Britain’s second city with a population of around 1.1 million, Birmingham property has had a hard time over the years. Publicly mocked for the ugly Bull Ring shopping centre and concrete monstrosity that is Spaghetti Junction, Birmingham is largely seen as a place you pass through rather than to.
Yet the city boasts some fantastic outside space, including the beautiful Sutton Park to the north of the city. Europe’s largest Urban Park covering 970 Hectares (2400 Acres), complete with seven lakes, heathland and ancient woodland it’s quite simply a paradise for dog walkers and cyclists alike.
What’s more, the city centre has been completely revitalised over the last 10 years with much needed investment including £189 million spent on the new Library (the largest in the UK) next to the Birmingham Rep.
Brummies often boast their city has more canals than Venice, but whereas once they surrounded by graffiti and rubbish it’s now all restaurants and bars, especially around Gas Street Basin.
With the proposed HS2 rail link planning to cut journey time from Birmingham to London to just 49 minutes if and when it’s eventually built now is a great time to think about buying in Brum. This will really help property prices which have fallen over the last few years.” Birmingham is particularly popular with renters with a large number of foreign students, especially Chinese, as well as young professionals working on secondment from some of the major multi-national companies. Here we look at some of the Top 5 property hot spots in the city.
Aston – Home of one of Britain’s oldest football teams, Aston Villa, Aston boasts a big park and some great architecture, especially the football stadium itself and the beautiful Aston Hall. It also has some of the best rental yields in the UK. The B7 postcode, for example, covering nearby Nechells (home of the Wing Yip food empire) can garner buy to let investors a 10.6 per cent gross rental yield according to data from residential property group, Move With Us (see Daily Telegraph article here). This compares to around 4 per cent for large parts of Greater London. The downside is that crime rates aren’t the lowest and the property won’t necessarily appreciate in value. Warns Adobe Residential’s Clare Morrall: “You can buy a house here for around £80,000 and get up to £600 a month in rent but the properties won’t rise in price as quickly as buying in a better area.”
Ladywood – Once a very rough part of town, Ladywood is on the up (though still dodgy in part). Very close to Birmingham’s main nightlife area (Broad Street) and the National Indoor Arena, it’s not exactly the quietist area in the city. But the high class apartments which have sprung up in areas like King Edward’s Wharf make it the perfect spot for young professionals. It’s obviously a popular place to rent but if you have the funds to buy it will set you back at least £300,000 for a two bedroom apartment and over £600,000 for a 4 bed duplex apartment.
Moseley – Best known as the birthplace of bands like UB40 and Ocean Colour Scene as well as Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien, Moseley (B13) was once a downmarket area for people who couldn’t afford to live in posher parts like Edgbaston. However, it has now become desirable in its own right. Just a couple of miles from the town centre and a mile from Birmingham University, it boasts massive and beautiful Edwardian houses on the hill (expect to pay £500,000 upwards for a 4 bed detached). Curry lovers will also appreciate its proximity to ‘The Balti Triangle’.
Solihull – Recently declared the best place to live in the UK, according to a standards of living report from USwitch.com, Solihull – along with Sutton Coldfield to the North of the Birmingham – has always been seen as one of the best desirable places to live in Britain’s second city. Situated between Birmingham and Coventry it boasts superb transport links (near the M40, M42 and M6), yet has retained a very villagey feel. It’s also close enough to commute to Birmingham by train (around 20 minutes for the 9 mile journey).
Sutton Coldfield – One of the most established and sought after parts of Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield remains a great place to buy especially for families. Journey time to the Birmingham City Centre on the Lichfield to Longbridge train is less than 20 minutes and schools are excellent, including top Grammar schools, Bishop Vesey for boys and Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls. In extremely leafy Four Oaks to the north you can easily pay £500,000 for a good sized 4 bedroom family home while a more modest 2/3 bedroom terraced close to the station is between £250,000 and £300,000.