Birmingham

Investment Guide

Population

1,000,000+

region

Midlands

county

West Midlands

Property

Birmingham has a healthy housing market, which has enjoyed price rises of 6% over the past year, according to Rightmove. Based on Zoopla figures, home values there have risen by 15.96% in the past five years and by 236.38% in the past 20 years.

Terraced houses were the most popular property and enjoyed the largest volume of sales in Birmingham over the past year, with Rightmove figures showing an average sale price of £143,648. Semi-detached homes sold for £173,806 on average, while apartments sold for £136,927.

Across Birmingham, properties sold for an average price of £168,062, rising to £170,756 for homes in the city centre (Rightmove).

Economy

The UK’s second most populous city, Birmingham has a growing reputation as a location for international business. As an example, Birmingham posted a GVA figure of £24.8bn for 2015 and economic growth in the city was the second strongest amongst the 10 core cities. The city posted a rate of growth of 5.2%, well above the average rate for the core cities of 3.7% and double the UK rate of 2.6% (The Birmingham City Council, 2017).

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors UK Powerhouse report forecasts that by the end of 2017, the value of the Birmingham’s economy will be £225m larger than it was in the three months following the Brexit vote. It also expects employment levels to be 3,100 higher, with a influx of new businesses. Knight Frank recently named Birmingham as the UK’s number one business hotspot and with the creation of new jobs, young talent has followed. In 2015, when comparing the number of Londoners who have relocated out of the capital, over 6,000 people moved from London to Birmingham; more than any other comparable city in the UK.

Birmingham’s business base grew 8.1 per cent during 2016, beating Manchester at 7.2 per cent and London with 6.4 per cent. Growth was more than twice the national average of 3.5 per cent (Financial Times, 2016).

Employment

Birmingham is creating businesses at a faster rate than London as the Midlands city continues to improve its economic fortunes. Birmingham’s business base grew 8.1% during 2016, beating Manchester with 7.2% and London with 6.4%. Growth was more than twice the national average of 3.5%. The actual numbers of business in Birmingham rose from 35,665 to 38,552 during the course of the year, according to figures from ONS.

Regeneration in the city has been a key focus over the past few years. The Big City Plan comprises of a 20-year master plan transforming Birmingham into a world class city centre that will contribute £2.1 billion to the economy each year, including 50,000 new jobs. Key schemes include the £500 million ‘Paradise development’ in Chamberlain Square, the new home of PwC’s 1,400 strong workforce.

DEMOGRAPHY

Birmingham is home to more than 1.1 million people, making it the second largest city in the UK. The population has increased by 9.9% since 2004, based on Census data, growing at an average of 0.9% per year.

Census figures show that Birmingham’s universities and employment opportunities have created a youthful population. Some 45.7% of residents are estimated to be under 30, compared with 39.4% nationally, while just 13.1% of residents are over 65, compared with 17.6% across England. This makes Birmingham the youngest city in Europe in terms of the profile of its residents.

Education

As the largest metropolitan borough in Europe, the education sector is thriving in Birmingham. The UK’s second-largest student city with over 65,000 students boasts five sought after universities: Aston University, Birmingham City University, the University of Birmingham, University College Birmingham and Newman University College.

The University of Birmingham contributes £3.5 billion to the UK economy every year – supporting 15,545 jobs in the West Midlands – almost one in 50 jobs in Birmingham. The University of Birmingham also plays a significant part in attracting international visitors to the region. International students alone contribute more than £160 million to the economy (Birmingham.ac.uk, 2015).

There are a further 20 universities within an hour of Greater Birmingham, including three Russell Group institutions which represent 24 world-class institutions, dedicated to maintaining the very best in research. Together, the universities provide not only excellent further education options but also a vast pool of talent available to local employers to hand-pick from top-class candidates. Aston University is among the top ten universities for graduate employability (The Independent’s Complete University Guide 2010).

TRANSPORT

Birmingham is at the heart of the UK rail network and a transport hub for people traveling throughout the UK.  The city benefits from excellent connectivity links with the M6, M5, M42 and M40 making it easily accessible to most parts of the UK. London is 110 miles south, Bristol 90 miles southwest, Manchester 80 miles northwest & Leeds 100 miles north.

The principal train station is Birmingham New Street, which provides links to all major city centres in the UK. The newly redeveloped station alone has the capacity for 52 million passengers a year. Trains to London leave every 15 minutes during peak times and every 30 minutes during non-peak times, taking approximately one hour and 20 minutes. There are two other train stations in Birmingham; Birmingham Snow Hill and Moor Street, which have trains running to London Marylebone as well as other further afield national destinations.

The stations at Birmingham also provide quick access to Birmingham International – Birmingham Airport’s own station stop – for anyone looking to fly to and from Birmingham. The International Airport is six miles east of the city centre, serving all major destinations in Europe and beyond.

The proposed HS2 railway will link Birmingham to London, the East Midlands, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester – significantly reducing the travel time between each location. Currently, the average journey time from Birmingham to London is 1 hour 24 minutes which will reduce to 49 minutes on HS2 – taking off 40% of the time.

Birmingham is expected to massively benefit from the new HS2 high-speed rail link, when open this will cut travel times to just 49 minutes from Birmingham Curzon Street to London Euston.

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