The Midland Engine to make Birmingham a thriving property hotspot
THE Midland Engine will make Birmingham a property hotspot, says DEBORAH STONE
The Midland Engine is set to make Birmingham a property hotspot
You’ve heard of the Northern Powerhouse? Well now there’s the Midland Engine – a government initiative to give an economic boost to the region around Birmingham that gave us the industrial revolution back in the late 1700s.
The region’s economy has expanded by 30 per cent since the recession and despite being in “incubator” stage, the Midlands Engine is already having an effect according to Sir John Peace, its chairman.
The Midlands Engine was launched last December and while it will help the whole of the West Midlands, it is Birmingham that stands to benefit most.
The UK’s second biggest city already has big regeneration plans, such as the £900million redevelopment around Curzon Street Station in preparation for the arrival of the HS2 rail network.
This includes the Birmingham Smithfield project, which will create a new market area and adjoining Digbeth, which is already reinventing itself into a digital media, gaming and arts quarter – all within minutes of the city centre and the planned Eastside High Speed Rail terminus.
Only a few weeks ago Hollywood’s Steven Spielberg was spotted on location in Digbeth filming his latest sci-fi thriller.
This month China’s third largest property developer Country Garden has signed a preliminary agreement to invest £2billion in Birmingham, looking in particular at regeneration and investment options related to the HS2 railway.
The Divine Collection’s apartments will appeal to young professional urbanitesely
Although talks are still in their early stages, with the city’s population growing by nearly 100,000 between 2005 and 2015, it is estimated that 80,000 new housing units will be required by 2030.
Birmingham is a city packed with potential
“Birmingham is a city packed with potential,” says Ray Withers, CEO of Property Frontiers (01865 202 700; propertyfrontiers.com).
“It’s not just HS2 that’s drawing investors in. There are some fantastic regeneration projects underway.
“Chinese investors are keen to be involved in the future of such a leading city and we’ve seen interest in everything from flats to football as part of this trend.”
Property Frontier’s new Birmingham development, The Divine Collection, has one and two-bedroom apartments from £165,000 to £248,000 in the heart of Digbeth, known as “Birmingham’s Shoreditch” after the creative area of London.
Building work has already started and the flats are expected to be completed by spring 2018. They are available to reserve now and buy-to-let yields are expected to be up to 6.3 per cent.
The interiors will be designed with “young professional urbanites” in mind and will have a shared roof terrace plus on-site car park for a limited number of cars and bicycles.
A bedroom from The Divine Collection properties in Digberth
Birmingham is one of seven UK cities and surrounding areas that will have devolved powers from May 2017 when they elect metro mayors with similar powers to those of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, the North East, Sheffield City Region, Tees Valley and West of England will all get devolved powers, as well as the West Midlands.
“The appointment of metro mayors could mean a significant boost to the property sectors in certain areas of the UK,” says Withers.
“The correlation between those areas electing mayors and the property hotspots of 2017 definitely bears watching.
The properties are targeted at young city workers
The chic living room's of the new build are modern and bright
“We’ve seen mayors in the capital push through housing programmes that other cities could definitely benefit from.
“Sadiq Khan’s affordable housing programme is precisely the kind of move that can stimulate a local property market and it’s exciting that Birmingham and other large cities will soon be able to benefit from similar measures.
“Liverpool, which will also be benefitting from an elected mayor, is another hotspot. Metro mayors will be able to set the strategic direction of their city or area in a way that knits together local housing, transport and skills.”
Looks like now is just the right time for another industrial revolution in Birmingham.