Birmingham’s establishment dates to the 12th century within the historic county of the West Midlands. The city has come a long way, playing an integral part in the British industrial revolution which laid the foundations for its title as the UK’s Second City.

Today, the city’s young and well-educated talent pool combined with Birmingham’s broad economic base provides a solid foundation for the future growth of the city. In fact, Forbes ranked Birmingham 2nd in the UK for new business start-ups in 2020.

Underpinned by strong career prospects and a vibrant, young atmosphere, its no surprise that the working age population has grown 20% in the last 20 years -almost double the UK average. Lets take a look at some of the key locations and hidden gems within the city attracting the most attention from buy-to-let investors and renters alike.

JEWELLERY QUARTER

Galliard-HomesIf authenticity and history are your thing, this area is definitely worth a look. Described by English Heritage as ‘a national treasure’, it dates back more than 250 years, when jewellers flocked to the area. These days, 40% of the UK’s jewellery is still made here – so an artisanal feel remains. The area has attracted the arts, media and creative industries, along with a strong cohort of professional service providers, bringing with it a trendy Food & Beverage scene.

St. Paul’s Quarter will receive a GBP125 million upgrade on almost 100,000 sq. ft of commercial, retail and leisure space nestled between the buzzing Jewellery Quarter and the city centre. The restoration plan proposes to create 305 new homes and additional mixed-use space across 20 buildings while delicately maintaining the urban grain and historic charm of this heritage site.

Who lives there?

The area is home to Birmingham’s last remaining Georgian square and lovingly restored townhouses. Expect to see established professionals who appreciate the old school charm of beautiful refurbishments, attracted by the eclectic food an beverage scene with an urban village feel.

Take a look at our recently completed development, Bishton Fletcher Building, in the Jewellery Quarter.

DIGBETH

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As a city, Birmingham has exciting property investment prospects, especially when looking at the regeneration of the East side.

Characterised by street art and red-brick housing, Digbeth has been likened to the trendy district of Shoreditch in London. Its convenient location is a huge draw for hipsters, creatives, and savvy businessmen alike. Just 10 minutes on foot from the city centre, Digbeth is growing in popularity as transport routes improve. 

‘The Custard Factory’ is Digbeth’s real estate focal point. A refurbished factory that houses 101 creative industries bound by art galleries, cafes, and dance studios. 

Who lives there? 

Its convenient location is a huge draw in for trendy creatives and savvy businessmen alike. Just 10 minutes on foot from the city centre, the area is estimated to explode in popularity as transport routes improve efficiency.

CHINESE QUARTER

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With a landmark pagoda at its heart, this fresh and vibrant quarter is a hive of restaurants, cafes, street food and some of Birmingham’s hippest nightspots. It lies within the city centre’s Southside; an area that has benefitted hugely from rejuvenation over the last few years.

With Birmingham Old Rep Theatre, Royal Ballet, the O2 Academy and Birmingham Hippodrome all within easy reach, it is certainly a key cultural hub.

Who lives there?  

Chinatown and the wider Southside is in especially high demand with young professionals looking to tap into a vibrant atmosphere.

EASTSIDE

HS2 is a big deal for Birmingham; not least because it will reduce travel times to London to just 49 minutes and will significantly cut journey times to Edinburgh, Newcastle and Manchester. Eastside’s Curzon Park is set to be the home of the new High Speed Rail terminus. Soon, however, the canal regeneration ‘Eastside Locks’ will command significant attention. The GBP450 million investment aims to create 16,000 new jobs and mixed-use floor space on 13-acres of prime Digbeth real estate.

Curzon Park along with nearby City Park Gate are home to some impressive new mixed use developments, while Birmingham City University has its very own Birmingham Institute of Art & Design in the area.

Who lives there?

It is easy to envision Eastside becoming a go-to location for people looking for inter-city connectivity. What’s more, the new GBP11.75 million City Park is the city’s newest urban park, earmarking Eastside as a desirable destination for young families.

GUN QUARTER

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Situated to the north of the city centre, this was for many years a centre of the world’s gun-manufacturing industry. These days the guns are gone, but the area remains a focus for small scale engineering and commerce.

Who lives there? 

The area is just a short walk from both Birmingham City University and Aston University, making this an up-and-coming destination for students.

