be discharged due to inadequate housing and care. Known among some local doctors as ‘bed blockers’, this segment adds to the backlog of patients that currently beleaguer the NHS.

The report warned that local councils are failing to build enough accessible care homes to meet demand and were not taking action against developers who did not comply with regulations.

Local authorities told the Commission that developers do not build accessible care homes because they are not profitable. Just 3% of councils took enforcement action against developers who failed to meet standards.

The Commission said that at least 10% of all future housing should be built with the growing elderly and disabled population in mind and that local authorities must reduce bureaucratic hurdles for adapting homes.

The report also said that people were forced to wait an average of 22 weeks between application and the installation of home adaptations necessary to live safely and independently, with some waiting for more than a year.

Better housing would help ease the health and social care crisis as poor housing led to an “increased need for social care” and “avoidable hospital admissions”.

George McNamara, director of policy and public affairs at Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: “These are some of the most vulnerable people but they’re forgotten when it comes to housing policy. They are being discriminated against by a system that doesn’t work for them.

“This issue is only going to become more important as our population ages and people have a greater need for specialist housing that addresses all their health and care needs.

“Disabled older people are being let down and this is a stark reminder that urgent action is needed,  which is the least they deserve in a compassionate society.”

Rob Wilson, former Government minister for civil society, said: “This isn’t a new problem, but this is a timely report and reminder that disabled people face enormous challenges with getting appropriate housing,”

“Almost every local authority area faces the same difficulty in getting enough wheelchair-accessible houses built. The Government’s drive to increase house building is very welcome, but clearly there is much more to do for those with these special requirements.”

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said councils needed greater planning powers and resources to hold developers to account.

“Housing is too often unavailable, unaffordable, and not appropriate for everyone that needs it. This includes the availability of homes suitable for older people and people in vulnerable circumstances,” she said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Our new planning rules make clear that councils must take the needs of elderly and disabled people into account when planning new homes in their area,”

“We’re also providing councils with almost £1 billion over the next two years to adapt properties for disabled and older people so they can live independently and safely.”

The stark reality is that supply will not be able to keep up with demand. With the woefully short supply of accessible housing, and inability of family members to care for the elderly or disabled member, private care homes are in great demand in the UK. This has opened up investment opportunities for investors, with yields of 8% and above while at the same time giving them a chance to play a pivotal part in providing care homes for the elderly. 

Developers like Qualia Care and the Carlauren Group have built a number of private care home development which provide 24/7 nursing-care, providing a high standard of life for its inmates, especially those who have a need for assisted-living. Find out more about UK care homes investment this weekend. Speak to the developer who will be in town to answer all questions. Details below:

Find out how you can earn 8% nett yields at 25 years assured, while at the same time play a part in providing care homes for the elderly in the UK.

The UK commercial care homes market is growing in popularity among investors given the high yields that the sector brings. Due to the counter-cyclical nature of the investment, investors can earn up to 10% returns assured with exit options from year 5 or 10 at appreciated values. Keen to invest in this sector? Contact us at 016-228 8691 or 016-228 9150, or send us a message at Alternatively, send us a comment below!

By Ian Choong


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#GE14: Investors and the Battle for Malaysia

In just a matter of hours, Malaysia will enter what could be the biggest tussle for leadership yet — the 14th General Election. Image credit: Asian Business Software Solutions

In just a matter of hours, Malaysia will enter what could be the biggest tussle for leadership yet: the 14th General Election (#GE14).

Once again, the incumbent government faces a serious onslaught (its most critical since Independence, perhaps) as factions from the Opposition unite to mount a formidable challenge for rulership of the land. As the latter’s weapon of warfare looms in the shape of 92-year-old former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; the former continues to push its promises of cash and stability-in-the-status-quo to the masses.

The rising costs of living hogs the spotlight this #GE14, but yet another issue coming to a head as voters go to the polls tomorrow, is the lack of affordable housing, especially for middle class urbanites known as the M40 (ostensibly because they form part of the middle 40 percentile). This is an issue most pronounced in the bustling urban constituencies of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor Bahru. 

