Birmingham has undergone a significant transformation for a number of years, with milestones including the £600 million reopening of New Street station, £150 million launch of Grand Central shopping centre and its flagship John Lewis store, plus the £50 million redevelopment of The Mailbox and £150 million opening of leisure complex Resorts World Birmingham.
For two years consecutively (2015 & 2016), Birmingham was named the most investable city in the UK in an annual survey of European investors’ intentions. The respected survey, by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and adviser PwC, placed Birmingham sixth ahead of the likes of Milan, London and Paris.
The proposed HS2 railway will link Birmingham to London, the East Midlands, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester - significantly reducing the travel time between each location and improving economic prospects further.
Now a prospering and vibrant city, Birmingham is becoming an increasingly appealing place to live, work and invest – offering what is often described as ‘a cosmopolitan lifestyle without the price tag’. But what is it that makes Birmingham so appealing?
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).
The Property Market...
Birmingham is quickly becoming one of the UK’s top cities for property investment, attracting more foreign direct investment than any other UK region. The city’s housing demand is fuelled by a number of factors including a lack of supply, a young professional demographic, high student population and an influx of almost 2,000 international companies that makeup the largest professional services sector outside of London. The population of the city has risen four and a half times faster than the rate of new housing over the last decade, leading for calls for drastic action from the Government (Birmingham Mail).
According to Hometrack, property values in the city increased faster than anywhere else in the country. The average price of a home in Birmingham increased by 8% compared with the same month last year (July 2016) and in the last 22 years average property prices have increased by 257% (home.co.uk).
“Values of apartments in Birmingham have increased by 9.62% over the past year, which is proportionally 21% more than the Birmingham average rise of 7.94%. The last time flats/apartments in Birmingham outperformed all the other types of property, by such a gulf, was back in the spring of 2003” (Love Your Postcode, 2017).
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.
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).