WESTSIDE

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Here, sympathetically restored Victorian commercial premises co-exist with bold new living and working complexes. Paradise Square is a prime example: a planned ten-building development comprising commercial, civic, retail, leisure and hotel space. Already well-established in the area is the prestigious Queen’s College Chambers Building. Dating back to 1828, the original block started life as accommodation for medical students. The magnificent facade it is still there – and behind it are some of the hottest apartments in the city.

Westside’s canalside Brindleyplace is a hotspot for urbanites from across the city. Grab a meal, enjoy comedy or music, make a special trip for the Dragonboat or film festivals: this is what waterside living is all about.

Who lives there?

As well as professionals, don’t be surprised to run into Premiership footballers. When one of the prime Queen’s College Chambers penthouses hit the market a couple of years ago, players from Aston Villa and West Brom apparently went head-to-head to get a hold of it.


Find out more 

How does Birmingham stack up against other top cities worldwide? Speak with IP Global today to find the ideal property investment opportunity to match your portfolio.

COVID-19 has taken its toll on the world economy. Subsequent volatile conditions have made it difficult to confidently make sound investment decisions.

 

Historically speaking though, property has been considered one of the safest investments you can make.  Investing in property allows you to make immediate income from rent, while also providing long-term gains through capital appreciation. But not all property is equal: some cities are better investments than others - the trouble is finding out which.

Using the investment case for East & Green in Birmingham, we will outline the fundamentals below for a strong real estate investment opportunity in 2020.  

 

5 Things To Look For

 

  1. How robust is the regional economy and how will it recover from COVID-19? 
  2. Will the population in your investment’s location continue to grow while the housing supply remains relatively low? 
  3. Is the population demographic favourable for a strong rental market? 
  4. Is there regeneration that you can leverage off for strong capital growth? 
  5. Is the region well-connected and does it offer a good quality of life to sustain the growing population?  

1. How robust is the regional economy and how will it recover from COVID-19? 

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For good reason, Birmingham has caught the attention of investors around the globe. With a GDP of £38.7bn in 2019, the city’s economy is second only to London. Moreover, Birmingham’s GDP growth of 11.40% forecast for 2021  exceeds the national GDP growth.  

 

This is not something that has gone unnoticed, either. PWC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019 listed Birmingham as the most investable city in the UK, while several big banks including HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Barclays are all relocating to Birmingham. 

 

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which manages the county that Birmingham resides in, has been driving the West Midlands economic recovery plan. It is a £3.2bn blueprint to stimulate economic recovery and to fight climate change. Following the COVID-19 crisis, the plan has been expedited and is now in full force. It aims to create over 135,000 new jobs and build 35,000 new homes by investing in transport, housing and people. Many of these new jobs will be centred around a £614m investment package to facilitate the growth of green technologies. In doing so, the plan also aims to make the West Midlands carbon neutral by 2041.  

 

In fact, Birmingham reported the biggest growth in employment of anywhere in the UK, reaching 81,000 new jobs in 2019 alone. With all these new jobs and the population expected to hit 1.3 million by 2039, homes are going to be in high demand.

 

2. Will the population in your investment’s location continue to grow while the housing supply remains relatively low?

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These are the two fundamental factors for any real estate investment case. If the population rises and there is not enough housing, it puts upward pressure on prices. But what will the landscape look like after a pandemic like COVID-19 in 2020?  

 

Historically, after crises and economic down-turns, people move to cities where there are better job prospects but are, at the same time, significantly more cost-conscious. 

 

Being that Birmingham is only 1hr20 from London and offers far cheaper living costs, it is primed for these circumstances. This is a problem for the Birmingham City Council already scrambling to provide additional space for housing. It has objectively assessed that 89,000 additional properties are needed between 2011 and 2031 and its not possible to deliver it all within the city boundary. 

 

3. Is the population demographic favourable for a strong rental market?

iStock-537350267A growing population is a good indicator of a robust rental market but a young, growing population is a great indicator. They are more inclined to rent as they don’t have the financial capacity yet to purchase their own homes. It is also prudent to make sure the population is largely skilled in future-oriented industries to secure your returns. 