Bank Negara in its quarterly bulletin in Feb 2018, noted that homes had become “seriously unaffordable” in 2016 by international standards. The local media has also reported extensively on the lacklustre performance of the Malaysian property market and now, with the spectre of the general election looming ahead, contesting parties have pledged to tackle housing affordability as part of their election manifestos.

Not only is the M40 watching for the change(s) that could come with the #GE14; investors are paying close attention, too.

Currently, investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach. Wealthy Malaysian investors are diversifying their money into real estate opportunities across residential and commercial properties both at home and overseas, as well as assets such as bonds and gold in light of a more cautious market and the upcoming general election. The general sentiment is that investments into local property could pick up after the election once the dust settles and new policies are put into place.

Be that as it may, Knight Frank’s latest Wealth Report Attitudes Survey 2018 reveals that 43% of its Malaysian clients have plans to invest in properties overseas, going forward, with the top five overseas destinations being Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand and the United States. Interestingly, Malaysia tops the survey, followed by Hong Kong (40%), China (37%) and Singapore (30%).

The rising interest in overseas properties investment is not surprising, given the favourable returns that investors get (our portfolio of property investments can offer up to 10% nett returns for 10 years!).

“With the current property glut and wait-and-see approach adopted by investors, it is certainly a driver to continue investing abroad,” says Knight Frank Asia Pacific head of research, Nicholas Holt.

In a recent article in The Malaysian Reserve, Henry Butcher Real Estate Sdn Bhd COO Tang Chee Meng said that speculators and investors have been deterred by a host of issues including oversupply in certain locations, cooling measures by the government and cap on loan margins. The reduced interest from developers, he added, had resulted in more sluggish take-up rates for developers, thus contributing to the increase in the overhang statistics.

Stagnating rental growth rates have also clouded the local property market. And, with new developments moving at such a rapid rate, the rental market is hard pressed to keep up.

After tomorrow, the next few months will be crucial. The nation will be watching to see if promises are kept and if manifestos on bread-and-butter and housing issues will take effect in reality.

To all Malaysians traveling to cast their votes this #GE14, CSI Prop wishes you a safe journey. Selamat Mengundi.

By Vivienne Pal


CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Prop does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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Are British Accents A Reflection of the UK Housing Market?

How do the Brits rate the many different accents in the British Isles and are they a reflection of the British property market?

There is a sort of ‘pecking order’ to the accents found in the British Isles. But here’s the question: is this pecking order a reflection of the performance of the property market in the different cities in the UK?

There is a common fallacy that surrounds the British accent, the misconception being that there’s only one. Well, there isn’t.

If you were to do a quick analysis of English dialects, you will find that there are roughly as many accents in the British Isles as there are in the whole of North America – including Canada, Bermuda and Native American dialects. Drill deeper and you will find that there is one dialect per every 1.3 million people in the British Isles (vs. a rather unimpressive one in 10m people in North America)!

This is a fact known to few, with many not even realising the huge variety in British accents, let alone the hilariously painful hierarchy associated with it.

Thanks to YouGov, an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm headquartered in the UK, the mystery to this social pecking order has been  has unravelled.

There is a hierarchy associated with all the accents in the British Isles. Which do you prefer? Image credit: YouGov

YouGov conducted a research based on the public’s ratings of the attractiveness of the 12 main British accents in the UK and found that the public has deemed the Birmingham ‘Brummie’ accent the most unattractive. A study by psychologists from Bath Spa University expressed the reason behind this prejudice: apparently, people with Brummie accents sound like crooks, and are viewed as less intelligent and less imaginative.  Of course, these stereotypes are not rooted in science, and should not be treated as a true measure of intelligence.

Interestingly, the Liverpool ‘Scouse’ and Manchester ‘Mancunian’ accents were the second and third worst, respectively.  A good thing, then, that accents are neutralised in song, for Liverpool-born Paul McCartney and John Lennon of The Beatles, along with Mancunian Liam Gallagher of English rock band Oasis, might have had a harder time topping the charts!


So, Which British Accent Won the Linguistic Battle of Appeal?

Taking the top spot in YouGov’s research is the Southern Irish accent. Those keeping up with news on entertainment may have come across the likes of Saoirse Ronan and Cillian Murphy, whose speeches and interviews alone may well prove the report true.

