The Commonwealth Games Effect

The Commonwealth Games has launched the city of Birmingham into the spotlight in recently, but smart property investors have been gravitating towards the hotspot for some time and this is only going to ramp up in years to come.

The Commonwealth Games closing ceremony took place last month and it was a fitting end to a star studded 11 days in which Australia emerged victorious closely followed by the host country, England. Whilst the games may be over, the buzz around the host city of Birmingham is clear to see and the positive effects are likely to be long lasting.

Below are five reasons why Birmingham remains a favourite among investors.

  1. Commonwealth Games

Backed by £778 million of public investment, including £594 million from central government, Birmingham 2022 is the most significant investment in a major sporting event since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This paid for infrastructure and transport improvements, the transformation of Alexander stadium, and a large number of new developments to enable the city to host the event.

With any leftover funds from the Commonwealth Games budget, the council has put forward four legacy proposals for Birmingham. This includes investing in grassroots and culture, a project focusing on families, a new Museum of Science and Industry, and a bid to host the European Athletics Championships 2026.

  1. BBC in Birmingham

One of the key fundamentals for property investors everywhere is jobs. The BBC’s arrival in Digbeth, a rapidly growing area of south-east Birmingham, is hotly anticipated by many, as it will not only become a major employer itself, but is likely to be the catalyst for more big companies moving to the up-and-coming area

Digbeth’s new creative quarter will house the BBC’s new broadcast centre, with the team currently based at The Mailbox. The relocation is expected to take place from 2026 and will see the relocation of programmes like MasterChef and Newsbeat.

  1. HS2

The proposed HS2 rail link, initially between Birmingham and London, will effectively put Birmingham into London’s Zone 4 with journey times to London reduced to 49 minutes when it opens in 2026.

The project is expected to bring 140 hectares of regeneration, 27,000 jobs, 3,000 homes and 6 million sq ft of commercial space. Property investors with long-term aspirations are investing in the area ready for HS2’s arrival and whilst many believe the project is already priced in, there is no substitute for the real thing.

  1. Regeneration

The above-mentioned points have led to a snowball effect of regeneration in Birmingham, creating a more desirable place to live and work, which leads to a strong housing and rental market.

There are some major redevelopment schemes in the pipeline too, like a £1.9bn regeneration of the city centre Smithfield site by Lendlease, which will bring new homes and a festival square complete with cafes and a marketplace.

The Birmingham Big City plan has also targeted new developments as well as major infrastructure improvements, which greatly add to the appeal of the city as a property investment target.

  1. House prices

House prices in Birmingham could soar by up to 15%, according to estate agency Barrows and Forrester. This is based on similar historic house price rises off the back of past Commonwealth Games, all of which saw house prices climbing by an average 14.9% in the aftermath.

Whether or not these predictions materialise, one major draw to Birmingham is its relative affordability compared to London and much of the southeast of the country. Savills says that house prices in the Midlands city are almost a third of those in the capital, meaning more options for investors.

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