 

Birmingham’s population is 40% under the age of 25 years old which also makes it an attractive location for start-ups, new businesses and creatives looking to find their way in the modern economy. Digital and Tech are flourishing industries, and dominated by younger professionals with good salaries and job security. Last year alone, the Tech sector grew 6 times faster than any other industry 

 

Birmingham’s universities produce over 25,000 graduates each year, many of which stay in the city and work in jobs created by the aforementioned regeneration programmes and the Tech sector. With Birmingham’s population rising and more jobs opening up at a rate that property development can’t keep up with, it comes as no surprise that house prices in the West Midlands are expected to grow by 18.4% by 2024.

 

4. Is there regeneration that you can leverage off for strong capital growth?

iStock-512230556 (1)-1Regeneration in the investment sense is when something undergoes radical change to meet infrastructural, societal and other needs to spur economic growth. A city undergoing a period of regeneration is ideal for property investment. As the GDP grows and more jobs open up, the city becomes more attractive and property prices naturally rise. By investing at an early stage, you can give yourself a profitable head start. 

 

Birmingham’s 20-year Big City Plan is designed to transform and regenerate Birmingham into a world-class city centre. It aims to create over 1.5 million square metres of new floorspace, 50,000 new jobs, and 5,000 new homes. The plan is expected to generate £2.1bn for the city’s economy every year.  

 

Several areas in Birmingham have received funding to drive growth and regeneration. Digbeth, for example, is an area popular amongst creatives and young business owners.  The region will see £450m worth of investment into developing more mixed-use floor space. Plenty of properties, including IP Global’s, in this location pose great investment opportunities.  

 

Neighbouring Digbeth is Smithfield, an area receiving £500m to create 2,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs. But these are just two examples: other key areas of regeneration include Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Curzon Station, Snowhill, Athlete’s Village, Soho Wharf and St Paul’s Quarter. To find out more about which neighbourhoods to watch, read our last blog post. 

5. Is the region well-connected and does it offer a good quality of life to sustain the growing population?

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One thing every savvy investor looks for when choosing their next property is a strong gross yield (yearly rental income / property price). To ensure your rental income grows, there needs to be a high level of demand for accommodation in the region. A classic factor of this demand is if your property investment is in a location with excellent transport links to key commercial centres (i.e. London). This is particularly valuable for people with demanding job roles of a high-income nature (i.e. your ideal tenant) as accessibility is a priority.  

 

Being geographically located in the centre of the UK, Birmingham has the advantage of being easily accessible from almost everywhere. The city will become even more accessible with the arrival of the HS2: an ambitious transport project looking to “bring Britain closer together”. Ultimately, it’s goal as a state-of-the-art railway line is to revitalise the British economy and take connectivity to a new level. Once completed, the HS2 will serve 25 stations and connect 30 million people 

 

The HS2 will cut travelling times to London down to an impressive 45 minutes, all whilst being 17 times more carbon efficient than an equivalent flight. This is expected to further increase Birmingham’s appeal, as it enables people to easily do business in London while living in Birmingham.  

 

Additionally, according to Mercer’s quality of living city rankings, Birmingham ranks among the highest in the UK and is globally within the top 50. More open spaces than Paris and more canals than Venice are just two surprising facts which contribute to this ranking. Following the completion of the HS2, we expect to see an influx of interest in both the property and rental market. Growth like this will undoubtedly place considerable strain on the number of homes currently available, making them even more desirable and driving real estate prices up to new heights.  

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These 5 points describe what to look for using the investment potential of Birmingham as an example. This is why we have committed to such a large project in the middle of regeneration hotspot, Digbeth. Get ahead of the game and investigate East & Green in Birmingham today.  

A great city has many faces – something which is certainly true of Birmingham. So which areas of this UK city are worthy of special attention from property investors?

It is a city of 1.1 million people – and is expected to grow by a further 171,000 by 2039. The sheer range of employment opportunities on offer clearly provides a major pull factor. HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and HM Revenue and Customs are collectively relocating and increasing staff numbers to approximately 8,000 personnel by the end of 2020 while Mercer’s Global Quality of Living Report ranked Birmingham in the world’s top 50 cities, ahead of Dubai, Hong Kong and Rome.

With under-25s accounting for nearly 40% of the population, Birmingham lays claim to being the UK’s youngest and fastest growing regional city; home to a booming community of discerning young professionals, eager to live and work in what is an increasingly vibrant cosmopolitan hub.