Quite surprisingly, though, Received Pronunciation (RP), the very accent of the Qqueen herself, came in second place with a considerable 11-point difference from the first spot. RP has quite the prestigious reputation with only 2% of the British population speaking it, all of whom are of high social standing.

Waltzing into third place is the Welsh accent. A separate study by The Language Gallery revealed that people who speak with the Welsh twang were perceived as sounding happier than those with other English accents. Robert Downey Jr. has taken up the challenge of learning this jolly accent for his upcoming film, and Welsh fans are ecstatic about it.  


All British Accents Retain Their Glory Outside the UK

In the end, regardless of what the Brits themselves think, it appears that the rest of the world continues to marvel at the sophistication of all British accents.

Lyndsey Reid, a Brummie-speaking writer at Business Insider in the US recounts that there really isn’t a “bad” British accent in America given the numerous compliments she has received since landing in New York.

Her accent, she says, is a novelty that sets her apart in a positive way. Since her move to America, she has been asked to do presentations at events and provide an insight into the British English language. And, it is her voice that has been used in voice-overs for internal corporate videos.

“You guys think I sound like Emma Watson,” says the wordsmith, “and even though that couldn’t be further from the truth, I’ll take it.” 


British Accents Are Not A Reflection of the Housing Market 

While their accents don’t quite meet the mark (at least among the Brits), Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have something else going on for them — their property market.

Those keeping up with the news must be aware of the regional city rise, whereby house prices in cities outside London are experiencing greater growth than in the capital. Shrewd investors would know that these three cities, while home to the UK’s bottom three accents, are actually subject to  have some of the best house price growth rates in the UK.

And, as such, we conclude that the scales have tipped in favor of the flourishing cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

At CSI Prop, while we cannot offer lessons on the British accent, we can help you invest in some of the best properties the UK has to offer! Contact us at +603 2162 2260 to invest in properties Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

By Nimue Wafiya



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Hello Melbourne, Move Over Sydney

Melbourne could be Australia’s next biggest city by 2031 if growth trends continue (Photo: Leigh Hennigham)

Right now Sydney is Australia’s largest city, but this may no longer be true by 2031 if current growth trends continue.

According to demographer Bernard Salt, if Melbourne maintains its current growth rate, its population will surpass that of Sydney by 2031, well ahead of previous estimates.

Historically, the population of Melbourne once exceeded Sydney’s back in the gold rush-inspired 1850s. By the time of Federation — the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia — both cities were about the same size at half a million people each.

However, at the end of the 20th century, it was Sydney that took the lead with close to 4 million people, higher than Melbourne by about 600,000.

Sydney’s current lead is close to 350,000 but it is losing ground at a rate of 20,000 a year.

The difference in population between Sydney and Melbourne (The Australian)

Why is Melbourne attracting more growth than Sydney?

According to Mr Salt, Melbourne offers what Sydney cannot or is inclined not to offer — access to affordable housing on the urban fringes. Where the price for a house and land package on the fringes starts with the number three in Melbourne, Sydney’s more distant equivalent starts with a five.

Mr Salt added that it was the policies — Sydney’s “full” and Melbourne at 2030 — which changed the long-term fortunes of both cities.

Bob Carr, Labour premier and environmentalist, declared Sydney full in 2000. This led his government not to invest enough in infrastructure to accommodate expansion. Melbourne, on the other hand, planned for growth under Jeffrey Kennett’s government in the 90s, forming a plan for 5 million residents by 2030.

This plan opened up the Melbourne’s west region to new development and was the beginning of its transformation. Within a decade, the Gold Coast lost its place as the nation’s fastest-growing region to Melbourne’s west.

In November 2007, census ­results confirmed that Melbourne was closing the gap on Australia’s previously untouchable Emerald City. This trend has continued, and the last figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Melbourne added a record-breaking 108,000 residents whilst Sydney added just 83,000 — in the year to June 2016.

The housing and jobseeker market most readily gravitates to cities that deliver housing affordability combined with access to a capital city job market. And that is precisely what Melbourne is doing better than Sydney in the 21st century.

Whilst Sydney’s house prices continue to fall, Melbourne’s housing remains in demand. In the year to April 2018 house prices in Sydney have dropped by about 2.1%, whilst Melbourne has managed a healthy 5.3% increase.

