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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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London Falling

Not all about London anymore. The London housing market is struggling with prices falling for the first time in 8 years. At a record drop of 0.6% in September this year, London is the weakest performing region in the UK for the first time since 2005. Image credit: http://bit.ly/2gcAlkU

Increasingly, statistics reveal that growth is expanding outside London. The focus — be it for housing, jobs, resources, or investment — has moved to buzzing regional cities where business is booming on the back of lower costs and a higher quality of living.

The London housing market is struggling. Nationwide reports that London house prices have fallen for the first time in 8 years, and, at a record drop of 0.6% in September this year, London is the weakest performing region in the UK for the first time since 2005.

Outside London and across the UK, however — despite Brexit and concerns about the economy — prices are still rising, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years. And yet, while London’s house prices may have dropped, they remain unapproachable compared to the cities beyond.

To date, house prices charting the most significant increases in England and Wales are the Midlands* and Northwestern cities of Manchester and Liverpool, as well as in some pockets off central London like Luton and Guildford, and Northern Ireland.

A chart published recently in the Financial Times shows house prices falling in London and the South East but growing elsewhere. Image credit: Financial Times; source: RICS

Greener Investment Pastures Beyond London

Years of rapid price increases have made London and the south unaffordable to many buyers, prompting them to buy further away and commute. After all, it takes less than an hour to travel from Bedford or Luton  to central London by train, while cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool have a buzzing business scene.

The signs have been there for a while now, says Virata Thaivasigamony of CSI Prop, an active property investment consultancy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that promotes investments in UK and Australian property.

“The writing has been on the wall for some time and we’ve said that prices in London will flatline this year. London has always been regarded as the business capital and startup central of the UK, but the fact is that businesses and investments are moving outside of London and into the regional cities. It would be remiss of us to ignore that the best places to invest in are now in those cities,” he elaborates.

What’s Trending

Manchester, popularly assumed as UK’s second city and the Silicon Valley of Britain, is fast earning a reputation as the hotbed of tech and startup talent in the UK, thus pushing property prices up. The city is also a recipient of billions in investment dollars, thanks, in part, to the government’s push for the Northern Powerhouse, propelling the rise in investment returns across central and Greater Manchester, including Salford as well as other Northern Powerhouse core cities like Liverpool.

Prices of property have been rising in Northwestern cities such as Manchester, as more corporations move from London to this city to set up headquarters and make use of its resources and talent pool. Image credit: http://bit.ly/2hEX3Um

Corporations are decentralising from London to the regional cities, too. BBC, ITV and HSBC come to mind, having set up home in Greater Manchester; airlines such as Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific have since 2014 provided direct flights between Manchester and Hong Kong, while China’s Hainan Airlines launched a direct flight service in 2016, making Manchester Airport the only British hub outside London to have non-stop flights to Beijing.

Meanwhile, Berkeley, one of Britain’s best-known luxury housebuilders has broken out of London to build a business in Birmingham to cater to housing demand in the city.

Javad Marandi, a British businessman with investments in commercial and residential real estate says, “Regional markets including the North East, the South West and Yorkshire and Humber have shown growth in commercial property activity, a sure sign of a growing business environment with an increasingly positive outlook, making them one of the best regions to invest in. Building a workforce, free of soaring London living costs, will in turn be cheaper to employ – and no doubt happier with the favourable cost of living outside the capital.”

That Britain is plagued by a serious undersupply in housing is an understatement. Opportunities in these cities have expanded the population, further underscoring the acute demand and need for housing. From a property investment standpoint, this is a good thing.

Meanwhile, a number of university cities are showing a spike in house prices. Towns that are home to a large student population such as Guildford and Liverpool, are seeing a surge in prices. The biggest 3-year percentage house price rise was near the University of Bedfordshire, which has its main campus in Luton, charting a 42% increase in prices over the period of an undergraduate degree.

“The best regions to invest in lie outside the capital – it’s no longer all about London,” Marandi concludes.

Statistics by RICS indicate that house prices are set to rise across England next year except for London. Image credit: Financial Times; source: RICS

Growth Outside London  

The UK is still seen as a good and safe place to invest your money due to a weakened pound, and, in spite of uncertainties arising from Brexit.

House prices will continue to rise as demand increases and Britain grapples with a chronic housing undersupply, but it appears — for now — that the best investment opportunities lie in regional cities like Manchester and Liverpool, and the outer boroughs of London.

That said, it is crucial to note that London is a market within a market, with characteristics of its own, and that it will bounce back — just as the housing market in the Midlands* bounced back from a low in 2015 to become one of Britain’s fast-growing housing markets today. On a positive note, it is during these low-market times that savvy investors invest in order to reap the most luscious of fruits when the market bounces back.

Article 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.

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