The demand is certainly there, and with it comes a challenge for planners; more than 51,000 new properties are needed between 2011-2031 to ensure the city’s supply keeps pace with demand. It means that for would-be property investors, Birmingham’s welcome mat has been well and truly rolled out.

So now comes the interesting part; taking an up-close look at Birmingham to discover its star performers and hidden gems. In terms of individual areas, here are the ones to watch:

DIGBETH

As a city, Birmingham has exciting property investment prospects, especially when looking at the regeneration of the East side.

Just 10 minutes’ walk from the famous Bullring retail centre -one of the largest in Europe, you’ll find Digbeth, Birmingham’s creative quarter. Making the most of some truly atmospheric former industrial buildings, it has a look and feel similar to London’s Shoreditch. This is where you can grab a craft beer, enjoy some street food and perhaps browse the contemporary art galleries dotted around.

The Custard Factory is Digbeth’s real estate focal point. A refurbished factory that houses 101 creative industries bound by art galleries, cafes and dance studios.

Soon, however, the canal regeneration scheme Eastside Locks will command the most attention. A £450 million investment aimed to create mixed-use floor space on 13-acres of prime Digbeth real estate. This particular area in Birmingham is undergoing enormous regeneration and continues to be a focal point for IP Global.

Who lives there?

Its convenient location is a huge draw in for trendy creatives and savvy businessmen alike. Just 10 minutes on foot from the city centre, the area is estimated to explode in popularity as transport routes improve efficiency.

JEWELLERY QUARTER

If authenticity and history are your thing, this area is definitely worth a look. Described by English Heritage as ‘a national treasure’, it dates back more than 250 years, when jewellers flocked to the area. These days, 40% of the UK’s jewellery is still made here – so an artisanal feel remains. Alongside this, the arts, media and creative industries have moved in, along with a strong cohort of professional service providers.

The area is home to Birmingham's last remaining Georgian square and lovingly restored townhouses. A large number of independent retailers and eateries give a real urban village feel.

Who lives there?

Some very desirable live-work units are clearly designed to appeal to creative types.

CHINESE QUARTER

With a landmark pagoda at its heart, this fresh and vibrant quarter is a hive of restaurants, cafes, street food and some of Birmingham’s hippest nightspots. It lies within the city centre’s Southside; an area that has benefitted hugely from rejuvenation over the last few years.

With Birmingham Old Rep Theatre, Royal Ballet, the O2 Academy and Birmingham Hippodrome all within easy reach, it is certainly a key cultural hub.

Who lives there?

Chinatown and the wider Southside is in especially high demand with young professionals looking to tap into a vibrant local atmosphere.

EASTSIDE

HS2 is a big deal for Birmingham; not least because it will reduce travel times to London to just 49 minutes and will significantly cut journey times to Edinburgh, Newcastle and Manchester. Eastside’s Curzon Park is set to be the home of the new High Speed Rail terminus.

Curzon Park along with nearby City Park Gate are home to some impressive new mixed use developments, while Birmingham City University has its very own Birmingham Institute of Art & Design in the area.

Who lives there?

It is easy to envision Eastside becoming a go-to location for people looking for inter-city connectivity. What’s more, the new GBP11.75 million City Park is the city’s newest urban park, earmarking Eastside as a desirable destination for young families.

GUN QUARTER

Situated to the north of the city centre, this was for many years a centre of the world’s gun-manufacturing industry. These days the guns are gone, but the area remains a focus for small scale engineering and commerce.

Who lives there?

The area is just a short walk from both Birmingham City University and Aston University, making this an up-and-coming destination for students.

WESTSIDE

Here, sympathetically restored Victorian commercial premises co-exist with bold new living and working complexes. Paradise Square is a prime example: a planned ten-building development comprising commercial, civic, retail, leisure and hotel space. Already well-established in the area is the prestigious Queen’s College Chambers Building. Dating back to 1828, the original block started life as accommodation for medical students. The magnificent facade it is still there - and behind it are some of the hottest apartments in the city.

Westside’s canalside Brindleyplace is a hotspot for urbanites from across the city. Grab a meal, enjoy comedy or music, make a special trip for the Dragonboat or film festivals: this is what waterside living is all about.

Who lives there?

As well as professionals, don’t be surprised to run into Premiership footballers. When one of the prime Queen’s College Chambers penthouses hit the market a couple of years ago, players from Aston Villa and West Brom apparently went head-to-head to get a hold of it.