The Future of Melbourne

As Melbourne continues to grow, it will reach an estimated 8 million residents by the early 2050s. More development of housing and infrastructure will be needed in order to keep pace with the city’s booming population.

Melbourne City Council has already submitted a proposal for two more underground rail tunnels by 2035 to cope with exploding population growth. The proposal also includes its trams having road and traffic light priority throughout the city – as in Zurich – to cope with the demand. An extra 116,000 people are expected to take trains into the city in the morning peak by 2031, which is almost double the present number.

The two proposed rail tunnels (Metro 1 & 2), with another – Metro 3 – a second airport rail line linking to Southern Cross (The Age)

Property group Stockland has recently announced plans to deliver more than 1,600 homes in the Melbourne suburb of Truganina. The $540 million residential project will be less than 30 kilometres from the CBD, and will span a 138-hectare area, comprising a community activity centre, local parks, town centre, primary school and a 54-hectare conservation zone.

For those that would rather live closer to the city, and have less need for a house and land package, Melbourne’s prime CBD zone is where it’s at. There have been several new luxury apartment developments in the CBD, one of them being the strategically-located Palladium Tower, which achieved an amazing 98 out of 100 walk score!

With a full host of amenities and a Woolworths supermarket on the ground floor, it offers luxury living right within reach of everything Melbourne has to offer. The Crown Casino is right opposite, and 2 tram lines on both sides lead into the CBD near the Free Tram Zone. The development is fully FIRB approved, and commands a high rental yield with an average of around 5.2%.

Article by Ian Choong


CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Prop does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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UK Property Investment Beyond Brexit

In less than a year, the UK  will officially exit the EU. Here is an overview of the Brexit effect on the UK property market.

Recently, popular actor Sir Patrick Stewart joined Members of Parliament and business leaders in London for the launch of a campaign called The People’s Vote. The campaign calls for a second Brexit vote, and drew some 1,200 people, including representatives from all of Britain’s major parties.

The actor, who played Professor X in X-Men, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, had earlier said that both his iconic X-Men and Star Trek characters would have backed Remain. This provoked a retort from Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary. Mr Johnson drew upon Star Trek’s famous line, saying that Brexit will enable the UK to “boldly go” to areas it has neglected in recent years as it seeks trade deals.

On 29 March 2019, the UK will cease to be part of the EU as per the terms of Article 50. Taking into consideration the time needed for ratification by both the EU and UK, negotiations need to be complete by the end of 2018, or both parties risk a ‘cliff edge’ scenario where ties are suddenly severed with no arrangement as to how to move forward outside World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

The UK has long been a global superpower with London as the world’s financial, education and cultural centre — even before it became a member of the EU.

Brexit and the property landscape

The UK has long been a global superpower with London as the world’s financial, education and cultural centre, even before it became a member of the EU.

Our position has always been that there will, undeniably, be risks and opportunities. And while uncertainty is bound to rock the housing and economic market, we are positive that the UK will adapt to changes caused by Brexit. The slowdown in the housing market is likely a short-term one as the lack of housing supply in the UK will not change overnight, thus there will continue to be opportunities for property investors.

CBRE, in its Brexit Guide for Real Estate Decision Makers released last month (March 2018), echoes the sentiment and concludes that Brexit is not likely to have a significant impact on the property market.

The British Prime Minister has said on many occasions that she would rather that no deal be made (in negotiations with the EU), than a bad one. CBRE calculates the probability of a no-deal Brexit scenario at around 25%. A no-deal scenario would mean the UK leaving on WTO rules, rather than continued preferential market access. Such an outcome could be damaging for the short-term confidence in the UK economy, especially if the UK is not well prepared.

What is significant for the real estate market are the current negotiations on future trade and migration arrangements.

Migration controls are likely to be tighter, but it is not clear yet to what extent the controls will be. In the 2017 General Election, the Government restated its target to cut nett migration to below 100,000 people per year. This will be challenging given that nett migration into the UK is currently more than double that amount, and added on to the fact that the Government wants to allow highly-skilled EU immigrants to continue to come to the UK.

