It’s an exciting time to invest in Birmingham.
With major businesses having already moved in, long-term infrastructure, transport and communications projects are set to improve life in the area in the long term and ensure that this youthful, vibrant and progressive city becomes an even more attractive place to be involved with.
PwC have described Birmingham as the UK’s most investable city. Property prices have seen an 8.9% year-on-year growth over the past year, ahead of the UK average, a trend expected to continue to at least 2022. It outranks London in PwC’s 2018 ‘Emerging Trends in Real Estate’ report looking at future prospects of European cities.
Here comes HS2
The development of HS2 is set to have a huge impact on Birmingham. The new high-speed line connecting the city to London is due to open in 2026 and will cut journey times to and from the capital from an hour and 20 minutes to just 49 minutes. Lines to Leeds and Manchester will follow by 2031, also speeding up journeys to these major cities.
The arrival of HS2, which will stop in the city centre, will see Birmingham gain the first new intercity railway station built in the UK for over a century when Curzon Street is completed in 2026. Curzon Street will link to the tram network and local trains, while HS2 will run through Interchange, another new station to be built in nearby Solihull that will connect various local services.
Construction of HS2 – a bigger project than London’s Crossrail – is boosting the local economy and attracting people in need of short term and long-term property solutions. The prospect of improved local infrastructure and national connections is also attracting businesses, with HSBC moving its retail and commercial operations to Birmingham.
Bringing the Games to Birmingham
Birmingham will welcome one of the world’s largest sporting events when it hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2022. It is expected to generate around £750million for the local economy and leave behind a wealth of benefits for the area.
The principle venue for the games will be the Alexander Stadium in Perry Bar, north of the city centre. This athletics stadium will be radically upgraded to a capacity of 40,000 for the event, before being remodelled to leave the city with a venue for major track and field competitions boasting a capacity of 25,000.
There will be spin-offs for the property market with the athletes’ village, to be built in Perry Barr and home to 6,500 competitors during the games, being redeveloped afterwards as around 3,000 apartments and townhouses for sale or rent.
Upgrades for local transport
The legacy of the games will also be felt in Birmingham’s transport system. Perry Bar’s railway station will be rebuilt, and a Rapid sprint bus route will be installed. Birmingham’s tram network is to be extended from the city centre out to Edgbaston and will also include a stop at the new HS2 station. In places the trams will run on batteries rather than via overhead power lines – the first of its kind in the UK.
City centre shopping
Retail plays a major role in the city, including the famous Bull Ring shopping centre, the Grand Central area built right above New Street Station and the Selfridge’s store with its eye-catching façade of 15,000 aluminium discs.
Sport and leisure high on the Birmingham agenda
Birmingham has a long-standing reputation when it comes to entertainment and sport. The National Exhibition Centre – NEC – opened in 1976 and has hosted major exhibitions and concerts, has been the home of the annual Horse of the Year Show since 2002, while Arena Birmingham is another large venue, capable of welcoming up to 16,000 people and located right in the city itself.
The Symphony Hall is renowned for its superb acoustics and is home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Other popular venues include the Hippodrome and the Alexandra.
The area boasts several major football clubs in Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Brom and nearby Wolverhampton Wanderers. The cricket stadium in Edgbaston, to the south of the city centre, is one of the best in the country and a lively home to the England team several times every summer.
There are more Michelin-starred restaurants in Birmingham than another UK city outside London, and its vibrant ethnic mix is reflected in the city’s outstanding reputation for south Asian food.
Attracting major employers
Birmingham has been transformed since the days of traditional heavy industry that used to dominate in the area. HSBC has relocated its retail and commercial arm and around 2,000 employees to the city from London, taking advantage of office rents being a third of those in the capital. Deutsche Bank is also established in the city after making a similarly big move a few years ago.
A seat of learning with an eye to the future
Birmingham is home to over 60,000 students. The University of Birmingham is the UK’s original ‘red brick’ university, founded in 1900, and its iconic clock tower is one of the most famous landmarks on the city skyline. Birmingham City, Aston and Newman universities and University College Birmingham are also within the city.
The large student population, together with a growing workforce needing somewhere to live during big projects like HS2 and the Commonwealth Games, mean rental demand in Birmingham is growing. Under 25s form around 40% of Birmingham’s population, making it the youngest city in Europe.