Why It Might Be Time To Invest in Birmingham
Birmingham is enjoying something of a renaissance. Emerging from a generation in the doldrums, relative to the exponential growth of London, the area has, in recent years really begun to live up to its billing as Britain’s second city.
As reported in the Financial Times earlier this year the city has been attracting the attention of some big names across industry and finance in recent times, with the announcement of HSBC moving its retail headquarters to the Midlands, bringing 1000 jobs with them as well as the expansion into the area of Deutsche Bank.
Indeed, these progressive moves from such big-hitting financial institutions reflects the fact that the city has become one of the more attractive regions for investment anywhere in the UK, or, for that matter, across Europe. A fact backed up by a recent report from PWC that placed Birmingham sixth on their list of best cities for investment in Europe – ahead of London.
So What’s Caused This Upturn for Birmingham?
There seems to be a number of factors all playing a part in making Birmingham an increasingly attractive proposition for investors.
- Cost of Living – Birmingham represents a cheaper standard of living to the higher costs of London yet still retains all the attractions that you’d expect to find in a big city.
- Lifestyle – Closely related to this is the fact that Birmingham’s reputation for having an attractive and exciting city lifestyle has continued to grow. This seems to be due in part to an ever more vibrant student culture in conjunction with more and more younger professionals choosing to start their careers in the city.
- Regeneration – The modernising of the city has played a key role in the resurgence of Birmingham as a major urban centre. Gone are the stereotyped images of uninspired concrete structures, replaced with a new modern layout of shops, bars and restaurants around the Bull Ring and New St areas and along the canal-side part of town. With further investment in modernising New St station underway, the trend for further growth is set to continue.
- Transport – And, with modernisation to the main rail station is the fact that transport links between Birmingham and London, as well as to the main cities of the north, has never been better. With the planned HS2 making rail transport to London less than 1 hour as well as new flight routes to China from Birmingham Airport, Birmingham promises to be ever more accessible as a global city.
The Time is Ripe for Property Investment in Birmingham
All of these contributing factors make Birmingham a city ripe for property investment, either as an alternative to London or for those looking to expand beyond the southern heartlands, matching the trend of young professionals who are choosing cities such as Birmingham as alternatives to live and work.
The FT reports that Birmingham now has one of the youngest, most diverse and highly qualified work forces in the UK and, with a continued demand (and indeed a current shortfall) for quality properties and accommodation then there’s a real and growing opportunity for property investors.
Certainly the environment for investment seems to be as conducive as you would wish to for in Birmingham right now. A big and growing city where demand for housing is high, yet prices remain that much lower than London and the South-East. And with a council keen on encouraging up to £9 billion in property investment over the coming decade, the prospects for the future looks bright for investors from the UK and overseas.