Find out more

How does Birmingham stack up against other top cities worldwide?Speak with IP Global today to find the ideal property investment opportunity to match your portfolio.

High Speed 2 (HS2) is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and will form the backbone of the UK’s transport network, connecting eight out of ten of the UK’s largest cities, as outlined in the HS2 – Our Story and Key Facts publication.

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For the fourth year in a row, PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report places Birmingham top in the UK for property investment prospects.

Birmingham has changed immeasurably over the years, Britain’s Second City is the type of place that appeals to entrepreneurs, professionals, and investors alike. Regeneration is making the city centre an ever-more attractive place to live, visit, and do business in; while exciting new transport links are set to make Birmingham even better connected. Alongside this (and spurred on by it) there’s a growing population and a shortage of new homes to keep up with demand.

Economy

Geographically, Birmingham is positioned at the centre of things; a factor that helps to explain the city’s success. Of itself, Birmingham is home to 1.1 million people, while its location means that 90% of the UK’s population is within four hours’ reach.

Birmingham’s economy is the UK’s second-largest at GBP25.3 billion and continues to grow at a rapid pace. 25.5% GVA growth is forecast in Birmingham between 2018-2028, above the regional average of 23% for West Midlands.

Housing market

4,057 additional dwellings are required every year until 2026 in order to meet projected demand. However, construction is failing to keep up.

House prices in Birmingham are forecast to rise 20.5% between 2018-2022, compared to 14.2% in West Midlands and the UK-average of 12.6%. With a large student population and growing workforce, Birmingham’s rental demand is also growing. A lack of supply has forced aspiring home-owners to rent as well, enabling a high volume of rental activity. Rental prices in Birmingham are forecast to rise 16.5% between 2018 – 2022.

Regeneration

We’ve seen two important trends over the last few years: an impressive ongoing revamp of the city centre, coupled with ‘future-proofing’ of the city’s transport infrastructure.

A key driver of Birmingham’s future growth is the upgrade of the UK’s national rail network. High Speed 2 (HS2) will bring London within 38 minutes and significantly cut journey times to Edinburgh, Newcastle and Manchester. The city is home to HS2’s construction headquarters, so between phase 1 which starts later this year and project completion in 2033, over 1,500 jobs will be created in the city. The project is also stimulating local regeneration around the future station itself and is expected to deliver a GBP1.3 billion boost for the local economy.

The Big City Plan comprises a 20-year masterplan for transformation of the city centre, including 50,000 new jobs and 5,000 centrally located homes. Key central schemes include the GBP500 million Paradise development which incorporates Chamberlain Square, the new home of PwC’s 1,400 strong Birmingham workforce. According to PwC, the investment “reflects our commitment to our clients and people in Birmingham and our desire to offer them a truly first-class working environment”.

The GBP 500 million Birmingham Smithfield regeneration project will form a unique destination that includes vibrant markets, an exciting new family leisure quarter and new residential neighborhoods. The scheme will deliver 1,000 residential units, 100,000sqm of floor space and 3,000 new employment opportunities.

Employment

Birmingham boasts a variety of sectors, from financial firms through to transport, healthcare and tech. Far from being Britain’s ‘back office’, the city is a hub in its own right. 0.6% employment growth per annum is forecast for 2018-2022 - stronger than the regional and national average

Going on the annual number of company formations, it’s the most entrepreneurial city outside of London recording the largest number of new businesses in 2017 at 12,108.

When a move of personnel is afoot for UK firms, Birmingham tends to be regarded as a natural choice - helping to make it the number one city for relocation from the capital. So when HSBC was required by the regulators to put clear blue water between its retail and investment banking divisions, the answer was obvious - move HSBC National Retail Banking HQ to Birmingham. It was also the most popular destination for those migrating from London in 2017.

Demographic

Birmingham’s population is forecast to rise by 171,000 to 1.3 million by 2039. This translates into nearly 100,000 additional households being created over the next two decades.

This influx is driven not just by employment opportunities but also by the lifestyle on offer in what is an increasingly cosmopolitan city. 8 universities and world-class research institutions produce 52,000 graduates annually with a 49% graduate retention rate ensuring a steady stream of fresh talent.

It seems that Birmingham remains very much open for business; there’s a commitment to regeneration, education and diverse industries which indicates that the city’s growth is set to continue.

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