In the 1960s, average wages in Birmingham were higher than in London. It was at the heart of UK manufacturing and had the lowest unemployment rates in the country. But this came with problems, and a chronic shortage of labour led to firms moving elsewhere in the country in the 1970s.
After the car industry imploded, the city fell into decline. Over the next two decades, unemployment rose from virtually zero to nearly 20%.
Thankfully, over the last few years, the city has undergone a renaissance. In 2017, HSBC moved their headquarters to Birmingham, bringing with them more than £200M in investment and 1,000 head office roles from London. Other multinationals, such as Deutsche Bank and PwC, have followed suit and expanded their operations to the city.
Birmingham now has the highest growth in manufacturing and technology jobs in the UK outside London, and it was the most popular destination for people relocating out of London in 2015.
At Alesco, we consider Birmingham to be one of the best locations in the UK for property investment. And we’re not alone. PwC recently ranking Birmingham as the sixth best city for investment in the whole of Europe and the best for property investment in the UK.
Here are some of the reasons why.
Situated in the heart of the UK, 90% of the population can drive to Birmingham in under four hours. London is just 100 miles away.
Birmingham Airport serves 150 destinations globally and welcomes nearly 13 million people through its doors annually. In November 2018, plans for a £500m investment were unveiled, which has the potential to increase passenger numbers to 30 million a year.
Arriving in the centre of Birmingham in 2026 will be HS2 – Europe’s biggest infrastructure project. The high-speed rail link will cut travel times between Birmingham and London to under one hour. Furthermore, it will bring £1 billion in investment to the Eastside area of Birmingham where the HS2 station is going to be situated.
Birmingham is Europe’s youngest city with 45% of the population under the age of 30. This includes around 65,000 students across five top universities. Within a one-hour radius of the city, you’ll find 20 more universities – including three Russell Group institutions.
By 2039, Birmingham’s population is expected to rise by 171,000 to 1.3 million. This means there is a vast pool of talent for employers to choose from. But it also means there is a massive opportunity for buy-to-let investors to provide accommodation for this influx of people.
The £700m, city-centre Paradise project is one of Birmingham’s most important development in a generation. It will bring 1.8m square feet of new office, retail and leisure space as well as a 250-bedroom hotel. PwC has already pre-let One Chamberlain Square – the first building set to complete as part of the project in 2019.
Another significant development is Smithfield – a 34-acre site located between the city’s Chinese quarter, Eastside district and the main city centre shopping area. This £1bn development will create new shops, hotels, a public square and 2,000 new homes. The project, set to commence in 2019, will bring 3,000 new jobs and £470 million to the city economy.
In December 2017, the city was selected to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be the largest sporting event in the UK since the 2012 Olympics. As a result, Birmingham will have the global spotlight on it and receive an estimated £750-million boost to its economy.
With the highest quality of life in the UK after London – but with a cost of living that is 60% less – Birmingham is expected to see rapid growth over the next few years. The high demand for high-quality city centre living and a lack of residential properties has created a strong buy-to-let market. As an investor, this is the perfect time to sow the seeds of a lucrative investment.
Here at Alesco, we have a wide range of exclusive property investment opportunities in Birmingham and elsewhere in the UK’s Northern Powerhouse; most are listed on our website here but to hear about our full range – including our off-market options – give us a call today or fill in your details below.
Also published on Medium.