The reduction in immigrants could very well cause labour shortages and inflation. A shortage in labour affecting the construction sector could mean the slowing down of on-going developments, inevitably causing real estate demand to rise. This was implicitly recognized in the Government’s November 2017 Budget, in which £34 mil was allocated to retraining the unemployed to work in this sector.

However, any attempt to tighten migration controls will not be made until 2021 at the earliest, given that the Government has made a commitment to import the entire body of EU law into domestic legislation, which will take a while.

This will also mean that regulatory legislation for the property market is likely to stay stagnant until after 2021 as well. Tax change is not likely to differ either. Most taxes have been nationally-determined, with the exception of VAT and customs duties where the EU has specific influence. Thus Brexit will not induce much change in that regard.

Residential Property

The residential property market is on the road to recovery, going up by 34% from the post-crisis sales rate, which was about 1.2 million sales in 2017.

First-time buyers have increased from the long-term average of 41% to 48%. This can possibly be attributed to the Government’s Help to Buy program, which provides more accessible financing for those looking to purchase residential property. Movers are hindered by a lack of stock coming onto the market, and this trend is most pronounced in London.

CBRE predicts that house price growth will slow to around 1.5% in 2018, but rally in 2019 and reach 17.1% in the next five years.

CBRE house price and rental forecast for 2018-2021

Commercial Student Accommodation

Commercial student accommodation is set to be a growth area, with or without a Brexit deal. Research from Cushman & Wakefield showed that the supply of studio rooms has more than doubled since 2014. In 2017 a record-breaking 30,000 bed spaces were provided.

However, supply is still not keeping pace with the growth of students in recent years. CBRE’s research shows that there still is much headroom for further provision of student accommodation in many cities in the UK.

CBRE’s valuation index of 65,000 bed spaces reached double-digits, with total returns at 11.9% in the 12 months to Sept 2017. This significantly outperformed the Investment Property Database (IPD) All Property Index at 9.5%, which provides an indication of investment performance for the entire real estate market as a whole.

Nett rental growth of the index reached 4.1%, which was pushing double the IPD ERV (Estimated Rental Value) growth, at 2.2%.

Future demand for student property is likely to increase as latest UCAS figures show that student applications have gone up. The number of applications by EU and international students for university places in the UK increased to over 100,000 for the first time in 2018, a rise of almost 8% compared to last year. From this it can be seen that Brexit is irrelevant to students looking to further their studies, and the UK remains a popular place due to the reputation it has for quality tertiary education.

David Feeney, advisory associate at Cushman & Wakefield explains, “The UK is still a global education hub, attracting the best students from around the world. Even with Britain’s exit from the EU progressing, the relatively weak pound has attracted additional applications from non-EU students, with their numbers rising 5% over the last year. It is a key market, as 23% of the UK student population is now from overseas.”


Healthcare real estate investment hit record prices in 2017, reaching double (£1.4bn) that of the whole of 2016 (£720m) in just January to October. A majority of investments went into commercial care homes, far surpassing the rest of the healthcare sector.

Healthcare Investment Volumes for 2016 and 2017 (CBRE)

The large disparity of care home supply and demand has driven investments in this area. The UK’s population is ageing rapidly and existing facilities are already unable to cater to the current demand. There is also a lack of support for sufferers of dementia, a demographic which is also increasing rapidly.

We can see more real estate investment trusts (REITs) starting to focus on this in 2018 and beyond. AXA’s acquisition of Retirement Villages and L&G’s acquisition of Inspired Villages and Renaissance Villages were all purchases involving established operators with development pipelines.


The current uncertainty in the air continues to dampen confidence and growth in the UK’s economy. Currency-induced inflation has not yet fully dissipated, slowing consumer spending. Yet, as we have said previously, the weak pound has attracted a good number of international real estate investors to the UK, increasing demand for property. The weak sterling provides investors with a great opportunity to get into the UK property market right now, and cash in later when the market regains its footing.

Certain sectors like commercial student property and commercial elderly care homes are Brexit-proof due to the high demand and low supply, regardless of whether the UK does or does not exit the EU with a deal. These sectors also have the advantage of being accessible to the individual investor and not just REITs, with their availability to be purchased in affordable units.

Article by Ian Choong

  • CBRE Brexit Guide for Real Estate Decision Makers
  • Feature image:

CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Prop does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260